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Simplifying complex networks: A guide for enterprises

Networking is the backbone of the contemporary IT world. While advancements in the network field have been occurring at breakneck speed, they are also adding to the complexity of managing them. Technologies such as SD-WAN, 5G networks, WiFi6, digitized spaces, machine learning, and more are on the rise for networking. However, all these technologies need close supervision to ensure beneficial functioning. Building a network infrastructure often involves very complex processes of network setup, device management, manpower, and resources. While it is undeniable that an enterprise-level network setup cannot be drastically simplified, it can be well-configured or reconfigured to make it easier to handle and manage. Here are some of the most effective ways to simplify complex networks.

Simplifying complex networks through software

Software has made our lives far easier – and this true for IT admins as well. We are now at a point where software is the deal maker or deal breaker when deciding to purchase expensive hardware. While hardware has its role to play, it is empowered by the software. Thanks to the development of technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing, software also plays a huge role in the world of networking.

Handling and managing software is much more convenient and easier than handling hardware. Therefore, it would be wise to use the software as much as possible to simplify complex network setups. The software can ease various regular networking tasks such as routing, packing switching, load balancing, dynamic host controlling, packet inspection, and more. Software systems possess the capacity to exponentially speed up network management processes.

The software acts as a layer of abstraction on top of hardware systems. This makes it easy for anyone within the organization to handle, manage, and simplify complex networks. Various service providers provide easy software solutions designated for certain areas. Giants such as Cisco and Amazon have readily available network management tools for enterprises to handle their networks.

Simplifying complex networks through automation

The complex processes of configuring, managing, handling, deploying, and operations of network-related resources can be made much easier through network automation. One of the major misconceptions when it comes to automation is people assume that the concept of automation is an all-or-nothing proposition. Enterprises need to understand that they do not have to spend a lot of money to automate everything concerning their network setup.

Only the core areas, which when automated results in increased productivity and cost benefits, need to be focused on. Automation can be used to perform these tasks.

  • Software updates
  • Updating and setting up network routes
  • Performing root cause analysis
  • Error monitoring
  • Managing network resources and bandwidth
  • Dynamic resource allocation
  • Discovering network topologies

Automating these everyday tasks can play a huge role in simplifying the complex nature of network management. Automation can be done using software, packaged solutions, cloud services, and more. While the initial investment to set up automation might be higher, it will pay for itself quickly.

Machine learning and AI

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have the power to revamp the existing IT landscape and the network is no exception. Machine learning and AI are already being deployed in various domains including networking. Networks generate huge amounts of data daily, especially in enterprises. This data if properly mined and filtered can provide valuable insights to the business.

Employing machine learning to recognize patterns in these huge datasets can help organizations strengthen their network infrastructure and security. Deploying machines to learn and identify the networks, their behavior, patterns, and more can be done at an exponentially faster rate. This also reduces the workload on network specialists while reducing complexity. Various network solutions provider companies across the globe are also filling their arsenal with machine learning and AI-enabled tools to serve enterprises. Juniper, for instance, acquired Mist systems to provide machine learning-powered operations in networking. Over time, enterprises need to make the most of advanced technologies such as machine learning, AI, and cloud to simplify and better manage their networks.

Better network model

No matter how efficient software or advanced technologies an organization deploys, it can never really simplify its network overhead without the right network model. Having the right network model for your organization that tailor-fits your needs is the fundamental requirement for effective and efficient network management.

Having the right foundation and an intelligently planned network model is essential for any organization irrespective of its size and domain. A good network model includes clear documentation, specialized teams, less coupling and modularity, and easier design for future enhancements and modifications. Organizations also need to set up guidelines and design policies that abide by the network model. This ensures all the changes or upgrades are in accordance with the existing network model, making it easy to control and manage.

Use of right tools

Last but not least, the use of the right tools to manage the network always plays a huge role in easing network management. While there are several network management tools available, but not every tool is going to be the right one for every organization. Companies need to set up review meetings with network specialists and decide on which tool they will be opting for.

While it might be a cost-effective solution to have tools to handle individual network issues, it also becomes very complex to handle and manage them all. Having the right tool integration not only ensures easy management but also ensures business operations and productivity. Most network management tools such as GFI LanGuard, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, and ManageEngine OpManager come with a free trial so you can try it out.

Images: Shutterstock

Sukesh Mudrakola

Sukesh is a computer science graduate by profession and an IT enterprise and tech enthusiast by passion. He holds an expertise in mobile and wearable technologies and is an avid Android fan.

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Sukesh Mudrakola

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