The network planning and design methodology describes a process with 9 specific steps and a sequence for those activities. As mentioned, it is an engineering lifecycle supporting technical initiatives such as migration to Windows, IP telephony, and wireless design, to name a few examples. The methodology begins with examining the business requirements of the company. It is absolutely essential that you understand the company’s business model, business drivers, and how they are growing from a business perspective. That will lay the foundation for a design proposal that meets the business, technical, and operational requirements of the business.
STEP 1: COMMERCIAL REQUIREMENTS
Any design project begins with understanding what the company does and what it needs to achieve from a business perspective. This starts with an understanding of your business model, which really describes how your company works from an operational and business perspective to generate revenue and reduce costs. Today, many vendors have conducted their own return on investment (ROI) studies for new deployments such as Unified Communications and Telephony. It is an effective sales tool that illustrates cost benefits versus investment over a specific period of time.
This is a list of some typical business drivers:
• Reduce operating costs
• Generate income
• Customer satisfaction
• Employee productivity
This is a list of some typical business requirements for a project:
• Budget limitations
• Office consolidations
• Mergers and acquisitions of companies
• Business partner connectivity
• Remote access for teleworkers
• Implement new offices and employees
• New data center applications
• Reduce network outage costs
• Cost-effective network management
• Supplier contracts
STEP 2: DESIGN REQUIREMENTS
Now that you understand the basic business requirements of the company, you can determine the standard and specific design requirements. The requirements design process focuses on defining requirements from a technical perspective. These requirements, together with the business requirements, will create the framework that is used to define infrastructure, security, and management. Design requirements are defined as standard and miscellaneous. The standard design requirements are generic and represent those considered in many design projects. Miscellaneous requirements are those that are not defined with any of the standard requirements.
• Standard design requirements
• Compatibility with standards
• Rapid deployment
STEP 3: NETWORK ASSESSMENT
A network assessment is conducted after the business design and business requirements have been completed. A network assessment provides a quick snapshot of the current network with an examination of infrastructure, performance, availability, management, and security. This information is used to make effective strategy recommendations and design proposals to the client regarding specific modifications to the information systems. The network evaluation model has 3 sequential activities, which are evaluation, analysis and recommendations. The current network is examined using five main surveys: infrastructure, performance, availability, management, and security. When the surveys are completed, the information collected is reviewed for trends, issues, and issues that are negatively impacting the network.
STEP 4: INFRASTRUCTURE SELECTION
After conducting a network assessment, we are ready to begin selecting specific infrastructure components for network design. This phase begins to build the infrastructure with a specific sequence that promotes the selection and design of effective teams. It is important that you consider network business requirements, design requirements, and evaluation when building your infrastructure.
The following numbered list describes the specific components of the infrastructure and their particular sequence.
1. Enterprise WAN Topology
2. Campus topology
3. Traffic model
4. Team selection
6. Routing protocol design
8. Naming conventions
9. iOS services
10. Domain name services
11. DHCP services
STEP 5: SECURITY STRATEGY
Now we must define a security strategy to protect the infrastructure. The need for corporate network security should not be ignored with the proliferation of the Internet. Companies continue to take advantage of public infrastructure to connect national and international offices, business partners, and new business acquisitions. Security requirements and network assessment recommendations should drive the selection of security equipment, protocols, and processes. Identify which assets need to be protected, which users are allowed access, and how those assets will be protected.
STEP 6: NETWORK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
This section will define a network management strategy to manage all equipment defined from infrastructure and security. It is necessary to define how the equipment is to be monitored and determine if the current management strategy is adequate or if new applications, equipment, protocols and processes must be identified. The management components are then integrated with the infrastructure and security to finish building the proposed design. These primary elements include any well-defined management strategy and should be considered when developing your strategy.
• 7 management groups
• SNMP applications
• Monitored devices and events
STEP 7: PROOF OF CONCEPT
All infrastructure, security, and management components now need to be tested with a proof-of-concept plan. It is important to test the current design, configuration, and versions of iOS in a non-production environment or on the production network with limited interruptions. Deploying newer network modules on a router, for example, might require you to change the current version of iOS that is deployed. Making those changes could affect campus or WAN modules already installed on production routers. That’s the real value of doing a proof of concept and certifying that new equipment and iOS versions integrate with every device as well as the network. The following list describes the benefits of doing a proof of concept with your network design. The results of the proof of concept should be examined and used to modify the current infrastructure, security and management specifications before generating a design proposal. The proof-of-concept model suggested here involves designing prototypes, provisioning equipment, defining tests, building equipment scripts, and examining test results.
1. Prototype design
2. Provision of equipment
3. Define tests
4. Create team scripts
5. Review the test results
STEP 8: DESIGN / REVIEW THE PROPOSAL
With the proof of concept completed, you are now ready to build a design proposal for the design review meeting. Your target audience could be the Director, CIO, CTO, Senior Network Engineer, Consultant, or anyone who is approving a budget for the project. It is important to present your ideas clearly and professionally. If a presentation is required, PowerPoint slides work well and could be used to support concepts in the design proposal document. The focus is on what was included in a standard design proposal and the sequence for presenting that information.
The job design proposal is presented to the client after addressing any concerns arising from the proof of concept warranty. The design review is an opportunity for you to present your design proposal to the client and discuss any issues. It is an opportunity for the customer to identify the concerns they have and for the design engineer to clarify the issues. The goal is to agree on any modifications, if necessary, and to make changes to infrastructure, security, and management before deployment begins. Business and design requirements may change since the project began, sometimes requiring changes to infrastructure, security, and management specifications. Any changes must again go through a proof of concept before the final changes to the design proposal.
STEP 9: IMPLEMENTATION
The final step will have us define an implementation process for the specified design. This describes a suggested implementation methodology of the proposed design, which should have minimal disruption to the production network. In addition, it must be efficient and as profitable as possible. As with the previous methodologies, a sequence must also be used. After the deployment is complete, the network is tracked for any problems. Then, design and configuration modifications are made to address any issues or concerns.
Copyright 2006 Shaun Hummel All rights reserved