Mark III Systems Blog

How do you build an infrastructure that will support business outcomes (needs)?

There are large numbers of companies trying to transform their Infrastructure to meet these growing needs. Some are successful, and others are struggling to make the transition. The struggle is real!

Let’s look at networking and ask a few questions. Questions to CIO/IT Directors. Do you know what outcomes your business is needing? Is your networking environment healthy? Do you have a network strategy to support these business outcomes?

Let’s bring it closer to home. Who gets blamed first when there’s an “IT” problem? How does your networking team handle those “problems”? Has your networking team been blamed for a problem and it turned out to be, I don’t know, an application issue not a networking issue? Networking is always guilty until proven innocent, right? How long did it take to prove innocents? Your business wants to deploy a new financial application that is network heavy. How do you support a successful outcome? I could keep going, but I'm sure you guys are twitching in your seats now.

Is there one silver bullet to solve all these questions? You guys will hate the answer, but the answer is YES! Having a clear STRATEGY and EXECUTION plan is critical! Okay, let me explain before you stop reading.

How would you train for a Marathon? You have not run in years, and you wake up one day and say, “I think I’m going to go and run 26.2 miles before lunch? "? Let's say you try to do that, are you successful? The answer is no. There are steps to prepare yourself for that goal (outcome).

So, the same question to you and your networking team. Your team is not successful at supporting business outcomes, and you wake up one day and say, “My team is going to support all business outcomes from this point on." Again, the answer is no.

The question you should be asking now is how do I transform my networking team to support business outcomes? I believe there’s a simple stair-step strategy that gets you there. Stabilize the environment, make it simple and now you are ready to support innovative activities that help your business outcomes.

First, you have to build a Stable environment. Deploying an environment that supports plug and play architecture. The ability to automatically configure network devices, add these devices to a database, and an easy way to provision networks. Now you have a foundation.

Second, you create an environment that is simple to manage: dashboards that show how a network is performing and the health of the network. Have the ability to create alarms and handle event management. Automatic backups and restores of your network equipment — firmware deployment from one interface to keep everything up-to-date. This is an architecture that is simple to support.

Third, having an environment that supports innovative activities. Automation and orchestration are the future of all IT infrastructure. It automatically provisions network devices when plugged into the network — having the ability to create turnkey, customizable, or do-it-yourself automation — having open source technology that supports your DevOps needs. The ability to meet business requirements quickly and effectively.

Now you have the blueprint to get this done. Now you can build a foundation that is simple to support and can easily support your business outcomes.

What your next question? Is there a vendor that can support my long-term strategy? I'm glad you asked. Extreme Networks over the last few years has been changing the game for networking. Just a few years ago Extreme was a Niche Player in Gartner's Magic Quadrant and now is the Leaders Quadrant with Cisco and HP. Extreme have been acquiring software company’s and integrating them into their Networking stack. Here’s the good news! All of this supports your long-term strategies for any IT organization.

To stabilize your networking environment, you would deploy Embedded Fabric Automation. Implemented as a Virtual machine, it supports plug and play architecture and will provision and document your network in seconds.

To simplify your networking environment, you would deploy ExtremeManagement. This gives you a single pane of glass management. It’s integrated with all Extreme platforms and even pulls in 3rd party vendors information, so you have a complete picture of your environment. You will receive alerts; it will back up your network configurations, deploy firmware and enable scripting.

To innovate your network environment, you would deploy Extreme Workflow Composer. Automation on steroids that gives you event-driven IT Automation! This gives you the ability to solve problems without user intervention and gives you the ability to see an application issue on the network before end-users see it. Now we are living in Utopia, right!

Extreme has acquired companies like XMC, Brocade, Wng, Avia and more to building a networking partner that has your business needs in mind. If you have never considered looking at Extreme, now is the time.

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