Characterizing the Existing
The following short list gives a broad overview of the things you need
to do to characterize an existing network
- Identify any bottlenecks
- Determine whether and how anticipated growth
will impact the network
- Recognize legacy systems that must be
- Recognize business constraints and inputs on
the new design
Business constraints are business related issues (not
technical issues) that may impact and/or place limitations on your
design. For example, at a very general level, the firm may have a
highly centralized control view of how their organization should be run
or they may have a business that requires unusual backup and reliability
Now we will broadly discuss the sorts of data that needs to be
collected. The first collection of data can be characterized as administrative
data. The following table summarizes and describes the
sorts of data this encompasses.
|Corporate Business Goals
- What are the firm's major business goals for the
year and the next five years?
- Investigate their industry and competitors and what
needs to be done with the infrastructure to improve competitiveness.
- Determine overall financial constraints.
- Have the client help you determine corporate
- What is the departmental structure?
- How does this structure impact the network
- Determine locations of major user communities.
- Recognize layouts of actual facilities.
|Current and Future Staffing
- What is the status of the internetworking expertise
already at the firm?
- Does the company plan to expand/contract staff in
order to adjust to new design?
- Who will be your IT or business representative(s)
to assist you in your design.
- Will the design cause changes in job functions and
how will this impact implementation and acceptance.
|Policies and Politics
- What designs have been tried before?
- What was the success/failure of these designs?
- Who created and/or owned previous designs?
- Are their people on the project that don't want to
|You also need to gather a seemingly never ending amount
of technical data. The following table gives a succinct summary of
- Identify current applications
- Identify plans for future applications
- What protocols are required
- Influence on traffic levels
- Influence on networking devices
|Analyzing Information Flows
- Where does information flow within the firm?
- How will information flow for future applications?
- Type of data
- Amount of traffic
- Traffic concentrations
- How does manual data flow that might be carried by
the new network design?
- Document any anticipated significant changes
- Where does shared data reside?
- file servers
- database servers
- Do they need to develop particular shared data
- What users and applications use the shared data?
|Network Traffic and Access
- What traffic flows from which LAN segment to which
- What data or traffic important to the business
comes from/goes to outside the company
- What are the performance characteristics?
- Document all difficulties
- If possible, do a baseline analysis of the existing
- If too large then focus on backbones and
critical network segments
|The next web page will go into more detail about the
specifics of the data and the process for collecting it.