Making ACI Configurations Consistent
If you were told you had a serious health problem, you’d probably get a second opinion. Why? Money, risk, consequences.
Well, before spending a lot of money on a network refresh, you should probably also get a second opinion, and for the same reasons.
NetCraftsmen frequently sees bills of material that were built by in-house staff and a vendor, without considering what has changed in networking technology, performance, or alternative approaches. All too often, the approach is “replace this box with the new faster equivalent from the vendor.”
Here are some reasons a second opinion might help:
As an example of where “get a second opinion” might come into play: NetCraftsmen runs into sites replacing wireless APs 1-for-1 all the time. That ignores the fact that in the last five to seven years, the technology has changed vastly, the user expectations and application requirements (like Skype for Business or Jabber VoIP over WLAN) have changed, and the original site survey was probably thinner on throughput and coverage than is now appropriate.
Another variant of this is, “We’ll save money and mount the AP ourselves.” It’s not that simple. I keep seeing APs strapped to HVAC ducts or ironwork, or with the wrong orientation, which really degrades the signal. (Serious metal nearby causes RF reflection and multi-pathed signal, reduces the signal-to-noise ratio.)
There are some skills and experience lurking there! Getting it done right, with a post-installation gap survey and placement adjustments, is more likely to produce the best results.
Please note I’m not saying consultants are always right, either (well, except for NetCraftsmen, of course). Consultants are a resource, a second opinion. That opinion should be backed up with analysis of pros/cons/issues and justification. But a design review with alternatives need not be all that costly, especially compared to the costs of getting it wrong.
Here are areas of rapid technological change where your consultant should do some analysis:
Some additional thoughts on this topic can be found in a prior blog I wrote about 18 months ago.
Comments are welcome, both in agreement or constructive disagreement about the above. I enjoy hearing from readers and carrying on a deeper discussion via comments. Thanks in advance!
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Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.
Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.
John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services. Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.
He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.