To be effective, your network needs to adapt to the ever-evolving technological landscape modern businesses operate in. As powerful as a networked IT system can be, if it doesn’t keep up with advances in technology it can result in suboptimal performance and service issues.
An infrastructure health check can evaluate a variety of networking services such as firewalls and telephony as well as the infrastructure that powers your network. The health check allows you to determine network objectives for optimal functioning as well as outlining a roadmap for achieving that goal.
The services typically reviewed in a network health check include:
- Network topology
- VLAN implementation
- Software versions
- Network access security
- Link utilisation
Other steps often taken in conjunction with such reviews include:
- Identifying errors experienced on critical/backbone links
- Recording broadcast traffic levels and VLAN configurations
- Recording levels of traffic from multicast
- Recording the routing protocols being utilised and their stability
- Evaluating overall network health status
Performing a network health check provides you with a documented report of your current network‘s operational performance and recommended enhancements to improve its functionality. The report will typically include detailed technical analysis and metrics, along with information designed to assist a management level review of the network’s functionality. An executive summary is often included as well. The information necessary to perform a network health check can be gathered on-site or remotely, depending on the type of system being analysed.
There are a variety of measures that a network health check can focus on. Among these are:
If you have prepared a well-defined roadmap for your IT infrastructure functionality, this type of check-up can be a valuable method to use in analysing the performance characteristics of a particular type of system or solution. This gives you an in-depth report of how well your network can support certain services. Some of the factors related to a specific service being studied are:
- Network Scalability
- Network Segmentation
- Network Power Delivery
- Network Topology
- Supporting Infrastructure (Domain and DNS & DHCP)
Services which might require a readiness health check include:
- Unified Communications deployments that have not yet been deployed and require an analysis of the underlying network involved
- Plans for Email & Messaging expansion or inception that require understanding of the existing infrastructure and any gaps in coverage
- Formulating Cloud Services strategies and gaining an understanding of the readiness of the infrastructure
This type of analysis is best suited if you have roadmap, plans or pre-existing issues relating to WAN, LAN and security network functionality. The health check provides a detailed analysis of architecture layers 1 through 3, making sure that its configuration and deployment coincides with best practices and doesn’t involve notable faults or risks to the network.
A number of advanced applications involve the use of existing domain services, making it valuable to analyse these applications periodically to ensure that their operational capabilities are compatible with both future plans and current requirements. This is facilitated by evaluating supporting services including DNS, Active Directory, Microsoft SQL or exchange, and Group Policy and Server builds.
Modern IT systems must be highly adaptive to provide optimum support to your business efforts. Applying all software updates as quickly as possible and making sure your manufacturer’s warranties are active can help in this process, but they aren’t sufficient in and of themselves to ensure that your network is performing to its full potential. This function can be fulfilled by performing network checks on a regular basis to examine all aspects of the system’s functionality for potential remediation or improvement. Doing so helps improve your IT ROI by allowing you to get the most out of the investment you have made in acquiring and provisioning network technology.