By Jim Portaro, Principal and Founder

The industry best practice measurement of availability is to achieve 5-Nines. This means the network is up 99.999% of the time and down for no longer than 0.001% or 5.26 minutes over the span of a year. This should be the minimum requirement for a converged network, which is high availability.

A second major requirement of that high availability converged network is responsiveness. There are many aspects to be assessed and managed when delivering a highly responsive and highly available stable wired and wireless network, especially one that supports data, voice, video, and mobile applications. Issues like a network path failure or inadequate bandwidth planning or poor implementation of QoS, all can affect network quality in a negative way.

Much of this comes down to planning; IDC’s research indicates that, typically, IT operations teams spend over 80% of their time on day-to-day IT management operations such as monitoring, troubleshooting, patching, updating, and configuring resources. Overall, this leaves little time for IT teams perform the research and planning that adds value to the business or support new innovation.

Network and Telecommunications groups across our customer base are in the process or have completed the process of migrating multiple communications services onto a single IP data network. By enabling customers to procure, design, deploy, manage, and support complex systems and applications using a single integrated set of infrastructure, middleware, workflows, management consoles, and support processes, converged systems have the potential to drive costs down and quality while reinventing the IT life cycle.

Although simplifying IT infrastructure streamlines operations, reduces cost, reduces the number of management tools deployed and overall improves IT staff efficiency; the mandate everywhere continues to be to do more and deliver more with less. This applies especially to personnel resources as well as hardware and software funding.  With the increasing cost of maintenance, and the shortage of both affordable and experienced technical staff, IT professionals are forced to choose between allocating staff to the deployment of new or updating, troubleshooting or maintaining of the existing.

Many of the day-to-day problems in this type of environment are self-inflicted (Industry average of 31%) because of a lack of proper planning and design. Each enterprise network is unique and has its own set of technical and business requirements and supporting staff, but partnering with experts can minimize some of the pain related to qualified and certified resources. Concerns in recruiting, affordability and retention can be minimized with expertise from partners. Skill transfer to customer personnel can easily be added to the scope of work and everyone can benefit. It’s sometimes as simple as, do you want to read all these documents, gain decades of real world experience or do you just want some help from the experts for a few days applied to your biggest issues or the plans you can’t seem to get time to do?