How IT Leaders Can Cope With Network Sprawl

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 12-14-2016 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How IT Leaders Can Cope With Network Sprawl
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    How IT Leaders Can Cope With Network Sprawl

    Network sprawl occurs when the number of networks in a company grows unchecked as more infrastructure moves to the cloud, and business units use more SaaS apps.
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    Understand Today's Reality
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    Understand Today's Reality

    Recognize that hybrid IT is the new reality, and network sprawl may already be a problem in your organization.
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    Do Your Homework
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    Do Your Homework

    Research what cloud vendors and SaaS applications your enterprise uses and how it uses them. This could involve a lot of outreach to different departments and stakeholders.
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    Assess Performance Requirements
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    Assess Performance Requirements

    Determine what performance requirements you need from these cloud and SaaS vendors—and whether they are living up to those needs. This may require digging into service-level agreements (SLAs).
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    Take Responsibility
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    Take Responsibility

    Acknowledge that internal IT managers ultimately have responsibility to ensure that the networks they own—and those of the cloud and SaaS vendors their organization relies on—perform well.
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    Understand the Trust Model
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    Understand the Trust Model

    Take stock of how much trust there is in the cloud and SaaS vendors, and what trust model they follow when it comes to resolving issues: no trust, trust but verify or whole-hearted trust.
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    Gain Visibility Into Networks
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    Gain Visibility Into Networks

    You may never gain hands-on authority over cloud and SaaS vendors' networks, so try the next best thing: visibility. Gain visibility by leveraging a network path-monitoring tool that shows a hop-by-hop analysis of critical paths and devices along the network delivery path, on-premise, cloud or hybrid IT environments.
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    Peel Back Network Layers
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    Peel Back Network Layers

    Use this visibility to peel back the layers of the vendors' networks to see devices, latencies and route changes, and pinpoint issues with precision. This will establish a truthful relationship so that conversations are efficient and their help desks don't toss the problems back to you.
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    Determine the ROI
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    Determine the ROI

    Before migrating additional infrastructure to the cloud or relying on additional SaaS applications, carefully weigh the need, benefits and realistic ROI versus the risk of introducing more networks and infrastructure outside the IT department's control.
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    Implement a Migration Plan
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    Implement a Migration Plan

    Implement a comprehensive migration plan, including a detailed timeline and expected performance based on the SLAs.
 

Ninety-two percent of IT professionals surveyed said that adopting cloud technologies is important to their organization's long-term business success, according to a survey by SolarWinds, an IT software firm. Yet 60 percent of the respondents said it is unlikely that their entire infrastructure will ever be migrated to the cloud. Thus, hybrid IT—in which some applications and infrastructure remain on-premise, while others are transitioned to the cloud—is the reality for the foreseeable future. This has led to a new IT management phenomenon: network sprawl. Network sprawl occurs when the number of networks an organization relies on grows unchecked as more infrastructure moves to the cloud, and business units implement more software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. The worst effect of network sprawl is having cloud-based applications with neither visibility into, nor authority over, the apps and the cloud service vendor's networks that support them, yet still being responsible for overall performance. While WAN, cloud and SaaS vendors will never hand over control of their networks to someone else, there are ways to combat the effects of network sprawl. Here are nine tips from Patrick Hubbard, Solarwinds' head geek and technical product marketing director.

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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