Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures


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Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures

  1. 1. A P P L I C A T I O N N O T E Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures Optimizing Costs and Operating Efficiencies with Today’s Data Networks
  2. 2. Abstract In this economic downturn, many ICT (Information and Communications Technology) managers are grappling with hard choices regarding cost-cutting measures in their enterprise ICT architechiture. However, some enterprises have realized unexpected savings by investing in dynamic network infrastructures. Today’s optimized data networks offer dramatic savings and heightened functionality. This paper dimensions the business requirements of effective network infrastructures, provides a high-level network infrastructure overview and describes how the deployment of Alcatel-Lucent data network solutions can reduce enterprise network infrastructure costs in nine key areas.
  3. 3. Table of Contents Abstract 1 The challenge of cutting costs 1 Meeting business requirements 1 Flexible branch office deployment 2 Seamless user access 2 Facilitation of business growth 2 ICT performance reporting 2 Information security 2 Operational continuity 3 High level network infrastructure overview 4 Realizing cost savings in the data network 4 Equipment cost savings 4 Hardware maintenance cost savings 4 Energy cost savings 4 Network access control deployment savings 5 Forklift upgrade cost savings 5 Design complexity savings 5 Availability cost savings 5 Justified investment and depreciation 5 Space cost savings 6 Conclusion
  4. 4. The challenge of cutting costs In today’s economic downturn, the challenges of optimizing ICT performance while cutting costs have never been greater. As ICT managers struggle to reconsider the costs of their ICT architecture, they also have to meet the demands of a rapidly-changing, geographically-diverse, increasingly mobile, high-volume, security-challenged environment. How can ICT managers meet the mandate to reduce costs while ensuring that critical operations and systems reliability are not compromised? One area within the ICT architecture offers ICT managers a beacon of hope. Investing in a modern network infrastructure or data network provides the means to reduce capital (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) while improving productivity. The linchpin of every business, an enhanced data network enables business automation and scalable, highly-available communications which allow enterprises to thrive while cutting costs. For these reasons, enterprises might want to consider the deployment of an optimized network infrastructure as an indispensable investment in ICT architecture that will foster short-term and long-term savings while facilitating knowledge sharing and increasing the speed of execution. This paper focuses on ways that the deployment of Alcatel-Lucent solutions can reduce enterprise network infrastructure costs. Meeting business requirements The process of investing in a new data network within the ICT architecture encompasses its design, transformation and operation. While current economic conditions highlight the need to optimize CAPEX and OPEX, effective data networks must meet the following business-critical requirements: • Flexible branch office deployment • Seamless user access • Facilitation of business growth • ICT performance reporting • Information security • Operational continuity Flexible branch office deployment The centralization of storage, applications and services through wide area networks (WANs) and data centers has allowed large enterprises to enhance branch office deployment of communication and information services. While scalable networks are required to achieve this, enterprises may want to consider the impact of the following: • Reduced office facilities cost (no longer needed for ICT units) • Decreased maintenance costs through centralized equipment • Improved legal compliance through central transaction authentication and storage • Optimized hardware usage through virtualization • Quick deployment of new offices when business expands Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures | Application Note 1
  5. 5. Seamless user access Large enterprises need flexible user access to storage, applications and services for seamless connections from offices, while on the road and at home. This seamless access further reduces costs because: • In-house back offices are more cost efficient • Geographically dispersed offices are required for local contact • Home-based employees or independent contractors decrease the need for user space in expensive offices • Access on the road increases employee productivity Facilitation of business growth An ICT architecture that dynamically meets an enterprise’s needs for continuous expansion helps it maintain a competitive edge. Ensuring that business expansion needs are consistently met requires both the data network and equipment to be scalable. ICT performance reporting To ensure peak performance and identify “business latency” (time delays) in real time, enterprises must monitor business performance. Furthermore, because business latency is considered a combination of network, application and user latency, multi-level reporting is required. The following latency examples are common in data networks: • Low availability - From a lack of redundancy. A network malfunction would delay business processes until the malfunctioning device is restored. • Diminished bandwidth - Due to background applications. Poor scalability causes delays in high-volume, high-speed transactions. In addition, performance reporting tracks equipment status in order to justify depreciation and investment of ICT resources. Information security Whether protecting mission-critical data from competitors or avoiding intentional or accidental data manipulation, securing information is a key component of business survival. Security operations must also enforce corporate-wide business, security and compliance policies. When devising enterprise security systems, the ICT team should ensure that security protocols do not complicate or impede business operations. Security technology in the data network should enable: Traffic filtering and impenetrable fire walls • Network access control for authentication and authorization • Data encryption for wireless access and Internet virtual private networks (VPNs) • Strict policy-based data segregation by using virtualization technology (logical segmentation to simulate each division or department as a separate entity within a single physical infrastructure) Operational continuity It is essential in today’s competitive environment that users be able to rely on always-on, automated systems connected to their data networks because network failures that cause operations to slow or come to a halt cause revenue loss. Investment in a reliable, redundant data network (high availability) is mandatory to keep a business in continuous operation. 2 Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures | Application Note
  6. 6. High level network infrastructure overview The diagram below provides a high-level overview of the sites and functions of an enterprise-wide network infrastructure. This network is comprised of network transport equipment, interlinks and management systems: Data center Campus Operations Headquarters Public network Internet Private Wide Area Network Off-site worker Factory warehouse Home worker Branch office The descriptions below briefly summarize the functions of each component: • Data center network: standalone and in-office ¬ Connects central storage, applications and services ¬ Virtualizes networks between applications or divisions ¬ Uses local area network (LAN) technology • Wide area network: private, leased and public ¬ Interconnects data centers ¬ Connects offices to data centers ¬ Virtualizes networks between divisions ¬ Uses Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technologies to interconnect sites ¬ Supports VPN technologies to interconnect off-site and home users • Main office and campus networks ¬ Provide fixed and mobile access to users ¬ Use LAN and Wi-Fi technologies • Branch office network ¬ Provides fixed and mobile access to users ¬ Uses LAN, Wi-Fi and unified gateway services • Home workers and off-site workers ¬ Receive virtualized and secure access by VPN technologies ¬ Use public networks Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures | Application Note 3
  7. 7. • Factory and warehouse networks ¬ Provide wired and wireless access for users and production automation ¬ Use hardened LAN and Wi-Fi technology • Network operations ¬ Manages faults and configuration ¬ Manages performance ¬ Manages IP addressing and naming Realizing cost savings in the data network This section provides a general description of nine key areas where enterprises can minimize costs after deploying Alcatel-Lucent data networks and shows how Alcatel-Lucent solutions support the savings in each area. Understanding these opportunities for minimizing costs while maximizing functionality might encourage enterprises that have not yet deployed a modern data network to consider new possibilities. Equipment cost savings Instead of paying a premium for overpriced enterprise-grade equipment offered by certain vendors, or accommodating near-obsolete legacy features with costly customized patches, Alcatel-Lucent offers cost-effective, scalable, high-quality enterprise-grade equipment that fully supports the latest IP network requirements. In 2008 the Gartner Group stated: “Alcatel-Lucent generally offers a lower-cost alternative to some of the larger players.” Hardware maintenance cost savings Hardware maintenance costs of a production network can be quantified as a percentage of the original equipment cost. In recent years, price erosion has driven the purchase cost of data network equipment way down. This means that replacing existing equipment with new lower-cost equipment can substantially decrease the overall cost of maintenance. In this case, a lower base cost and early depreciation not only reduce maintenance costs, but also enable enterprises to take advantage of the latest data network features, such as high availability, IP telephony support and increased security. Energy cost savings Alcatel-Lucent data network equipment for LAN, WLAN (wireless local area network) and WAN consumes among the lowest power in the industry. Thus, while energy prices keep rising, significant savings are possible from reduced power consumption, equipment virtualization and centralized storage, applications and services. In addition, less energy is required for cooling and charging battery backup systems. Network access control deployment savings Alcatel-Lucent data network equipment features cost-effective network access control (NAC) via embedded security functionality which eliminates additional software and appliance costs often required in competitive solutions. Because LAN and WLAN authentication and authorization rely completely on open protocols, such as 802.1X and Radius, they are embedded in industry-standard and open operating systems already in place. In addition, the equipment is: • Fully interoperable with existing authentication mechanisms • Enhanced to allow authentication via embedded web portals and MAC (Media Access Control) address based authentication • Built to assign user network profiles for granular authorization without the need for expensive appliances Furthermore, the Alcatel-Lucent solution maintains a clear demarcation of data network and application management in an overall ICT architecture. 4 Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures | Application Note
  8. 8. Forklift upgrade cost savings Replacing hardware when more bandwidth is needed is expensive and disruptive. In LANs it entails replacement of LAN switches, reconfiguration of new systems and reconnection of end users. In WLANs, upgrades are worse, requiring labor-intensive, costly “forklift” upgrades. Alcatel-Lucent modular data network equipment for LAN and WLAN is software upgradeable, requiring only a license to obtain more bandwidth. Design complexity savings With more switching capacity than older systems, current network bandwidth per link has increased by as much as ten Gigabits per second. A modern network can be built with fewer layers cutting equipment costs and eliminating management and deployment costs as well. In addition, using high-capacity links from core to edge may eliminate the need for intermediate equipment. Alcatel- Lucent fully supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet in its line of LAN core and edge switches enabling streamlined network designs to save on deployment and maintenance. Current Wi-Fi solutions also improve on older designs for security and radio management. Older radio management systems required manual recalibration with every furniture move and room change. Today’s Alcatel-Lucent Wi-Fi solutions feature built-in Automatic Radio Management (recalibrates automatically) and modular coverage capabilities that reduce the cost of deployment, operation and expansion. Availability cost savings Sustaining high-availability requires two elements. First, the data network must be built with a mix of design and equipment redundancy. And second, a fault management system, hidden from the business process, must track availability status and proactively trigger redundant backup to provide seamless access until system glitches are restored. Alcatel-Lucent data network solutions provide cost-effective, built-in redundancy in all of its data network equipment as well as comprehensive fault and service level management systems to ensure always-on access reliability. Like availability, poor IP address and domain name management causes business loss. Alcatel-Lucent data networks provide resilient and easy-to-operate IP address and DNS (Domain Name System) management enabling the most robust address and name management available. Justified investment and depreciation To reduce costs and justify investment in new equipment, performance management should also track unused network equipment and predict depletion. In addition, it should be able to provide a more holistic view, measuring not just the data network, but also applications, telephony and end systems as well. Alcatel-Lucent solutions provide a comprehensive performance and service level management system that allows enterprises to justify depreciation and investment. Space cost savings Large-scale network centralization and increased numbers of home workers have freed expensive office space for other uses. Centralization requires scalable networks, an efficient data center and scalable solutions for wide area networks. It also mandates secure network access to central resources for home workers using VPN technologies. To meet these needs, Alcatel-Lucent offers highly scalable solutions for WANs, secure remote access and state-of-the-art data center connectivity. Reducing Expenditures in Network Infrastructures | Application Note 5
  9. 9. Conclusion Alcatel-Lucent is one of the few leading vendors that offer a full solution portfolio to accommodate enterprise information and communication technology needs with the LAN, WLAN and WAN technologies covered in this document as well as IP telephony, management, unified communications, security, contact center management and mobility. Alcatel-Lucent creates business-critical solutions that simplify processes to efficiently and cost-effectively address business requirements by leveraging cross-industry knowledge, research and innovation, flexible deployment models and comprehensive support. While this document does not exhaust the extent of cost savings to be realized from deploying an Alcatel-Lucent network solution, it provides an overview of key benefits that could make a vital difference in the cost-effectiveness and efficiencies in enterprise network infrastructures. To learn more about Alcatel-Lucent data network solutions, please visit: Alcatel, Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent and the Alcatel-Lucent logo are trademarks of Alcatel-Lucent. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The information presented is subject to change without notice. Alcatel-Lucent assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein. Copyright © 2009 Alcatel-Lucent. All rights reserved. P/N 032152 Rev. A 3/09