Outdated Computer Networks Create Competitive Obstacles to Business Success.ITSPA ITSPA Information Technology Solutions Providers Alliance Experts Say Updating Company Networks Imperative for Keeping Pace, Building Advantage
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Most small and medium-sized businesses have outgrown their existing networks, which can place them at a competitive disadvantage, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. experts from the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance (ITSPA). Unfortunately, it's easy for small and medium-sized businesses to let their network infrastructure become out-of-date, since many companies invested years ago in the minimum requirements for data networks - sufficient for employees to store and retrieve files, send and receive e-mail, access the Web and share printers.
Today, as companies turn to these same networks for video, voice and other data-intensive applications, their older underlying network infrastructures are not sufficient. And as they consider engaging external consultants to provide remote network monitoring The term network monitoring describes the use of a system that constantly monitors a computer network for slow or failing systems and that notifies the network administrator in case of outages via email, pager or other alarms. , backup and disaster recovery services, the need for more capable IT infrastructure is paramount.
While most networks consist of the following components, they are deployed in many different ways to meet specific organizational needs:
* A Local Area Network (LAN (Local Area Network) A communications network that serves users within a confined geographical area. The "clients" are the user's workstations typically running Windows, although Mac and Linux clients are also used. ) connecting PCs, file servers and printers within a single office location using wired or wireless connectivity and varying levels of security.
* Network operating system An operating system that is designed for network use. Normally, it is a complete operating system with file, task and job management; however, with some earlier products, it was a separate component that ran under the OS; for example, LAN Server required OS/2, and LANtastic required DOS. (NOS) software (such as Windows NT (Windows New Technology) A 32-bit operating system from Microsoft for Intel x86 CPUs. NT is the core technology in Windows 2000 and Windows XP (see Windows). Available in separate client and server versions, it includes built-in networking and preemptive multitasking. or Windows 2000 Server) that controls the network, its messages and traffic.
* A Wide Area Network (WAN) or high-speed computer network connecting a LAN to the Internet and other networks outside the office. A WAN often covers a broad geographic area, even worldwide, and runs on telephone lines leased from Internet or telephony service providers A telephony service provider, as defined in Microsoft's TAPI specification, is a software interface to a physical telephony device (such as a modem) that can be accessed programmatically to perform actions such as dialing a phone number or logging a call. . A WAN provides access to remote applications used across a company for critical business functions such as accounting and time reporting systems.
"Even with the emergence of many provider-hosted applications like Salesforce.com, a company's network is still a critical component. In many cases, these older networks are the largest performance inhibitors when running modern applications, both hosted and local," said Ron Temske, director of IP communications A general term for networks that use the IP protocol for voice (VoIP) and video traffic. See IP telephony. for Logicalis, an ITSPA member company. "Additionally, more companies - particularly those with more than 100 employees - are beginning to deploy advanced services on the network including voice, video and real-time transactions. These services require a modern network with advanced application and service support."
Temske recommends businesses of any size focus on four primary factors when evaluating their networks:
1. Bandwidth and speed: With the wealth of information sources available to today's knowledge workers, there's little tolerance for slow performance. In addition, speed and bandwidth are required to support time sensitive applications such as voice and video.
2. Application and service support: The network needs to support essential applications and services, including voice, video, file acceleration and data replication
3. Fault tolerance See fault tolerant.
(architecture) fault tolerance - 1. The ability of a system or component to continue normal operation despite the presence of hardware or software faults. This often involves some degree of redundancy.
2. : As the applications and services mentioned above are pushed to the network, the need for a fault tolerant The ability to continue non-stop when a hardware failure occurs. A fault-tolerant system is designed from the ground up for reliability by building multiples of all critical components, such as CPUs, memories, disks and power supplies into the same computer. environment increases. Organizations expect their voice and data networks to run 24x7 without little or no interruption in service.
4. Support for industry standards: Purchase hardware and software certified See certification. to be interoperable The ability for one system to communicate or work with another. See interoperability. with other products and avoid investing in proprietary, non-standard technology.
Updating Infrastructure, Boosting Productivity
There are a few tell-tale signs that a network infrastructure needs updating. In addition to age, the most common reasons for replacement are slow speed and lack of support for current services and applications. Older networking infrastructure simply doesn't offer the support for today's advanced applications and performance requirements. In addition, many times the increased support costs for aging equipment can justify the purchase of new, especially when greatly reduced maintenance fees are taken into consideration.
"For most medium-sized businesses, it's really just a financial and productivity decision," said Temske. "The primary decision points are price vs. the ROI (Return On Investment) The monetary benefits derived from having spent money on developing or revising a system. In the IT world, there are more ways to compute ROI than Carter has liver pills (and for those of you who never heard of that expression, it means a lot). anticipated from reduced maintenance fees, and the frequently greater return observed through enhanced user productivity, greater interaction and collaboration. Fortunately, we've seen many customers generate a complete ROI on their new network in twelve to eighteen months - many times in less than six months."
Temske sees lack of professional support as the main cause of not updating infrastructure. Many small and medium-sized businesses are concerned whether they'll have the capability in-house to support the new network - particularly when they deploy voice, wireless, collaboration and other mission-critical and network-intensive applications on that network. The best solution is to utilize an outside consultant - or solution provider - to provide the day-to-day administration and support for those systems.
ITSPA can help businesses find local service providers who understand all of the factors contributing to their networks' success. Contact ITSPA at firstname.lastname@example.org to locate a qualified solution provider in a specific geographic area with this expertise.
About ITSPA (www.itspa.net)
Headquartered in Portland, Ore., the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance (ITSPA) is a national, nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. serving as an objective resource for businesses hoping to take advantage of the benefits of new technology. ITSPA is dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses adopt technology and grow by using local solution providers to solve business challenges.