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Legacy Network Elements

Figure 1 shows a schematic of an enterprise network that spans three floors of a building. Each floor accommodates a range of network devices including computers, plotters, printers, a PBX, servers, a firewall, and a number of Ethernet switches.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Enterprise network.

Increasingly, we hear talk in the media about service-oriented networks (this is a big Sun Microsystems initiative), and Figure 1 is an example. All the devices in Figure 1 provide either some type of service or access to some type of service:

  • The computers provide access to software applications, the Internet, and so on.
  • The printers provide a printing, scanning, fax service.
  • Servers provide access to shared devices (and increasingly host applications).
  • The switches help move network traffic between devices and other sites.
  • Telephones (not shown) provide access to telephony.

The elements in Figure 1 are essential for facilitating the use and origination of a growing variety of services. It is in this context that I refer to them as legacy devices or in total as legacy infrastructure. The infrastructure is often kept going by using an array of configuration scripts, intuition, isolated management systems, and keeping your fingers crossed! As you'll see, this can be improved with the addition of some focused tools.

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