Home > Articles > Networking > Network Design & Architecture

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Analyzing Business Constraints

In addition to analyzing business goals and determining your customer's need to support new and existing applications, it is important to analyze any business constraints that will affect your network design.

Politics and Policies

It has been said that there are two things not to talk about with friends: politics and religion. It would be nice if you could escape discussing office politics and technological religion (technology preferences) with a network design customer, but avoiding these topics puts your project at risk.

In the case of office politics, your best bet is to listen rather than talk. Your goal is to learn about any hidden agendas, turf wars, biases, group relations, or history behind the project that could cause it to fail. In some cases, a similar project was already tried and didn't work. You should determine if this has happened in your case and, if it has, the reasons why the project failed or never had a chance to come to fruition.

Pay attention to personnel issues that could affect the project. Which manager or managers started the project and how much do they have at stake? Are there any managers, network engineers, or users who want the project to fail for any reason? Find out who your advocates and opponents are. In some cases, no matter how technically sound your network design is, there will be people who have a negative reaction to it.

Be sure to find out if your project will cause any jobs to be eliminated. Some network design projects involve automating tasks that were once done by highly paid workers. These workers will obviously have reasons to want the project to fail.

Be prepared for the possibility of formidable office politics if your network design project involves the merging of voice and data networks. Voice experts and data experts have traditionally lived in their own worlds. They may face each other with some mistrust and fear for the future. You can often reduce the uncertainty by running short IP telephony seminars for voice technicians and traditional telephony seminars for the data network administrators.

While working with a client, you will gain a feeling for the client's business style. One aspect of style that is important to understand is tolerance to risk. Is risk taking rewarded in the company, or are most people afraid of change? Knowing the employment history of the decision-makers will help you select appropriate technologies. The employment history of the decision-makers affects their tolerance to risk and their biases toward certain technologies. Understanding these issues will help you determine if your network design should be conservative or if it can include new, state-of-the art technologies and processes.

Another aspect of the client's business style has to do with testing the design. At some companies, the testers might claim they have carefully tested a new Voice over IP (VoIP) implementation, for example, when what they really did was get a VoIP call to complete. Your idea of testing, on the other hand, might be to make numerous calls under various load conditions. See Chapter 12, "Testing Your Network Design," for more information on testing.

It is important that you discuss with your customer any policies (religion) regarding protocols, standards, and vendors. Try to learn of any "forbidden technologies" where the users or network engineers have decided, possibly for the wrong reasons, that a particular protocol is slow or unstable.

Find out if the company has standardized on any transport, routing, desktop, or other protocols. Determine if there is any doctrine regarding open versus proprietary solutions. Find out if there are any policies on approved vendors or platforms. In many cases, a company has already chosen technologies and products for the new network and your design must fit into the plans. Ask your customer if there are any policies regarding distributed authority for network design and implementation. For example, are there departments that control their own internetworking purchases? Find out if departments and end users are involved in choosing their own applications. Make sure you know who the decision-makers are for your network design project.

A lot of organizations need to implement policies in response to legal, regulatory, or contractual requirements. In the United States, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAPs) drive many accounting policies. In the medical profession, network designs may be affected by security and privacy policies that are regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. In other parts of the world, network equipment choices may be regulated by governmental Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone (PTT) organizations.

In the rush to get to technical requirements, network designers sometimes ignore nontechnical issues, which is a mistake. Many brilliant network designs have been rejected by a customer because the designer focused on the lower layers of the OSI reference model and forgot about company politics and technical religion.

Budgetary and Staffing Constraints

Your network design must fit the customer's budget. The budget should include allocations for equipment purchases, software licenses, maintenance and support agreements, testing, training, and staffing. The budget might also include consulting fees (including your fees) and outsourcing expenses.

Throughout the project, work with your customer to identify requirements for new personnel, such as additional network managers. Point out the need for personnel training, which will affect the budget for the project.

In general, it is a good idea to analyze the abilities of the networking staff. How much in-house expertise is there? Should you recommend any training or outsourcing for network operations and management? The technologies and protocols that you recommend will depend on the abilities of internal staff. It is not a good idea to recommend a complex routing protocol, such as Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), for example, if the engineering staff is just starting to learn internetworking concepts (unless you also recommend a comprehensive training plan).

Analyzing in-house expertise is especially important and challenging for companies that merge their voice and data networks. Consider the need to train the traditional voice experts on data technologies and the data experts on voice technologies. Also, implementing voice and video often requires advanced QoS knowledge that may necessitate training.

To ensure the success of your project, determine who controls the network budget—the Information Systems (IS) department, network managers, or users' departments? How much control do users and groups have over network expenditures? Are there any departmental charge-back schemes?

Regardless of who controls the budget, one common network design goal is to contain costs. Reduced budgets or limited resources often force network designers to select the most affordable solution instead of the best solution. It is useful to know the areas in which the network design can be changed with the least effect on performance to meet budget requirements. Chapter 2 discusses typical tradeoffs that must be made to meet the goal of affordability while achieving good performance and reliability.

If possible, work with your customer to develop a return on investment (ROI) analysis for the network design. Make a business case to the customer that explains how quickly the new network will pay for itself, due to reduced operational costs, improved employee productivity, or the enabling of higher revenue potential and market expansion.

Project Scheduling

An additional business-oriented topic that you should review with your customer is the timeframe for the network design project. When is the final due date and what are the intermediate and major milestones? In most cases, management of the project schedule is the customer's obligation, not yours, but you should ask the customer to give you a copy of the schedule and to keep you informed about any slips in the schedule.

NOTE

It's important to include intermediate milestones in the project schedule. They give you and your client a way to detect slips in the schedule.

Be sure to include circuit disconnect or circuit capacity changes in the project schedule. There is often a long lead time for these changes. Plan to document when the circuit changes and other major changes take place so that if problems occur, you can analyze what has changed to help you troubleshoot.

Many tools exist for developing a schedule that includes milestones, resource assignments, critical-path analysis, and so on. Take a look at these aspects of the schedule and voice your view on whether the schedule is practical, considering what you have learned about the scope of the project. During the technical-analysis stage and the logical- and physical-design phases of the project, be sure to keep the schedule in mind. As you iteratively develop a concrete understanding of the technical scope of the network design project, point out any concerns you have about the schedule.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020