March 2, 2016
Putting together a network that is effective for your company is what most businesses strive for, and getting things done is basically what most companies aim for. What they do not realize is that putting together these efficient and amazing networks without proper documentation and planning may cause problems in the future. Having a written network architecture will help you keep this stable, and ensure that plans are followed to a T.
When you put together your written network architecture, this needs to follow a format that will allow others to easily understand what was done, and what may be needed in case troubleshooting is required. This should also carry in it the reason for the construction of the network, why the architecture is designed the way it is designed, and what needs are being covered by such a network design, among other things.
You should also incorporate diagrams of the network, showing people what goes where, how the network is connected, and what purpose these connections serve. Apart from this, you will also need to create what are called site tiers, or site levels, which tell people what level of importance in business criticality each site belongs to. This will help people who will handle the creation of network design templates in the future which ones to use for each site. This can be also be based on what applications a site uses and how many people are employed by such a site.
Another thing that should be included in the list of items that should go into your written network architecture are the diagrams or network design templates already being used by your sites, as well as templates that can be used for future purposes. These should be marked according to tier or level, so that people know what level a diagram is used for or can be used for. This will make it easier to narrow down options for future uses when templates are needed to create new networks.
Also included in your must-haves for a well-written guide to your network architecture are the lists of materials used to create each template, the kinds of wide area network (WAN) options that each network can support, and possible WAN requirements these may need in the future. These should be written on each template being used for a specific site, and should be easily found alongside information like site level or tier, materials used, and other important information.
There are still quite a number of things you need to add to your network architecture documentation, but these are dependent on what exactly you are planning on doing, or are already doing for these sites. Some of the things that may need to be outlined in your written network architecture include who gets internet access, what routing technology may be used by some networks, what configuration standards may be needed, and many more. Whoever is creating your network architecture should keep track of everything that is being done, what is being requested, what software are being used, and so on. Having everything documented is not only to ensure that everything goes according to plan, but also to see where things may need tweaking and other similar concerns.