It is not uncommon that networking professionals play many different roles. In this blog, I want to cover the role that network designers have on implementing, validating and optimizing network designs. Whereas I’m pretty sure this varies from company to company, I wanted to present a generic point of view on the subject. Throughout this blog, “pretend” the work is segmented according to Cisco’s DIO framework design, implement and operate (formerly known as PPDIOO), as if it was done by 3 unique sets of individuals.
Network designer role on implementing a network design
It involves the creation of a detailed design that would be handed to an implementation team, which consists of impact analysis and definition of the implementation steps.
If you need to elicit any information from your customer to determine impact, now is the time to do so. You will have to determine if there are any requirements that won’t be met whether critical or not. If there are, can you adapt your design to make them work within the implementation timelines? As you are designing the new network, there are certain things to take into consideration:
Will there be any negative impact on the existing network (for example, are traffic patterns changing)?
Will the new design affect any currently supported services and applications and their performance?
Will there be a change in day to day operations (for example, is the staff properly trained to support the new design)?
How will network management have to change in order to monitor the new network?
You understand the initial state, interim state(s) and end state of the network. You have determined which technologies and/or features should be deployed where, and what items should be part of the network documentation. In order to go from point A to point B, an ordered checklist of the steps should be created to avoid or minimize service disruption. As part of the risk mitigation strategy, identify early on pre-requisites or dependencies and create a rollback plan – Daniel Dib wrote an interesting blog on this subject.
Network designer role on validating and optimizing a network design
Now is the moment of truth – after the network stabilizes, does it truly meet the requirements and can realize all of the intended benefits, or is it like the old joke (see below)? The KPIs important for the customer should be monitored, for comparing the before implementation and after implementation baselines. Using input from this monitoring and/or from troubleshooting activities post-implementation, you may find the need for modifications to the original design. In this case, record and distribute lessons learned.
As a network designer, what is your role in the implementation, validation and optimization of network designs? Is there a topic you want to hear about on my upcoming blogs? Add it to the comments field!
Elaine Lopes is the CCDE and CCAr Certifications Program Manager and Team Lead for the CCIE program team, and she’s passionate about how lives can change for the better through education and certification.
Here are a few additional ways for us to engage and keep the conversation going:
- Cisco Learning Network CCDE Study Group
- Connect on Twitter too
- CCDE study materials for the Written and Practical exams
- Related Unleashing CCDE blogs: CCDE: Book of Questions, CCDE: Now What?, CCDE: The Pillars of the Earth - Part 1, CCDE: Design Use Cases - Part 1, CCDE: Come Together, Customer Engagement in Network Design with Emanuel Lipschütz
- Related links: Daniel Dib's blog http://www.networkcomputing.com/networking/network-change-management-best-practices-/a/d-id/1321644