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Forget cutting to the bone. Can you cut through the bone, too?

Hey, have you heard that the economy is in bad shape? It’s bad out there. Just ask the newest Nobel Laureate for economics, Paul Krugman:

Seriously, we are in very deep trouble. Getting out of this will require a lot of creativity, and maybe some luck too.

Well you should know that analysts and vendors are lining up to give networking pros advice on how to save money in 2009.

Today I received an invitation from Enterprise Management Associates for a January webinar entitled How to Reduce Network Management Expenses in 2009. EMA vice president Dennis Drogseth will examine how automation and an integrated life cycle approach to network management can reduce costs.

Network Instruments sent us a list of the “Top five ways you can be network hero in 2009.

  • Harness the information you have. Network devices have tons of metrics that can provide cheap visibility into your infrastructure. For instance, if you aren’t doing this already, start collecting NetFlow data and aggregate it into some kind of analyzer to get real time stats on you applications.
  • Test, test, test. It’s easier to identify and budget for changes to applications before you launch them rather than after. Understand how your apps will run on the systems provided and the network provided before you allow the application team to launch them.
  • Prioritizing critical traffic. Instead of spending money to boost bandwidth, set quality of service thresholds for critical apps and allow bandwidth-hogging apps that aren’t as critical wait a little longer.
  • Stop throwing bandwidth. Slow application performance isn’t always a network issue. Bring some donuts over to the systems guys and ask them to check on how their servers are performing. Maybe they aren’t configured properly for the applications they are running.
  • Anticipate rather than react. Network managers are often in reaction mode, using analysis tools after the network has a problem. Too often they’re waiting for the problem to recur. If you run your tools continuously you can spot network issues before the user experiences them. You’ll spend less time trying to diagnose and fix them. And you’ll have more time to get everything else done.

Info-Tech Research Group has also published a list of Eight Ways to Slash Network and Telecom Costs by Half. I won’t publish them in full since Info-Tech would rather that you spend $195 to get the list from them, but here are a few brief examples of things you can do:

  • Buy used networking gear. This market has grown quite a bit over the last few years. Your vendors might not be happy with you for doing this, but they don’t need to know. I plan to write about this next month on
  • Renegotiate telecom and mobile service contracts. If you are in a position to do it, now is a good time to get a better deal from your providers. They’ll be wiling to lower their charges in order to keep your business in these dark times.
  • Get rid of T1 lines on your WAN. There are lots of cheaper alternatives out there. See if you can find something that meets your requirements at a lower price.

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