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Rightsizing network deployments for cost savings

This week, bloggers examine how to generate cost savings, why there's little public discussion about private clouds and predictions for the RSA Conference.

In a recent post, PacketPushers blogger Phillip Gervasi explored rightsizing network deployments for major cost savings. Gervasi drew on a personal example of rightsizing network deployments, when he was brought in by a state organization to oversee the deployment of Cisco routers and access points, which included 2921 and 2951 routers, and 1041 APs.

After asking how many end users would be connected, he was told "eight to 10." And based on that number, he thought the 2951s would be sufficient if most of the workers would be out of the office, but the 3900 series router might be better for the 800 to 1,000 employees on the network. That's when he found out "eight to 10" meant exactly that: The network would serve eight to 10 workers at each branch location. The organization was ready to spend millions of dollars for a network that would be wildly in excess of what was needed.

"This is one example in a long string of disagreements I've had with solutions architects, salespeople and technical managers with regard to design decisions," Gervasi wrote. "I'm bothered by the level of overkill in network design and hardware selection, and I've become jaded by terms like 'scalability.'"

To Gervasi, the business case for a design should drive network device selection, topology and, subsequently, the cost. "This presupposes a certain level of understanding of the network: traffic baselines, current port density, actual predicted growth -- not completely hypothetical pie-in-the-sky growth -- and the likely timeframe until the next hardware refresh," he wrote.

He wrapped up his rightsizing argument with some good advice:

  • If your two-year-old WAN routers are performing, and their CPU utilization is 2%, they don't need to be replaced right away.
  • A Catalyst 2960X, with minimal options, should be sufficient to provide end users connectivity to their email and electronic time block applications.
  • Running two domain controllers, four application servers, a print server and a handful of file servers? You don't need Cisco ACI.

Read more of Gervasi's thoughts on rightsizing network deployments.

The cult of silence and the private cloud

Ethereal Mind blogger and engineer Greg Ferro discussed the subject of successful private cloud deployments. According to Ferro, public cloud is being talked about extensively, because it's good for business -- even if it's not always good technology. By contrast, private clouds, which are widely deployed, hardly figure in the conversation, even though they often represent both a good business and a good technology decision.

Ferro said he believes that some companies emphasize public cloud for recruiting purposes, marketing and to spur "open source exposure" by attempting to get other companies interested in one's own open source project. For companies that hide their private cloud endeavors, different factors figure in. These companies are often highly regulated, and desire substantial IT and brand security, plus reduced costs and maintaining competitive advantage. Given that many companies deploying private clouds are cash-strapped startups, the debate also centers on large firms with available speakers and marketers who can afford to promote their own public cloud systems, Ferro wrote.

Explore more of Ferro's thoughts on the value of the private cloud.

RSA Conference 2016 and what to expect

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., chose to delve into the upcoming RSA Conference in San Francisco, predicting a larger than average turnout. Oltsik predicted the leading topics will be the move to security automation and orchestration, as well as discussions about progress and continued concerns regarding cloud security.

Among other trends, Oltsik said he expects data loss prevention (DLP), next-generation endpoint security and security analytics to share center stage. Of DLP, Oltsik wrote that interest in the technology is as high today as it was during the DLP craze of 2007.

Meanwhile, security information and event management (SIEM) vendors, including IBM QRadar, Splunk and LogRhythm, are combining better algorithms for big data security systems. SIEM vendors now share the analytics scene with a number of threat intelligence groups, such as ThreatQuotient, ThreatConnect, and BrightCloud, Oltsik said.

Read more of Oltsik's thoughts about the RSA Conference.

Next Steps

Rightsizing for VM allocation

Public vs. private cloud on cost

Looking back at the 2015 RSA Conference

Dig Deeper on Network Infrastructure