Networks Matter

Network redesign Week notes week ending 31/01

Background

The bad thing about Networking, its become such a common throwaway term for human interaction that we often take it for granted. We actually have reached a point in the handling of our networks that we now freely allow people to access our networks on social media platforms without truly appreciating the power that is held in human connections.

There is a great value that is built through simply connecting with people. Whether, it’s going to a show that your friend recommended, a restaurant or purchasing that much-needed item, usually we look for validation from some source, 9/10 times that source comes from our network. I really didn’t want to come across too deep but what I’m trying to say is that Networks in any shape or form mean something.

“Network Redesign” is one project which I am slowly starting to appreciate for all its intricacies and all the different dependencies, which when you peel away every layer you can only show a resounding appreciation for the underpinning value that brings all these different services to our colleagues and public service, this being the network holding all these things together.

If you are unclear as to the purpose of the ‘Network Redesign’ project and the end destination of our ‘Roadmap’, hopefully, this will help jog your memory.

The ‘Network Redesign’ project’s end goal is to enhance the Council network infrastructure through the architectural redesign of the current council infrastructure network and the upgrading of associated hardware. The new infrastructure design will have a ‘Web First’ strategy at its core and enable users (Council employees and members of the public), to access council services from any of our offices without being bound to a local server.

Objectives for the current Sprint

  • Begin workshop testing for potential Firewall solutions at the datacentre and access layer
  • Confirm the scheduled rollout of the Wi-Fi upgraded installations at the recommended council sites
  • Complete the business case for the purchasing of switches for the user network (Both the access layer and the distribution layer) To find more about the three-tier architectural model you find further details here
  • Agree on the next steps for any of the UPS solution

Begin workshop testing for potential Firewall solutions for the data center and access layer

The team has begun to explore the remote firewall solution for both the access layer and datacenter level. This has actually come about quite organically in the natural progression from the Firewall architectural designs, which we had finished in previous Sprints.

We are now at a point where the team has begun approaching recommended vendors to see what is on the market to meet our requirements. These solutions are currently being tested for suitability within the context of a user workshop environment and scored against a user requirements criteria (Weighting Sheet) based on our end requirements, which the team will intend to use for the final roundtable assessment which we will base our final decision on.

Confirm the scheduled rollout of the Wi-Fi upgraded installations at the recommended council sites.

We are now in communications with all the relevant vendors as well as having agreed on all the specific site locations. The next steps will be to start road mapping the roll-out of these installations so we can project the completion of all scheduled works.

Complete the business case for the purchasing of data center user network switch

A key dependency on the completion of the data center migration is the purchasing of the user network switch. For this to happen the business case must be completed and supplied in time for the scheduled work to begin. This work is now underway

Agree on the next steps for the UPS solution

A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) solution has yet to be included in our current thinking for Network planning. The team has used this sprint to kick start that process with the aim to agree on the way forward as a team by the end of the upcoming Sprint.

What we have found challenging

The resource has proved challenging once again. We are a small team, however, the knowledge the members have on the current network and the infrastructure is quite specialist and often called on in emergency call outs. As these occasions do tend to be quite unpredictable the need for team members to provide guidance and hands-on solutions can be quite necessary. As a result, this has had a natural impact on our productivity.

Next steps

–       To complete a business case for the network switchs

–       Further the discovery phase for the Firewall solution

–       Collect all the missing components required in order to confirm the roadmap completion date for the installation of the Wi-Fi upgrades for our targeted locations

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