Why Your Network Design Is Like “This Old House”

Paul H. Mauritz
President, CEO

Remember the television series “This Old House”? Now in its 30th year, the premise behind the show is that host Norm (previously Bob Vila) and their team rehabilitate old houses working side by side with the owners. Sometimes the owners want to add space to their home. Sometimes they want to upgrade components of the house. And sometimes, they want to remodel the entire house.

The most interesting aspect of the show to me is that Norm and his team always start by taking a look at the entire house. Whatever the project was expected to be initially, there is invariably more to the job than meets the eye. I saw shows where when the team was getting ready to pour footers for a new section on a house and discovered huge cracks in the original foundation that required significant repair. I remember when they were working on a new bathroom and discovered that the plumbing in the entire house was leaky and needed to be replaced. And I remember when they were remodeling a kitchen and discovered that the original wiring in the house was more than 70 years old, and needed to be completely replaced. There were many other similar situations over the years.

Is Your Organization “This Old House”?

It’s much the same in today’s business world. Many information technology infrastructures are very similar to some of these old houses. Many of our customers have been adding on capability to their infrastructures, as their businesses require more IT capability, including advanced security, network bandwidth, storage, raw computing power, voice, data, and cloud. And many have done this without taking a look at the entire infrastructure to determine if the foundation is stable and can support all of the new capabilities – or whether there might be any cracks.

Much like the homeowners on “This Old House”, many organizations can’t tear down the old infrastructure and start over, as they have to keep the business running, and manage capital. Instead, they execute project after project to add capability or attempt to shore up the infrastructure. Many of these projects are implemented using different outside vendors. And, many of these projects compel the organizations to implement changes that they did not anticipate would affect other components of the IT infrastructure.

As an example, we have customers whose infrastructures were designed some years ago to support client server architecture so that they could deploy a mission-critical application to drive their business. Now they are moving to Software as a Service (SaaS) or going to the cloud with that same architecture. Or they are taking that same infrastructure and trying to combine voice and data traffic and support unified communications and collaboration tools.

Just as the “This Old House” team does, organizations need to take a look at the entire infrastructure, and determine a design and architecture that will provide the baseline for the services they need to offer to drive their business. This means poking some holes in the walls, and tracing the electrical wiring, and pressure testing the plumbing – to use the home remodeling equivalents.

From an IT perspective, customers need to rethink their network design, their storage architecture, their computing requirements, and their application strategy – and overlay all of that with security architecture and policies. Then, they need to develop the transition plan to get from the old infrastructure to the new – while keeping the business growing. This is a tricky thing to undertake, as most Companies do not have experts in all areas of their infrastructures. They have relied on their internal staff (which is more focused on keeping the infrastructure operating than redesigning it) and some external expertise to keep things working.

NetCraftsmen believes in taking a holistic view of IT infrastructure, accounting for all of the technologies that make up that infrastructure and driving policy and process change – along with technological change – to evolve the infrastructure to meet the future demands of our customers’ businesses. We have helped many organizations build for the future, and are ready to help you too.

Contact us to start a conversation about modernizing your infrastructure, much like the team on “This Old House” do so often.

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