If it is human to err, then it is almost inevitable that any network conceived by human intelligence and built by human hands is going to have problems. Mistakes happen, and they can range from the downright disastrous to the mildly infuriating. The good news, according to Forester Research analyst Robert Whiteley, is that organizations have gotten good enough at their networks that disasters are comparatively rare.
That doesn't mean that organizations don't commit a few blunders along the way, but the no-nos are more a question of having a network operate below expectations than one that doesn't function at all. "There's a difference between a network that just works and one that can support new applications," he says. "So mistakes aren't really so binary. They're just things that make work harder than it should be."
It is, of course, a whole lot easier to avoid the five top network no-nos when you're starting with a clean slate, but few organizations have that luxury. With network expansion, however, Whiteley says that it's possible for companies to at least not make mistakes that they've made before. "You don't see many greenfield builds anymore," he says. "But we get a lot of questions about things like cabling, probably because companies are building data centers, so there are pockets of network design where you can get things right, right from the start."
With that in mind, there are a whole range of things organizations can do to achieve better living through networking, and they all come down to avoiding common mistakes. These are the top five:
1. Ignoring network management tools: "People often forget about management tools when they're building a new network or looking at the one they have," Whiteley says. "Most hardware vendors provide management software with their products these days, but there is a whole tier of software that can give visibility into the network as a whole."