Delay Design Redundancy at Your Peril

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More than ever, SMBs need networks that stand up to mission critical crunches and that makes the need for resilient and redundant network designs more vital than ever. Delay is no longer an option and here’s why you need to start building in a backup strategy for your switched network - today.

Network redundancy is a bit like getting an insurance policy. You might not ever need it but it’s incredibly nice to have in case something goes bump in the night.

Just as organizations ‘back up’ their data, there is also the need to have a ‘back up’ plan for the switched network. Furthermore, resiliency is different from redundancy. The former is how quick the network can bounce back from an issue or outage, whilst redundancy defines if there is an alternative traffic path in place should a link go down. The two go hand in hand.

When it comes to supporting systems that can handle intensive data processing needs, there’s always the lurking possibility of a glitch that suddenly brings the network to a standstill. From an IT manager’s perspective, the goal is to create a networking capability that can support heavy data loads without suffering performance issues.

Enterprises learned long ago the value of building in network redundancy and resiliency to reduce the risk of unexpected downtime by rapidly responding to any points of failure. One approach was to add switches to help optimize networks and assist with configuring and monitoring their LANs, especially when it came to prioritizing traffic. Switches that were able to distinguish VoIP phone data packets from large e-mail attachments smoothed out issues, prioritizing traffic to resolve data jams as they arose.

Big companies made the investment knowing that it can help avoid lost business - and a tarnished reputation - in the event their systems got knocked offline for any reason. These larger enterprises were also early to recognize the value of deploying 10G to support high-bandwidth, mission critical applications in their corporate backbones and data centers. They were also able to take advantage of ‘stacking’ that allowed multiple switches to be grouped as one virtual stack with resilient and redundant links built across the stack.

Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can now take similar measures and mitigate the risk of sudden outages with a more redundant and resilient network topology - and do it at increasingly affordable cost.

Organizations need to decide which parts - if not all of their network - require zero downtime. Stacking solutions that offer sub second failover deliver the best solution for mission critical services. A call center is going to have a different service delivery expectation from the finance team and the right design, designed right is key.

Resilient and redundant switching solutions are now available that enable all organizations, small or large, to provide enterprise-class solutions at SMB price points. The switches help smooth out peak demand times, and can mitigate downtime risks by identifying, re-routing and prioritizing types of traffic flowing in the network to ensure consistent service delivery.

Companies such as NETGEAR now offer several affordable switching alternatives that SMBs can add to gain this reliable functionality. These switches proactively detect potential problems and offer greater device management capacity at economical price points. What’s more, they also enable a company’s IT staff to quickly understand the scope of the issues with a single view of the infrastructure.

Depending on their particular needs, SMBs can either choose to add Smart Managed network switches that connect their PCs, servers and storage or deploy fully managed switches, which offer advanced stacking configuration capabilities, resiliency and security controls.

The products’ built-in intelligence offers IT visibility into their network, offering status updates as well as identifying any problems that might be cropping up. For instance, when there are any broken links, they can alert other switches so if one fails, another device will still be able to route traffic to maintain the communications flow.

This is a useful tool to have at your side. Choosing the right products to support your infrastructure spells a world of difference between uptime and downtime. As we’ve seen elsewhere, nowadays converged networks, unified communications, virtualization and the Internet of Things are all queuing up to demand more from SMB IP networks. And with more devices, more Wi-Fi, more video, more surveillance, and more file sharing, the list keeps increasing. So does the potential for trouble if you’re not prepared ahead of time. 

Visit NETGEAR’s site to learn more.