By Elka Popova, Vice President and Senior Fellow, Connected Work and Digital Experience @ Frost & Sullivan
If you have been following along on this guest blog series about Frost & Sullivan’s Modern LAN principles, I hope you’ve come to some of the same conclusions that my colleagues and I have reached: Today’s local area network is a vastly different environment than the PC-centric one of only a couple of years ago. A different environment requires not only a new way of thinking about network design but also a new toolbox of solutions to support an increasingly diverse set of network endpoints.
Each of the previous blog posts laid the groundwork for the need for a new set of best practices—what we call the Modern LAN principles. Modern LAN design recognizes the greater role that IoT is playing in both our businesses and our networks (Build the network around the devices you’re really using), as well as a reminder that all the work we do today should be done in a responsible and sustainable manner (Reduce, Reuse, Refocus Applies to the Network Too). In addition, Modern LAN principles break down some of the conventional wisdom when it comes to dealing with the new normal of connecting endpoints (The New Normal for Modern LANs), as well as a bit of a return to an older way of thinking about physical networks, suggesting that physically separate but functionally integrated IP network paths is the best approach to more efficiently manage the local area network, as well as a clever approach to dealing with ongoing and unanticipated cybersecurity threats (Why Segregating the Network Just Makes Sense).
As I helped develop the Modern LAN principles with my Frost & Sullivan colleagues, I have become convinced of two things. First, I believe that network administrators and solution architects will benefit by applying even one of these design principles in their own local area networks. Case in point: Just by leveraging the Modern LAN principle around environmental sustainability, the IT department can start to move from being the biggest producer of e-waste in the organization to a champion of sustainability and corporate responsibility.
Secondly, and most importantly, I firmly believe that the benefits of Modern LAN design actually multiply when they are applied together. Starting with an outside-in approach, administrators can begin to right-size the network to match the requirements of deployed endpoints. From there, clear opportunities to reuse existing cabling infrastructure begin to emerge, as well as the ability to start conversations about dividing these devices into physically separated but logically integrated networks. At the same time, outside-in efforts will shed needed light on what used to be considered network exceptions, bringing these increasingly common issues well into the fold of network design.
Together, the Modern LAN principles offer what network administrators need most: a highly flexible, cyber secure and agile local area network design. By prescribing to the Modern LAN principles, network architects and administrators can build networks that are environmentally conscious and better prepared for the rapidly-approaching connected future, all while putting money back in the IT budget for other projects.
Download the Whitepaper
To learn more, read the whitepaper “The Modern LAN: Rethinking Network Design for the Modern Age”, available at www.themodernlan.org