Although we are all familiar with budget cuts, this might ring close to home for the UK public sector, where on October 20 the government announced an intense review of public sector spending. However, given the less than ideal state of the international economy, working effectively within budget constraints is no less prevalent worldwide. Our Channel Manager, Steve Demianyk, provides some tips for the IT department under fire.
Tip #1 Make the most of the infrastructure you already own
Document port-to-port connectivity, ideally, with an inexpensive layer 2/3 discovery, mapping, and inventory tool. With a complete inventory in place, troubleshooting, auditing, and repurposing unused resources becomes easier.
Tip #2 Need more hardware? Consider moving to an internal cloud!
Ipswitch hasn’t purchased a single piece of hardware in the three years since we’ve moved to the internal cloud. Your first step in virtualization is to decide which serves to move to the cloud. Usually, supplementary servers like DNS, domain controllers, DHCP, and file and print servers are good places to start because they don’t take full advantage of the hardware on which they exist. Web servers, mail servers and small databases are also good candidates.
More complex servers can be virtualized, but this must be planned out carefully. Before virtualizing any server you should run a trending analysis and performance monitoring. You will want to measure processor use, memory use, storage, network traffic volume and disk I/O. An overloaded server should not be moved to the cloud in any case.
Tip #3 Look for ways to troubleshoot and resolve issues faster
Industries studies show that 80% of IT time and resources are spent on finding the problem, and only 20% is for fixing the issues. If you are running more than one network management solution you will have to manually examine multiple reports and interfaces to correlate information across various types of metrics. This can substantially lengthen mean time to resolution (MTTR), making the job much more difficult and time consuming. Look for an infrastructure management solution that will let you discover, map, monitor and manage the network devices, servers, applications, virtual resources, port-to-port connectivity, configuration settings and network traffic from a single console.
Tip #4 Ensure 24×7 health, availability and optimal performance of infrastructure and applications
Performance monitoring should be a routine task. This seemingly unimportant activity can minimize risks and increase the likelihood that network issues and bottlenecks are found early on. A network management solution with an all-inclusive console will make this job easier and more efficient.
Tip #5 Look for cost-effective solutions
They do exist. If you currently use one of the big four solutions you might want to reconsider your solution for the upcoming year. You can still have a solid IT management solution for a reasonable price, but you may have to sacrifice the bells and whistles. One might naturally look towards open source solutions, but configuration can be a nightmare and the risks are high: vulnerability, scalability, liability, lack of tech support.
As the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy puts it, “Don’t panic” (in the face of budget cuts). Just weigh your options and find ways to do more with less.