With the economic climate as it is, many organizations are being pressed to do more with less, and the network is no exception. This blog offers a few ways that savings can be made on network projects.
Even though numbers may be down or budgets cut mid-year, the network still must go on with a critical role to the organization. Further, this may include new projects and new functionality. Here are a couple ways to realize some quick savings on network projects that can still provide a quality product.Insourced labor
For new installations that require cable runs and terminations, the single biggest savings gain may be in doing the work internally. In lieu of calling a vendor to do the terminations and patch panel work on both ends, take the time to get the work done internally. Further, you may actually be surprised at what types of resources you may have in this regard — such as using facility maintenance staff for assistance in the labor of running a bunch of cable between locations in the data center or between buildings in a workplace campus. Calling on network service providers is usually a safe bet in regard to timely completion and a clean job, but a little advance planning can get it done internally with little or no cost outside of existing labor costs.Reuse spaces and equipment
Many organizations have gone through a rash of virtualization-fueled server consolidation in the data center. In this process, many racks may have a large number of available ports in the rack as well as ample power since the servers have been removed. In this case, there may be 24, 48, or more copper ports and possibly some fiber connectivity that can be fully patched, yet that rack is empty. It would not be unreasonable to "commandeer" that rack as a network rack to put in a small amount of new gear if existing network equipment racks are fully utilized from a space or power perspective.
Some small accommodations to make this solution work include relabeling or rerouting terminations for the new role of the rack panel. There possibly may be some media conversions required, such as SC to LC fiber cables instead of a fully new terminated LIU (fiber optic patch panel). These small steps collectively are a fair trade for potentially great cost savings, and the best part is that there is a much quicker turnaround since most of the infrastructure is already in place and not utilized.Skip premium support and go to a pay-per-incident model
For network equipment and software that you have a high competency with, maybe consider a new support model that can significantly cut costs. This is a general statement, but it can be applied specifically to the reseller space. For example, instead of buying a support package from the equipment maker or software publisher, consider a per-incident support plan by a reseller or service provider of the relevant brands. Further, this provider may be able to support multiple products in this model to amplify savings potential.How about your tricks?
This presents only a few ideas, but surely you may have come across a strategy that can save money in your organization yet still meet your standards of service. Share your tips on dollar stretching in the comments below.
Need help keeping systems connected and running at high efficiency? Delivered Monday and Wednesday, TechRepublic's Network Administrator newsletter has the tips and tricks you need to better configure, support, and optimize your network. Automatically sign up today!
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.