Network Architecture

One of the top credit reporting companies in the U.S. came to PM Kinetics for a network assessment and analysis of their internal network infrastructure. The 15-day analysis identified several critical issues:

  • Organic growth over seven years had resulted in architecture without a roadmap and no plan for organized, scalable growth
  • Network could not pass a PCI audit
  • Equipment was beyond the end of useful life still in production
  • Problem solving could be accomplished by only a few staff
  • There was little accurate documentation of problems and resolutions
  • Network management was labor intensive, with little to no management metrics

After identifying all issues we created a multi-year plan in excess of $8 million that encompassed infrastructure consolidation and improved virtual capacity to permanently resolve them:

  • We developed a new LAN network architecture using CISCO equipment, ensuring a network that’s scalable, uses industry standard management tools, and can pass the next PCI audit. This included the design and build-out of an MPLS LAN for their corporate, development, and UAT environments, and production segments.
  • We introduced a shared, scalable private cloud using VMware platforms for more than 700 Windows/Red Hat servers with a Blade Logic-based provisioning component, integrated with Infoblox appliances for all IP management.
  • We collapsed over 500 different databases into one shared Oracle and Microsoft SQL database using Tier 1 and 2 storage from both EMC and 3Par, reducing hardware and server licensing costs 15% annually.
  • New security authentication services based on CA’s Site Minder, IDM, and Access Control (a requirement for both PCI and HIPAA) were installed. By implementing new monitoring and management systems feeding the Service Desk – including Blade Logic/SCCM for configuration, SCOM for monitoring, and Spectrum and eHealth – the company was able to create a self-provisioned model within their “private cloud” infrastructure that could be monitored and managed from central consoles by one or two individual technicians.

Provisioning by the development staff and Service Desk reduced labor hours for technical server staff by 50%. Network segmentation built-into MPLS design allowed for quicker isolation of issues and reduced the needed network support staff by 45%. And automated monitoring for availability and performance gave management a quicker “dashboard” report on the overall health of the network, making issues and root cause analysis more transparent.

The company is extremely pleased with the results. They need fewer staff to control the network, they’re experiencing fewer network problems, and those that do arise are easily identifiable. These benefits are more than paying for the cost of their network improvements – and freeing staff to pursue more productive, revenue-generating activities.

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