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Monday, June 15, 2009

5 S's to Enterprise Network Hardware

By Darwin Redshield

There are several large network hardware vendors out there, and it can often be confusing to decide which brand to buy. Do you want a Cisco router, a Juniper router, or a Nortel router? What brand network switch or sever should your company purchase? Each specific company provides a huge amount of detail/advertising on why you should pick their solution. I decided to congeal some of these product details and provide an overall list of features that your company should be looking for in their enterprise networking hardware.

No matter what type of business vertical you are in, or where you are running your company from, networking hardware is a critical aspect of your business. The five key features your network hardware and network infrastructure should provide are:

* Simplicity: A network product and OS that is extremely simple, logical, and easy to operate will make everyone's life easier. Network hardware that is simple in installation and execution, but provides the infrastructure for complex company communication, is a must have.

* Security: Your enterprise data is your company's most valuable resource. Whether it be client data, financial data, or intellectual property data, it is extremely important that your network provides the protection and access control for this data. Your brand of Network hardware can mean the difference between an occasional security breach and a perfect record of protection.

* Speed: It is vital that your enterprise network is running at the speed of your business. It should never hinder your company's work flow, whether it be accessing data within your company's network or at global access level. The network equipment that you utilize is the engine that runs your entire company's network infrastructure.

* Scalability: It is very important that your network be scalable with your company's growth and downsizing. A network that is not scalable can incur unnecessary cost for your company and unwanted hardship on enterprise efficiency. Scalability means a network infrastructure that offers open source flexibility- the ability for your company to not be locked-in to one specific solution, but instead posses the capability to utilize the best market technology available.

* Savings: Maintaining a network infrastructure can often be a very costly process, and can tip a company's earnings in one direction or the other. Finding network hardware that is both cheap and reliable is quite the difficult task. Depending on where you look, buying a used cisco router or refurbished cisco switch can sometimes mean the difference in simplicity, security, speed AND scalability. However, it is equally as important that you don't break the bank building up your company's network infrastructure. The key is to find a reliable network hardware vendor- whether it be a used network hardware reseller or a direct seller, make sure that they are clear-cut and trustworthy.

Beyond this list, there are basic consumer guidelines that you should follow when purchasing network hardware. One of these components is a vendor's warranty- make sure they clearly state that they offer a warranty on your network hardware purchase so that if your requirements change, you don't end up paying the cost.

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