Q: Is the network design approved by the vendor?
Often I've come to a site and been asked to clean up someone else's mess. When I look at their design and look at the mess they're in, I realize that someone decided to save a buck by coming up with a [network] design that isn't supported by the vendor. [The design] isn't supported for a reason: [it's] breaking some rule.
Sometimes the mess isn't a major mess. [In these cases a company] called the vendor and asked for support, [but the vendor said] they can't help [because] the [network] design isn't uniform. [For that reason] a lot of vendors these days will be involved in any kind of major [network] design, and any recommendation they make
is going to be an approved design.
The number one thing you want to hear when you call a vendor support line is, "Ah yes, that's our standard design. Let me help you right away," and not, "You did what? Let me see if I can get permission from my manager to see if I can replicate that in my lab and see what's wrong."
Some [network design] problems I've seen are:
- Complex routing structures where routing protocols are translated from one to another and then back again.
- Ad hoc solutions to get connectivity to some distant part of the building.
- Gateways between different protocols because there was a political issue in the company and they couldn't decide on just one, so they decide to support both protocols and have some kind of translator.
- Using PCs as routers.
This was first published in March 2008