Plan ahead!

on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 11:45:00 AM

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” Thanks Henry Ford for your wise words and the Ford Model T. This particular quote resonates on so many levels with our day to day activities. Do I have enough time to oversleep 10 minutes and still get ready and be at work on time? Is there enough room for me to park there? Will I have enough room in my belly for that last piece of pizza? All valid concerns, however in my line of business, an extremely important question we must ask ourselves is, “Do I have enough room in my rack or cabinet to upgrade?”

Too many times I’ve had a customer call in and say, “I bought this cabinet a few months back and we are now upgrading our network equipment so we need a deeper cabinet.” Seems relatively simple to handle, but now think about this. Imagine a call with the same issue, however the purchase made a few months ago was for a deployment of 300 cabinets…in 300 different locations. That is a much heftier situation to approach. Not only are you upgrading your servers, but you are changing out hundreds of cabinets and having to accommodate those various configurations - in addition to ensuring each one is done the same. But regardless of the number of cabinets you need to change out, in the end, you are still changing out existing cabinets with new cabinets. Be it one cabinet or 300, it is still money out your pocket and consumes a lot of time. Ouch.

But there are ways to help avoid the headache of switching out your entire network system. It’s simple – plan ahead! Whether you’re installing one cabinet or 300, planning ahead is key. Here’s just one way I like to plan ahead. First I channel some Zen and visualize the cabinet and its entire installation. This includes thinking about the dimensions of the server and of the other devices and components that will need to be installed. (And if visualizing isn’t your thing, you can certainly draw out this configuration. Which is probably a good idea regardless of how you plan ahead because if you’re like me, keeping track of all those specifications and placements in my head is a challenge in itself.)

Now that I have a well thought out (or drawn out) visual, I begin to look beyond the cabinet. Yes, I’m thinking outside the box – literally! So it’s time for that big question: Will I have enough space? Do I have enough room for that cabinet and its components or do I need to increase the size of my installation? Will this space accommodate the network solution suitable for me? It’s crucial to think about all these questions because down the road it may be tricky (or downright impossible) to add cabinet space. Sometimes expanding your network closet isn’t always feasible and that’s why it’s important to think ahead.

Even though planning for the future may be tricky as who knows what’s coming next, being prepared for change is better than being blindsided. And in the end, hopefully your advanced planning will help save you a hassle when it comes time to upgrade your network solution.