The Cisco Best Practices Journey

We are going spend a lot of time together vetting out different configuration options, but before we get started with the configuration, which is the easy part, let’s cover a few design basics. Every successful implementation first starts with a solid plan. Throughout the various modular videos on demand (VODs) that I create and embed within technology relevant or module relevant blogs, we will consistently address the big picture "Why" (Architecture) that leads into our focus areas of the "How" (Design) and the "What" (Implementation).
It is critical that we reference best practices guidelines found in Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and other published Cisco best practices documentation in order to first begin with a solid foundation. A true understanding and use of this documentation will provide the necessary guiding principals and will act as a launchpad for eye opening discussion and healthy debate.

The days of working on an existing or new infrastructure without referencing or first creating the proper documentation are over. There is far too great of a reliance from the business on the network to perform consistently and flawlessly to risk unplanned downtime and poor performance resulting from not having invested the proper time for thorough preparation. Configuring a network without a plan doesn't scale and doesn't allow us to adequately consider all dependencies both current and future. Let's be clear, an idea in someones head doesn't equate to a plan. A proper plan is easy to execute upon, convenient to share with others and traditionally is documented in a blueprint like format. When focusing on the design and implementation phases associated with various modules of your infrastructure, consider how solution innovation, vendor relationships, partner project management and partner professional services can play a key role in executing on an agreed upon blueprint that is tried, true and tested.

With CVDs not everyone has to have an expert level certification to understand and implement Cisco best practices. This does not mean that one should forgo engaging a partner for professional services. Partner support services are a great value add to most projects as the experience and exposure of a partner's Engineering staff can't be substituted. I have personally seen countless times where experienced Field Engineers working in conjunction with the Customer Engineering staff were able to provide insight that ultimately led to avoidance of major stumbling blocks. It is important to note that these Engineers also have experience stabilizing the environment should things go wrong. In a worst case scenario, should successful deployment not be possible, these Engineers are expected to have developed the appropriate rollback strategy. It is simple, the more we do the same thing over and over again working with those that are more experienced than ourselves the more we learn and the easier it gets.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, but not all ways are created equal. As we design the infrastructure leveraging CVDs as a foundation, we will look to deliver solutions that empower us to realize the following design goals:
  • Ease of deployment 
  • Flexibility and scalability 
  • Resiliency and security 
  • Ease of management 
  • Ensuring that our deployments are advanced technology ready in order to prevent future redesign and to ensure maximum ROI

Let's take 4 minutes to learn more about Cisco Validated Designs and to understand what it means to 'Explore the New Frontier' together.

Stay tuned for upcoming CVD breakdown blogs. Until then, have fun, learn all you can and look for ways to pay it forward.

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1 comment:

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