One of the coolest things that Cisco has done recently is the development of its Smart Business Architecture (SBA) for Mid-Sized Networks. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the development of and continued updating of the Cisco SBA so I thought I'd take a few minutes to write about my thoughts on the subject.
Back in the old days, building networks was a lot simpler. You could just call up your buddy at Cisco or your local VAR and tell them you needed some routers and switches and firewalls and the primary variables were the number of ports and the interface types and they'd build you a quote and you'd be on your way. Nowadays, things are a lot more complicated. The diversity of available gear, feature-sets, and configurations available today is mind boggling. Don't get me wrong - I love technology and the more the better - but at some point the number of choices available makes it hard to know which gear is right for your scenario even if you've already decided which vendor to buy from.
In addition, the complex requirements of today's networks can make for some pretty interesting configurations. You have to know which gear combinations work well together and you have to know how to configure them to talk to each other. Then you throw in QoS, security policies, and VoIP next thing you know you're browsing YouTube hoping some geek with a video camera can lead you to salvation.
The Cisco SBA was designed to solve these problems. SBA provides recommended hardware selections and combinations, network designs, and even includes recommended configuration templates. It makes the process of acquiring gear, designing the network, and configuring everything to work together way, way easier.
The Cisco SBA also includes a supplement on network management and monitoring that guides you through configuring your devices for management and implementing SolarWinds Orion to monitor the network.
If you haven't had a chance to checkout the Cisco SBA I highly suggest that you do. You can read more about it here. It's one of the coolest things to come out of Cisco lately and in many cases it can significantly simplify a sometimes tedious and confusing process
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