Things change at a rapid rate in the world of IT, and sometimes, it can be difficult to keep track of that shift. Whether it be a new system or the latest tech, the unpredictable nature of your IT infrastructure can often lead to frustration or panic. So, as you can imagine, it makes sense to run through the basics of such a practice from A to Z to really understand what’s happening.
Whether you’re an IT wizard or not, staying in the loop is important. Perhaps you’re looking for an MSP to take charge, or maybe you just want to keep an eye on the state of play. Whatever the case may be, we’re here to take you on a step-by-step guide to what to expect.
Don’t worry; we’ll make it as fun as we possibly can!
Why would you need an infrastructure upgrade?
Your infrastructure is a vital component in any given business. If it’s been updated and is of high quality, it’s the kind of foundation from which you can build upon. It allows you to hit your targets and complete your goals in an orderly fashion.
On the flip side, issues of any real description can lead you down the path of real disruption. Sometimes it’s simply the passage of time, but in other instances, something happens to necessitate change. In the following entries, we’re going to run through some of the most critical reasons why things may need to be converted.
1. Old computers
“When your legs don’t work like they used to before.” They are, in essence, simple lyrics from a song created by Ed Sheeran - but in reality, there’s a lot of truth to that. In business, as is the case in life, the equipment can change, and things evolve. There are several sectors in which that’s true, but arguably none more so than with your computer.
When your new computer was new, it was fast, reliable, and helped enhance your productivity. Fast forward a few years, and that computer doesn’t work like it used to. This is common in the lifecycle of a computer as there is a constant cat-and-mouse game between the capability of the computer hardware and the advancements of the software you are running. No doubt, the latest and greatest software can supercharge you and your team’s productivity and performance, but the underlying hardware has to stay up to the task! Most commonly, Velo recommends a 3-4 year lifecycle on laptops and desktops as after this much time has passed - your computer is starting to hinder performance rather than enhance it.
2. Crashing servers
Sometimes you might begin to experience inconsistent performance; other times, the systems just aren’t running quickly enough. That can lead you down the path of everything seemingly falling apart at once, and that’s the last thing you need. Between compatible hardware and something that runs smoothly, one answer can often be: sort out your servers.
With the aforementioned problems in play, you’ll probably be getting a lot of server outages. That could be due to corrupt disks or data, hardware faults, out-of-date software, or maybe even malware troubles. It all sounds a bit daunting on the face of it, but it can be the catalyst behind you finally stepping things up in your operations.
3. Not enough storage
We all get the email or text from time to time that we dread - very little storage remains on your device. That can be even more troublesome in the IT world, especially if you’re trying to run a seamless business without any hiccups. In association with the former issues we’ve raised, a lack of storage can directly lead to a server crashing or even data loss.
You simply can't save important documents if you don’t have enough storage. From there, you might lose out on further work, you could come across as incompetent, or your working day can go on for an hour or two longer than intended. With the help of a company that provides managed IT services, you may not have to deal with that kind of adversity for long. Maybe upgrading your servers or even a migration to the cloud is in order!
The best steps for an infrastructure upgrade
If things start to look a bit spaghetti-tangled, you need to get to the root of the cause first and foremost. A full IT infrastructure plan doesn’t simply grow on a tree, and it’s not something that tends to come to fruition overnight. That may seem a little bit frustrating, but in equal measure, you also want the job done right.
At Velo, we function in a specific way that allows us to maximize our time in a manner that best suits our clientele. Instead of working purely for speed, we want to put together a proposal that is as in-depth as it is effective. That said, we will run through a few key steps on the road to your IT infrastructure upgrade.
1. Establish your business requirements
What’s the very first thing you need to do? Simple: put your cards on the table. If you want to get the best results imaginable out of this project, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve. Examine your business model and strategy from every angle imaginable, with the best way being to sort through the numbers.
Talk with the team performing your IT upgrade and look at the size of your operation and how many individuals make up your team. Work together to determine how many printers, laptops, and desktops will be needed. Discuss your expectations regarding WiFi availability for your facility and visitors to your facility. Be sure to discuss how much growth you will expect in the months and years ahead.
When your IT plan is aligned with the business requirements and vision, everything gets a lot easier. To accommodate your planned growth, you’ll get servers with extra storage, network equipment with plenty of available capacity, and several spare laptops and desktops as required.
2. Define the technical requirements
Once you take a look at your business requirements, move on to the technical side of the game. It can often help to look through this with an MSP, given that the provider will be able to strip everything back and really get into the nitty-gritty of what you’re looking for. It’s all about evaluating the pros and cons and understanding what it is that needs to be improved.
What equipment can be utilized in the new environment you’re trying to create? What applications will be hosted on servers, what will take advantage of the cloud, and what is the criticality of each system? How much bandwidth will you need? This is all about research and picking through the haystack because while it may not seem glamorous, you’ll be grateful for it in the long run.
3. Network diagram & rack elevation plan
When signing off on an IT infrastructure upgrade, you first need to work through a network diagram and elevation plan. Some see this as overkill for smaller companies, but we disagree. You need to have organization above everything else, making sure it’s easy to maintain and work through when the rubber meets the road - whether you are growing or just experiencing ordinary hardware upgrades. These things can be managed more quickly and easily with a well-documented network map in hand.
Alongside that, we’d argue that quality of service parameters need to be set on the network. As we’ve alluded to, you need to be ready to go in times of crisis, especially if something like a power outage occurs. Battery backups are always great to keep in mind, as well as thinking about the desired VLANs that would be needed to support the segmentation of the wireless network for those using it.
4. Can you use what you have?
They say that new is always better, but that isn’t always the case in some instances. It’s kind of like having an old phone that may not be as trendy but still gets the job done - it’s silly from the outside looking in, but so long as it’s functioning and can do so at a high rate, what’s the harm?
Of course, this is a bit more in-depth than that. If you need a small slice of downtime to sort through everything that’s currently in your system, it’ll prevent numerous headaches in the future. So, for those who have older cables hanging around the office, don’t fear - as we can get a cabling crew to re-run cables and run new cables in a jiffy.
5. Labeling procedures
The Telecommunications Industry Association is over 100 years old, and in that time, they’ve done a pretty solid job of working out the dos and don’ts of structured cabling. Sticking to the standards they’ve set out might seem expensive, but the cost is quite low.
A documented system is the best way to label everything in your office, especially if you want to avoid time-consuming troubleshooting farther down the road. Yes, it may seem mind-numbing, but it’s useful if you want to stay out of trouble (which we all do) and untangle the web of mess that may exist.
Need help with an infrastructure upgrade? Contact Velo
Is your IT closet starting to look a little bit scary? If the answer is yes, then Velo may have all the answers you need. We have an array of experience when it comes to IT infrastructure updates, from an initial consultation all the way through to a full guide. Our aim and intention are to provide you with the best assistance you could possibly have, especially if you don’t even know where to start.
We strive to deliver quality IT solutions that drive innovation and growth. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting up or ten years into the journey because, at Velo, we’re happy to help no matter the problem.
We manage IT services across four pillars: support, security, strength, and strategy. If you believe we can help, feel free to get in touch!