Six tips you should know before buying switches

Switch power buy

When our customers are deciding which type of switch is right for them we help them weigh a variety of factors. Careful planning before buying a switch can save you money.

Here are the key things to consider:

1. Number of ports

The number of ports is one of the biggest factors to consider. You will save money if you buy a switch that only supports the number of users that you employ today but keep in mind about your future growth plans.

An Ethernet switch usually has 5, 8, 10, 24, or 48 ports. Don’t forget to allow for any uplink port(s) which you can use to connect one switch to another piece of networking equipment.

For a small network (up to 40 users) one switch might be sufficient, but if you run a large network you may have to invest in additional switches.

2. Speed

Does your network need to be fast with low latency? Do you need to transfer large volumes of data between devices? Performance demands on your switch will help you decide the type of switch that is right for you. Gigabit Ethernet is very common these days and for bigger networks you might consider 10GbE or more.

If you are building a large network you may have one or more switches acting as a “core” — these switches will need to be fast and handle a fairly heavy traffic load. Usually, a high performance switch will work for a core switch. Access switches, where the individual users connect, will probably be slower than a core switch.

3. Routing requirements

Does your switch need to perform as a router as well? And if so, does it need to act as a dynamic router or static? Your routing requirements will usually dictate what series or line you need and they can affect pricing dramatically.

4. Power over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices are powered by the Ethernet network and do not require a separate power source. Many switches will not support full PoE/PoE+ on all ports so be careful to select the right configuration for your needs. For areas with high-power needs for VoIP phones or wireless access points make sure you evaluate the maximum power draw per device and the estimated number of devices.

5. Management

Unmanaged switches have no control panel but managed switches have one or more methods to modify the operation of the switch. The more you pay the more management options are available. On a larger network ideally you should find a switch solution that can be managed within the framework of your existing tools. Consider other switches and networking equipment that are already in use and if these systems are already managed and understood by the technical staff then find a comparable platform.

6. Warranty

The base warranty offered by the manufacturer is usually a reflection of the quality of the product. Ideally you want a lifetime warranty but 3-year warranty would be a minimum requirement. If the switch is mission-critical to your network then look for 24×7 support and fast replacement of faulty units.

Want to find out which switch is best for your business? Please give us a call at 1300 732 810.

back to top

Five reasons for virtualising your servers

virtual server

Moving to a virtualised environment can reduce your costs, make your business services more agile and give you faster access to resources when you need them. But virtualisation is not for everyone.

Here are 5 reasons to virtualise and 2 reasons not to virtualise:
1. Reduced total cost of ownership

In a virtualised (IaaS) environment you are no longer paying for hardware upfront so your capital expenditure costs are immediately reduced. Additionally, when you virtualise you reduce power draw and cooling requirements in your datacentre. In short, you need fewer resources to run your servers and this means lower costs.

2. Flexibility

Virtual environments give you the capability to run multiple operating systems on the same hardware which means you can extend the life of legacy applications without maintaining ageing hardware.

3. Continuity

So long as you have the right backup hardware technology you can recover from a disaster in a fraction of the time thanks to Virtual Machine snapshots. If an instance fails you simply kill it and load the latest “safe” snapshot.

Automation options are available and there are advanced options that allow you to redeploy a server on another host machine without sacrificing downtime. Development and test environments can be cloned identically from live environments at the push of a button, allowing you to test without buying extra hardware or interfering with production.

4. Scaling

Virtualisation makes it quick and easy to scale your resources up or down. For example, you can increase the processing power and memory available to an individual server simply by allocating more resources to it. There’s no need to physically add extra RAM or CPU components, as you would with a physical server. This means your business can respond in real time to operational needs and if your Cloud infrastructure is capable of “spawning new instances” to cope with demand then you only pay for the processing power and bandwidth that you actually need.

5. Automation

Provisioning a new server, automating failover and scaling resources is very simple when you use the latest virtualisation control panels. The majority of maintenance tasks can be managed through the console and set up to run by themselves, across any number of instances.

2 reasons NOT to virtualise
1. You are not ready for it

If you run a small business or a relatively simple server environment then you may not need to virtualise. Server virtualisation can save you money, but to do it properly will cost you money, too. There is no point going in to a virtualisation project if you can’t pay for the tools and management systems required to support the technology.

2. Your licenses don’t allow it.

Some software licenses simply don’t allow them to be run on virtual machines. You don’t want to be doing anything that breaches your software license agreement so be sure to check your entitlements before you virtualise.

Want to understand how to virtualise your network? Drop us a line at helpdesk@businessworks.com.au.

back to top