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What is network optimization

What is Network Optimization | June 12th, 2020

Network optimization encompasses the complete set of technologies and strategies a business deploys to improve its network domain functionality. Network and network domain refer to your organization’s set of hardware devices, plus the software and supportive technology allowing those devices to connect and communicate with one another.

One of the primary goals of network optimization is to provide the best possible network experience for users. We’ll cover the areas where organizations can begin to improve these connections — and what they stand to benefit from even small boosts in network optimization.

Why Is Network Optimization Important?

Network optimization works to enhance the speed, security and reliability of your company’s IT ecosystem. Improving that ecosystem seems intuitive in theory, yet it is challenging to master.

Strains on networks continue to grow due to the following factors: 

  • More devices are being brought into the workplace.
  • More cybersecurity threats are maturing.
  • More software applications are being used.
  • More data is collected, aggregated and shared — often simultaneously.
  • More teams are going remote.
  • More external entities require access to your networks.

The result? Your in-office and remote employees, as well as your customers and clients, are unable to use relevant software, share documents, send messages and emails, access data, browse your domain, make purchases or read your company blog from any digital device.

In short, network optimization is essential for business activities that require 24/7 access and real-time usage of digital technology. 

How to Measure Network Optimization Strategies

IT teams use several key metrics to track a successful optimization scheme. These metrics are most effective when viewed together to provide a holistic picture of your network’s strengths and weaknesses. Consult our guide here for deeper network monitoring and analytics to track.

1. Traffic Usage

Traffic usage, or utilization, displays which parts of your network are the busiest and which tend to stay idle. Utilization also gauges the times when “peak” traffic occurs. To measure these differing streams of network traffic, IT teams calculate a ratio between current network traffic and the peak amounts networks are supposed to handle, represented as a percentage.

By tracking these usage percentages and peaks, your team can better understand what networks see the most usage internally from office employees and externally from customers and prospects. This information allows you to prioritize updates and security layers according to what is best for the network.

2. Latency

Latency refers to delays in network devices communicating with one another. In IT, these communication streams are known as “packets” and come in two forms: one-way or round trip.

Both one-way and round-trip packets allow data to be exchanged across a network, which is at the core of all functioning network connections. Frequent latency suggests traffic and bandwidth congestion may be slowing everything from webpage loading speed to VoIP calls.

network optimization helps with latency

3. Availability vs. Downtime

A network’s availability metrics reveal how often particular hardware or software functions as it should. For example, businesses can track the availability scores of everything from SD-WANs and servers to specific business apps or websites.

Many IT network ecosystems aim for the goal of availability in five nines, which is an industry term for functioning properly 99.999% of the time. It’s debated whether five nines availability is possible, as it encompasses less than 30 seconds of total downtime a month. Regardless, the high goal sets a gold standard for availability that keeps your network running reliably.

4. Network Jitter

Network jitter rates reveal how often data packets get interrupted. Properly optimized networks have minimal jitter, meaning data deliveries between devices are efficient, quick and coherent. High jitter likely means network routers are overburdened and cannot properly handle incoming and outgoing data packets.

5. Packet Loss

Packet loss happens when data packets fail to reach their target endpoint on your network. Similar to network jitter, frequent instances of packet loss disrupt some of your most basic business functions, such as sending file attachments, conducting video calls or giving wireless presentations.

The Benefits of Network Optimization

Improving your network ensures your company’s technology operates to the best of its abilities. With a high-functioning network in place, you open your organization up to the following advantages across its full tech ecosystem:

  • Improved productivity: Employees have a higher capacity for productivity as they are liberated from the headaches of slow software or frequent downtime.
  • Faster network speed: Optimization makes the entire ecosystem more interconnected and equipped to send and receive data packets quicker.
  • Heightened security: Network optimization can ensure your applications offer improved, around-the-clock network visibility.
  • More reliability: With optimization, your network can handle the ever-increasing amount and complexity of data that is pivotal to daily operations.
  • Bolstered disaster recovery: In the event of physical damage to your hardware or cyberattacks, network optimization can help prevent data mismanagement or employee accidents.
  • Boosted customer experience: By improving the speed, navigability and functionality of your website, you can further encourage customer interactions and purchases.

Overall, the above advantages may result in a reduced need to purchase expensive hardware and software that turns obsolete within a few years.

benefits of network optimization

How to Improve Network Performance

The ideal network optimization scheme avoids overhauling your company’s existing set of hardware and software. Instead, it uses the lowest-cost methods to ensure better data flow via uninhibited traffic, often by tweakinnetwork maintenance and upkeep best practices.

There are a few network optimization strategies to improve network performance with maintenance practices you likely already support, including:

  • Data caching for a more flexible means of data storage and retrieval.
  • Traffic shaping to maximize the speed and access to your highest-traffic network infrastructure.
  • Prioritizing SD-WAN over WAN, further improving traffic shaping and supporting the most business-critical pieces of your network. 
  • Eliminating redundant data clogging network memory.
  • Data compressing to further eliminate redundant data and encourage more efficient data packet transfers. 
  • Router buffer tuning to minimize packet loss and direct smoother data transmissions. 
  • Data protocol streamlining, which bundles data and improves quality of service (QoS) across your network applications.
  • Application delivery suites that enhance how you see and track traffic across your network and control the flow and priorities of that traffic. 
  • Deploying flow visualization analytic software for 24/7 network monitoring.

Migrating from legacy architecture to cloud-based networks is likely the only major step in optimizing your network that may require new software.

Achieve Your Network Optimization Goals With Worldwide Services

A well-oiled network is at the heart of a high-functioning organization. Without optimizing your network, your business risks issues at every point in its IT ecosystem — from poor Wi-Fi connections and congested data storage to remote employees being unable to access software to perform their work.

Leverage your resources by partnering with a premier network-management service. Worldwide Services’ Network Monitoring and Infrastructure Support suite delivers: 

  • Incident management
  • Event monitoring and management
  • Reactive circuit support
  • Service request support
  • And many more network services

Request a quote today to maximize your network while experiencing cost savings.

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how network monitoring works

How Network Monitoring Works | September 04th, 2019

Network monitoring is a vital IT function for the corporate world. From employee productivity to infrastructure maintenance, network monitoring can help businesses save costs in all corners of their corporate structure. While network monitoring is gaining popularity, however, many potential adopters are left wondering what exactly this technology is and how it can help them. If you’re looking for basic information on how network monitoring works, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is Network Monitoring?

In order to know how network monitoring works, it is important to know the significance of a network to an organization. Networks are the lifeblood of any modern corporation, and slowdowns and breaches are costly. Monitoring is the practice of watching the internal network as a whole, including devices, traffic and servers. This helps identify and address potential problems as they occur, preventing network issues. For nearly all businesses, this monitoring occurs with the help of software systems.

Network monitoring systems, at their most basic, are tools that help administrators monitor their networks more effectively. The specifics of the system, however, vary widely based on the company’s size and needs. The following are a few examples of how network monitoring systems vary:

  • Size and scale: Some network monitoring systems are simple, pinging hosts to check for availability. Some are even achieved using a patchwork of various software and hardware in tandem. More advanced systems, on the other hand, monitor all areas of even the most complex networks with a single comprehensive system.
  • Ease of use: Interfaces vary wildly depending on the type and sophistication of the network monitoring system. While some offer only simple alerts and command-based interfaces, others may provide a graphical user interface to improve functionality. Many modern network monitoring tools have web-based and mobile-based interfaces.
  • Automation: Basic monitoring systems rely on an administrator to see results and act on them, but many companies are turning to automated systems that handle events themselves. These systems are designed to trigger events when network data falls outside set parameters, functionally eliminating the middle man and improving response time for network errors.

One important point to network monitoring systems is that they are not necessarily security systems. While network monitoring can serve as a helpful tool to protect against network gaps and slowdowns that could lead to a breach, network monitoring systems are not intrusion detection systems or intrusion prevention systems. While these other systems detect and prevent unauthorized access, network monitoring systems let you know how well the system is running during regular operations.

What Does Network Monitoring Watch?

Choosing what to monitor with network monitoring

Choosing what to monitor with a network monitoring software is just as important as deciding to implement one in your business. You can use network monitoring to track a variety of areas in a network, but monitoring usually focuses on the following four areas:

  • Bandwidth use: Monitoring network traffic, how much bandwidth your company uses and how effectively it’s used helps ensure that everything runs smoothly. Devices or programs that hog your bandwidth may need to be replaced.
  • Application performance: Applications running on your network need to function properly, and network monitoring systems can test to be sure that they do. Network monitoring systems can test the response time and availability of network-based databases, virtual machines, cloud services and more to be certain that they are not slowing down your network.
  • Server performance: Email servers, web servers, DNS Servers and more are the crux of many functions in your business, so it’s essential to test the uptime, reliability and consistency of each server.
  • Network configuration: Network monitoring systems can supervise many kinds of devices, including cell phones, desktops and servers. Some systems include automatic discovery, which allows them to log and track devices continuously as they are added, changed or removed. These tools can also segregate devices according to their type, service, IP address or physical location, which helps keep the network map updated and helps plan for future growth.

Monitoring isn’t limited to any single type of network. Any network of any level of complexity can be monitored with a sufficient network monitoring system. Some of the most common network types include wireless or wired, corporate LAN, VPN and service provider WAN. Voice over internet protocol (VoIP), video on demand (VOD) and internet protocol TV (IPTV) are also common additions to modern networks that can add complexity to network monitoring. With monitoring, however, managers can allocate resources properly regardless of all the complexities of their network.

How Does Network Monitoring Work?

Network monitoring uses a variety of techniques to test the availability and functionality of the network. Some of the more common general techniques used to collect data for monitoring software are listed below:

  • Ping: A ping is one of the most basic techniques that monitoring software uses to test hosts within a network. The monitoring system sends out a signal and records data such as whether the signal was received, how long it took the host to receive the signal, whether any signal data was lost and more. The data is then used to determine whether the host is active, how efficient the host is, the transmission time and packet loss experienced when communicating with the host and other information.
  • SNMP: Simple network management protocol (SNMP) monitors individual devices in a network through monitoring software. In this system, each monitored device has monitoring software installed that sends information about the device’s performance to a central SNMP manager. The manager collects this information in a database and analyzes it for errors. This is the most widely used protocol for modern network management systems.
  • Syslog: Syslog is an automated messaging system that sends messages when an event affects a network device. Technicians can set up devices to send out messages when the device encounters an error, shuts down unexpectedly, encounters a configuration failure and more. These messages often contain information that can be used for system management as well as security systems.
  • Scripts: In networks with gaps in network monitoring software functionality, scripts may be used to fill small gaps. Scripts are simple programs that collect basic information and instruct the network to perform an action within certain conditions. A common example would be a scheduled task like resetting and reconfiguring a public access computer every night. Scripts can also be used to collect data for network monitoring.

Once this data is collected, the network monitoring software sends out an alert if results don’t fall within certain thresholds. Network managers will usually set these thresholds of acceptable performance, programming the network software to send out an alert if its data indicates slow throughput, high error rates, unavailable devices or slow response times.

Collect data for monitoring software

As soon as the alert is sent out, one of two things may happen. If the system is a manual system, the network administrator will analyze the data and handle the error themselves. An increasing number of network monitoring systems, however, come equipped with some level of automation. In these cases, low-level errors may be automatically fixed by the network monitoring software, while high-level problems are brought to the attention of the network administrator.

Why Do You Need Network Monitoring?

Many corporations are skeptical of network monitoring. If your company’s network is running well, you may wonder if your business needs network monitoring at all. After all, it’s just one more thing for your network managers to keep track of. However, just because your current system works doesn’t mean that it’s working as well as it could be.

Network monitoring is all about optimizing and maintaining your network’s health. While the main goal is to make sure that your network is running, network monitoring can be an excellent way of improving your network performance. Below are just a few examples of what network monitoring can do for your business:

  • Receive immediate alerts: While traditional systems may require an administrator to log in and manually run checks in order to see any network errors, network management systems can send out alerts as soon as an error occurs. This way, downtime is minimized and network errors are addressed as promptly as possible.
  • Target patterns: Network monitoring systems are excellent at identifying patterns of performance. For example, they can help pinpoint specific groups of equipment that are underperforming so that network administrators can determine the cause and propose an effective solution.
  • Identify weak links: Network monitoring can alert administrators to the presence of overloaded equipment or weak WAN links before they become problems, allowing administrators to adjust the network configuration as needed to decrease the burden and eliminate bottlenecks.
  • Pinpoint waste: Just like network monitoring can spot overuse of equipment, it can also help identify underused equipment that could be eliminated or used differently.
  • Minimize data loss: Error-prone networks can lose essential data for your business. From corrupted files to dropped mail sessions, these errors can severely impact your company’s productivity and efficacy. Network management can minimize this by identifying errors and their sources, allowing administrators to fix the problem.
  • Maintain compliance: Network monitoring systems compile a massive database of information that can be extremely useful for compliance purposes. Potential compliance problems can be identified quickly, and your database can provide extensive information to be used for compliance reports.

All of the factors listed above feed into a business’s profits. Companies save money by minimizing downtime and errors and avoiding compliance issues, but also gain a greater level of efficiency and productivity by ensuring that their networks are as fast and available as possible. Companies can make even better use of their hardware and software, minimizing unnecessary purchases and making the most of existing resources.

Companies save money by minimizing downtime and errors

How Do You Choose Network Monitoring Software?

If you’re ready to implement network monitoring in your business, consider these points when looking into network monitoring software:

  • What data it collects: Any network monitoring software should be compatible with your network and collect information from various elements within your network. Make sure that any software you choose will monitor the type of data that matters to your business and is compatible with the network types, servers and devices your business uses.
  • How it presents data: Any monitoring software must also process and present the data it collects in a way that can be used. User-friendly formats are essential to make the most of network monitoring. Look for monitoring software that offers configurable alert systems and presents relevant statistics in a way that your network administrators can easily understand and use.
  • How much support it offers: If you can’t effectively configure your network monitoring solution, you won’t experience the benefits of network monitoring. When possible, look for network monitoring software and services that offer excellent support services and, ideally, configuration and set up services.

Wherever you get your monitoring tools, it’s best to thoroughly check how well they will work with your operating systems and network.

What Are Some Network Monitoring Best Practices?

When it comes to implementing network monitoring, keep these essential best practices in mind:

  • Know your network: Be certain your network map is up to date. While some network monitoring software automatically tracks network changes, it is still essential for your team to track it themselves to ensure that all areas are covered. This map should include the types of networks that need monitoring, the servers and hardware involved, any remote devices and other factors. This awareness makes it easier to find an appropriate network monitoring solution and helps identify gaps and potential upgrade needs.
  • Establish baselines: You can’t accurately determine what is abnormal in your network without knowing what is normal. Check on your network regularly to determine your network’s baselines and reassess your alert thresholds.
  • Create alert plans: Network monitoring becomes a moot point when alerts don’t reach the right people. When setting up your network monitoring system, firmly establish who is in charge of different aspects of the network and set up systems to ensure that alerts go to the correct people. Additionally, create organizational policies pertaining to alerts — for example, if an alert occurs after hours, who handles it?
  • Reassess regularly: Companies and networks change constantly, and your network monitoring should change with it. Every time a major change occurs in staffing, network configuration, company policy or company structure, reassess your network, network monitoring system and all associated issues to verify that everything is covered.

This can be quite a lot to consider for companies that are new to network monitoring solutions. If your business needs assistance choosing and implementing a network monitoring solution, Worldwide Services can help.

Why Work With an Expert?

When you’re implementing a network monitoring solution for the first time, the task can be daunting. However, working with an expert can streamline the process — they can help you determine what your needs are, what to look for and how to get started. The best companies can even provide continuous support throughout your partnership.

If you’re looking for a network expert, Worldwide Services is here. Our certified engineers are available to help you with your configuration support and system design needs, and we offer 24/7 remote technical support programs for our clients. We even provide extensive spare and repair services for our international clients. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in the telecom industry and can ensure that your business benefits from the best the industry has to offer.

Contact Worldwide Services today to learn more about our products and services and how they can help you get up and running with network monitoring.

Contact Worldwide services for network monitoring solutions

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How Third-Party Maintenance Providers Help Your Business Make Better Decisions | July 05th, 2018

As a business owner, you know what an increasingly important role technology plays in your company’s success. Businesses of all sizes rely on network technologies to accomplish their most important functions. The day when a business could afford to ignore the Internet, smartphones or social media is far behind us.

You also keep a close eye on the bottom line, and you are more than aware of how expensive upgrading and maintaining your technology can be. You would like to spend more of your company’s budget on your network technology services, but that isn’t always possible.

For many businesses, big or small, the question they face increasingly is choosing between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or third-party maintenance (TPM) providers to maintain and service their networks. It’s an important question because how you make this decision will affect your upgrade schedule, your regular maintenance schedule, your ability to solve network problems quickly and efficiently and your company’s bottom line.

OEMs Versus TPMs

At first glance, choosing an OEM seems like a straightforward choice. If money is not a concern, then an OEM’s support team offers detailed knowledge and maintenance experience for the network solution you have chosen from them. An OEM will also offer you advice on when to upgrade your network.

Another apparent advantage to choosing an OEM is that they look to be reasonably priced when you first work with them. This reasonably priced model often lasts for the first few months of your contract with an OEM.

However, these apparent advantages can often vanish before you utilize the benefits.

OEMs’ support contracts tend to rise in price after those first few months. During those initial months, you may not even use the service. You’re more likely to need it as your equipment ages, and when prices are higher.

While OEMs would like for you to use their products for all your networking needs, the reality is most companies work with more than one OEM. You might contract with one company for your network security, another for your routers and switches and a third for your LAN equipment. That’s a lot of potentially high-priced maintenance contracts to keep on the books.

Then there’s the question of upgrading your technology. OEMs manufacture hardware, and it’s in their best interests for you to continue upgrading that hardware on their schedule. But most companies don’t need to upgrade as often as OEMs suggest. And not every piece of equipment needs to be upgraded at the same time. Top IT analyst firms, like Gartner and Forrester, have driven this point home recently in their research.

This is why TPMs are playing an increasingly important role in companies’ business decisions.

  • TPMs typically don’t make their own hardware. They are all about service. As a result, they can offer a much better price on a maintenance service plan.
  • Because you likely use products from various OEMs, using OEMs for service requires multiple contracts. A good TPM will be able to provide third-party network management and maintenance for all your hardware at a much lower price than you would pay for a separate contract with each OEM.
  • Companies once avoided TPMs because they were worried that they only had access to low-quality replacement parts. But that is not the case anymore. TPMs now have access to many of the same replacement parts that OEMs do. In fact, some OEMs use TPMs to get their replacement parts because they are less hindered by bureaucracy and other delays.

How to Make Better Business Decisions With TPMs

The growing importance of third-party maintenance providers means that businesses can make better and smarter decisions about the technologies they use. Previously, companies were only able to use solutions offered by OEMs. This meant they had no choice but to pay maintenance fees for all of the components of their network and upgrade them on the OEMs’ schedule. This business model did not give companies choice.

The emergence of TPMs means that companies now have a freedom that did not exist in the past.

  • Companies are no longer tied to OEMs for maintenance or upgrades.
  • Companies can now move at their own speed and make decisions that better reflect their needs.
  • Companies that work with TPMs, whether they hire them to support their entire network or select parts of it, report considerable cost savings.

Advantages of Third-Party Network Maintenance

Research shows that there are at least two conditions that should prompt you to explore using TPMs instead of OEMs.

  • Upgrading regularly is not a major concern. If you’re using technology that is two or three releases behind the most current one but is providing the services that you need, then using a TPM for maintenance makes a lot of sense.
  • Your software needs are all set for several years. If you know you’re not going to need new software for five to 10 years, then why commit yourself to an expensive OEM maintenance contract? Once again this is a situation where working with a TPM makes a lot of sense.

When you decide to use third-party maintenance providers for your business, you are giving your business several key advantages.

  • Save money: All businesses want to be successful and offer their customers and clients memorable service and products. At the same time, you need to keep an eye on your bottom line. Using a TPM is one way that you can do this. When TPMs customize and streamline your maintenance plans, you can reduce costs by 50 percent or more in many cases.
  • Be more efficient and flexible: Companies tend to use equipment from several different OEMs. This happens because of cost factors or because your IT staff prefers using a particular vendor for a particular need. Regardless, this can be expensive and can potentially cause problems. If some part of your network experiences problems, but you’re not sure from where the problem originates, you can spend a lot of time talking with a variety of OEM customer service people while you try to pinpoint the exact issue. Working with the TPM eliminates these issues because TPMs can service all the components of your network.
  • Innovate strategically: In the past when a business worked only with an OEM and a piece of hardware reached its end-of-life (EOL), the OEM encouraged you to replace that piece and many other pieces of the network to stay “current.” TPMs changed all that. When you work with a TPM, you can innovate strategically and selectively. It enables you to replace one piece of your network when it is needed and leave other pieces that are functioning well alone. TPMs enable you to innovate on your schedule and save money at the same time.
  • Keep your equipment in service for longer: If you already know you don’t need to upgrade regularly and you’re all set for your software needs for several years, why agree to an upgrade schedule determined by an outside provider? If your equipment is working well and services all your needs, there is no reason that you cannot keep using it for an extended lifespan. TPMs aren’t interested in selling you new hardware, only in keeping the hardware you have in good operating condition.
  • Find a maintenance plan that fits your business: OEMs lack flexibility. They charge a flat rate for specific services. If your problem falls outside the boundaries of those services, you will pay extra. Or, on the flipside of the coin, you end up paying for services that you never really need. Also, what you pay for maintenance service increases as your equipment ages. TPMs offer customization and let you create a plan that focuses on the exact services that you need.
  • Create an OEM-TPM network hybrid model: Sometimes you want to work with an OEM. Their upgrade schedule and maintenance service plan works best for a specific piece of technology. But other components of your network, like VoIP or firewalls, don’t need to be upgraded as often and don’t require an OEM maintenance service plan. What you need in this situation is a hybrid model. Hybrid models are a major development made possible by TPMs.
  • Freedom: The OEM business model requires them to constantly sell you new versions of hardware or software to remain profitable. This works for them, but it doesn’t always work for you. When you work with a TPM, the decision-making power remains in your hands. You decide when an upgrade is needed. You decide when a component of your network needs to be scheduled for maintenance.

How to Select the Right TPM Service Provider for Your Business Needs

Working with a third-party maintenance company is an integral part of determining how to make better IT decisions for your business. But you want to make sure you choose the right TPM. Not all TPMs are equal, so you’ll want to invest time in finding the perfect partner for your business.

  • It’s in the contractual details. When you negotiate a contract with a TPM to provide maintenance support, make sure that the agreement explicitly defines the responsibilities of the TPM. It should also include details about what costs are incurred if a problem escalates, whether the TPM needs an on-site office and what happens if the TPM can’t solve the problem.
  • Knowledge of a variety of hardware and software. Businesses didn’t work with TPMs because of the misconception that they were limited in their ability to deal with diverse sets of hardware and devices. This is just not true. However, before signing a contract with a TPM, ensure they have the skills and knowledge to work with the various components of your network. Remember, working with a TPM makes sense because they don’t make hardware. Instead, they’re all about service and maintenance. Make sure your TPM can deliver in that area.
  • How fast do they answer support calls? When you’re all about service, you should also be all about speed. One reason businesses move away from OEM maintenance service plans is the lag time between the original phone call and when the service takes place. Talk to other businesses currently using TPMs you are considering and ask about their response time.
  • Are they logistically capable? If you need to replace a component of your network, can your TPM do it with minimal downtime for your business? A good TPM works with large volumes, has strategically placed forward stocking locations (FSL) and has the necessary licenses to deliver replacement parts.
  • Do they give good advice? A good TPM not only provides third-party maintenance services but also acts as a kind of consultant for you on important matters related to your network. They can help you determine when it’s time to replace a network component, how much longer a part will function correctly and whether your maintenance schedule needs any changes or revisions. If you’re going to buy a new piece of hardware, they can help you choose the best option. A good TPM will have the knowledge and experience to help you with all of these decisions.

When choosing a third-party support provider, you shouldn’t gamble. A little research goes a long way and will help you find the partner that enables you to make the best decisions for your business.

Work With Worldwide Services for All Your Networking and Service Needs

Worldwide Services has the technical expertise and the broad experience to help you make better business decisions.

The over 14,000 businesses with which we partner recognize us as a premier networking equipment provider. We pride ourselves on providing superb customer service regardless of where our customers are located in the world.

Every aspect of what we do conforms to the highest industry standards. We have been certified to TL 9000 standards, and our IT quality management systems are the most comprehensive in the industry. At Worldwide Services, we care deeply about quality and providing our clients with the best customer service.

Contact us today for a consultation or a quote. We look forward to working with you.

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What Is Spares Management? | November 30th, 2017

Worldwide Services offers a robust spares optimization and management system designed to keep your operations running smoothly. It’s an easy and affordable way for you to have the right equipment at the right time to avoid downtime.

But what is spares management, exactly?

A spares management process is a system between a company and a spare parts supplier to provide a direct way to inventory and ship spares before you need them. From computer and server parts to bolts, fasteners and even swipe cards, spares optimization and management is an effortless way for you to never to have to wait days for a part after something breaks or is lost.

For us, it’s about knowing what you have and what you need, plus understanding what you should have on-hand versus what to order as needed due to cost, use, geography or other restrictions.

Benefits of a Spares Management Plan

Spares management systems combine a look at your hardware with a software support tool that can help you share information on your operations and what you need. By working together, we can generate a list of common spare parts you may need plus create an understanding of what tends to fail together, from server blades and racks to microwave systems and certain antennas.

Here are some benefits of spare parts management and what a plan can do for your operations:

  • Allows you to keep spare inventory levels low, reducing carrying and storage costs but providing access to spare parts when needed.
  • Better service to your customers. The longer your operations are up and running, the better you’re able to deliver the services and support your customers demand.
  • Enhanced part visibility so your supply chain can show where the need is and where the parts are headed.
  • Improved equipment uptime as you limit how long equipment is down and don’t have to wait to generate revenue or find a funding source to repair a part when it breaks.
  • Quicker repairs and replacements for defective parts, plus assistance with larger failures.

An in-house system can help you achieve many of these benefits, but it will ultimately fall short because it is limited to your knowledge of your equipment. A third-party service can assist you with knowledge about industry-wide trends — such as knowing that servers of a certain type tend to have a specific failure after three years and you need to have a specific replacement part before your model turns three.

Outside partners also have access to a much wider inventory than your team does because they’re serving a wide array of customers. So you get the benefit of an extensive warehouse with the latest and greatest parts — often at cheaper rates than an OEM provides — but you only need to purchase once you have an actual need.

So, by turning to a third-party spares optimization and management service partner, you can run a tighter ship. However, there’s really only one choice if you want to run the tightest and most affordable ship.

Worldwide Services Spares Management System

Beyond the benefits stated above, Worldwide Services can offer you a few advantages designed to keep your network secure and limit any budgetary impact due to part failures or excessive repair downtime.

How do we do it?

We have a spare parts management system to assist with the acquisition, storage, sending and use of spare parts, while freeing up capital to limit unnecessary purchases. Our customers consistently see a cost savings benefit of between 40 and 60 percent on total capital and operating expenditures.

Our solution supports multiple vendors with same or next-day replacement parts, with a presence in more than 79 countries. Our supply chain can ensure you have parts that are commonly replaced always on-hand and can get custom solutions and specialty parts to you as quickly as possible.

Turn to us for a spares management process that allows you to spend money only when you need to and always have the parts you demand, without wasting revenue or increasing downtime when something breaks. Plus, we’re here to help with a wide range of network supplies from leading OEMs of the past and present decades as well as expert managed services. Request a Spares Management quote today to keep your operations running at top performance.

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Why Your Network Needs Maintenance | August 10th, 2017

Networks need maintenance because they are the lifeblood of your services and operations, and running with a malfunction or improper settings can lead to downtime and damaged equipment.

The more work you do to protect and maintain your servers, routers, switches, cabinets, racks, cables and other equipment, the greater your likelihood of mitigating or minimizing downtime. You’ll be happy to learn that maintenance best practices are also efficiency best practices because you’re continually monitoring your network for the chance to improve it.

Server maintenance includes a variety of preventative steps that vary based on your specific server, but will typically need to include reviews for security risks, testing of backup protocols, reviews of backup power supplies, tests of internal monitoring operations, routing and IP control reviews, and a physical check of the hardware to look for damage, dust or debris.

Many of these utilities will come with your server’s hardware package, but it’s smart to also look for external tools to help ensure everything is running properly.

Are There Tips to Minimizing Server Downtime?

Right now, you’re probably wondering how to minimize network downtime and reduce the overall risk of network outages. We’ve put together some of the biggest tips and techniques to help you do just that, covering hardware, software and installation space.

Run Your Web Tier as an Isolated Process

To have the most stable server and protect its overall performance, we recommend web tiers always be run as an isolated process. This will reduce the likelihood of a crash because a web tier failure won’t harm ISAPI DLLs — or vice versa when things go wrong with another tier.

Keep Everything Chilly

One of the best ways to reduce network outages is to monitor your server and network locations with regular physical checks. This equipment all becomes very delicate when things get warm, so you need a very cold environment. This is especially true for small and mid-sized business servers because they typically have minimal extra space.

Physical space is important beyond overall temperature. Your server racks need significant room around them to create airflow so they benefit from the air. Typical best practices include high ceilings, strong HVAC systems, a lack of clutter, clean cables and power backups for cooling systems as well as servers.

Try Active-Active Architecture

Today, your vendor will likely recommend active-active or active-passive clustering to minimize your downtime. Look for someone who pushes active-active deployments.

In recent memory, active-passive clustering was a viable solution because of older deployments, needs and demands. However, the architecture won’t keep up today for most businesses. Active-active clustering environments can respond to increased demand and have a more significant ability to manage and keep data and communications.

This architecture provides more reliable uptime for core systems and can lower your overall risk for damage or downtime.

Audit It Yourself

It is very easy to generate system audits on your server and equipment to make sure things are running properly. However, any professional who knows how to reduce network outages will tell you that, sometimes, those automated reports miss the big picture.

Have your team perform process audits so they’re looking at the equipment and how it’s being utilized. You might just find something that saves time operationally and reduces the load on your servers, helping them last longer with improved uptime.

Employ Managed Switches

Redundancy is a clarion call for all server farms and company systems — it’s the most reliable method for minimizing network downtime. Creating redundancy and implementing required protocols is at the heart of this, but it needs the right technology to be useful: managed switches.

Managed switches generate network visibility with the link-loss-learn capability to make it easier for your team to avoid or recover from link faults and failures. By immediately repairing and routing around issues, you’re less likely to experience downtime.

Stay Vigilant

Our final suggestion on how to reduce network outages and how to maintain a network efficiently is to consistently monitor your network — both with people and automated systems.

Sometimes, you won’t be able to stop an outage. It’ll happen due to natural disasters, a plug that gets pulled out when someone trips over it or when a hacker decides to make you their target. Vigilance is the right path to keep everything secure.

Vigilance also helps you determine when parts of your network need to be replaced or repaired. Pairing that with a comprehensive coverage and repair platform that isn’t limited by OEMs or parts makers will ensure that your network stays up longer and bounces back faster if something ever goes wrong. Be proactive and preventative with a robust maintenance package.

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