Advanced Infrastructure

Network Strategy and Roadmap

Organizations today rely heavily on their IT infrastructure for day-to-day communications and business transactions. Having a solid strategy for optimizing that infrastructure, refreshing old technology, and integrating next generation solutions is crucial for cost control and maintaining a competitive advantage. Yet many enterprises lack the resources or expertise to develop such a strategy. The AT&T Consulting Strategy and Roadmap services enable organizations to establish a go-forward plan with the confidence that the solution approach is the best fit for the business. Our work scope is custom-tailored to the needs of your organization, mapping specific technology solutions to business objectives. Key activities and outputs include: capture of business and technology requirements, analysis of alternative technology solutions and recommendations on optimized solutions, as well as tactical and strategic tasks required to meet the desired future state. Technology areas of focus include DC virtualization/high availability solutions, WAN and MAN solutions (MPLS VPN, Ethernet, VPLS, DWD, SONET), LAN solutions (LAN Routing/Switching), Optimization solutions (QoS, load balancing, WAN Acceleration) and IPv6.

MPLS Architecture and Engineering

MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) networks are becoming the de-facto standard for interconnecting remote sites and data centers across the globe. Many customers are transitioning to IP-based MPLS services from traditional frame, ATM and private line technologies. MPLS represents a unique interconnection technology that relies on IP routing techniques, not circuit connectivity between sites, , to enable connectivity and application service delivery. This capability coupled with QoS capabilities in the cloud allows customers to effectively flatten and consolidate their networks, and to deliver voice and video services more reliably and cost effectively than ever before. Because MPLS relies on IP rather than circuit connectivity, it is access agnostic, meaning that an Ethernet access circuit at a branch location will allow users to connect to their Data Center applications served over SONET/Frame/ATM access. This puts a premium on the design of the WAN environment to leverage IP routing protocols to control traffic flows and ensure survivability and load sharing. With the constant flux in the enterprise application portfolio and increasing demands on the network, IT can be challenged by the dynamic set of requirements driving their WAN architecture. In addition to changes in the WAN design, developing a real-world MPLS migration plan requires significant experience in large scale transition planning. AT&T Consulting has significant expertise in the design of the future target state architecture that leverages IP routing, QoS and multicast as well as experience in planning the transition from legacy circuit-based WANs to IP-based WANs.

LAN/WAN Architecture and Engineering

The architecture, design/engineering and integration of a robust LAN and WAN environments is the cornerstone for effective application service delivery in today’s enterprise environments. The proliferation of bandwidth hungry applications, peer to peer applications and the constant requirement for availability and survivability in these areas of the network have put a tremendous strain on IT. These factors coupled with multiple vendors offering emerging voice and video technology makes it difficult, if not impossible to keep the LAN and WAN environments refreshed, up to date, and ahead of the demands of the business. AT&T Consulting can work with customers to develop an optimized, cost effective solution architecture and provide a structured approach to seamlessly integrate the solution. AT&T Consulting follows a standard, proven approach to design and integration that includes the following activities: identification of touch points within the current environment, creation of configuration standards, development of test plans (network and end user), development of integration and migration plans and process for turning over to the operational environment. As-built documentation and knowledge transfer are key deliverables. Design and integration areas of focus include DC virtualization/high availability solutions, WAN and MAN solutions (MPLS VPN, Ethernet, VPLS, DWD, SONET), LAN solutions (LAN Routing/Switching), Optimization solutions (QoS, load balancing, WAN Acceleration) and IPv6.

Network Assessment

Networks can grow or change exponentially due to mergers and acquisitions, services expansion, geographic expansion, new technology introduction or divestitures. Many times these modifications are made to meet the business demand and do not provide adequate time to fully develop a life cycle strategy for optimized solution deployment. Over time this can lead to non-standard, multi-vendor environments that are poorly designed, difficult to manage and maintain, and result in unnecessary costs. Worse, this complex state can lead to suboptimal delivery of application services. AT&T Consulting provides network assessment services to analyze the network against best practices. Typical outputs include recommendations for enhancing scalability, manageability, availability and performance. AT&T Consultants bring to bear expertise and lessons learned from hundreds of assessments delivered to customers worldwide each year. This offering spans all internetworking aspects of the infrastructure DC virtualization/high availability solutions, WAN and MAN solutions (MPLS VPN, Ethernet, VPLS, DWD, SONET), LAN solutions (LAN Routing/Switching), Optimization solutions (QoS, load balancing, WAN Acceleration) and IPv6.

Network Application Assurance

Application services are the lifeblood of the enterprise. Whether they are enterprise applications such as SAP, Citrix, HTTP and FTP, or voice and video applications such as VoIP, Telepresence, OCS and video conferencing, the ability for the network to support the performance and availability of these applications is vital to business operations. AT&T Consulting Application Assurance services help customers assess and analyze the overall design of the network and readiness associated with bandwidth/capacity planning, IP routing, multicast and QoS necessary to deliver applications in a robust, survivable and scalable manner. AT&T Consulting can profile the network and the applications traversing the network in order to ascertain the demands associated with application service delivery.

IPv6 Life Cycle Services

The IPv4 public address space exhaustion requires adoption of IPv6 as the next generation protocol for delivering IP services across the global internet. The transition to IPv6 was intended to be a gradual process taking 3-4 years to execute in a transparent fashion. However, due to the unpredictability of IPv4 address exhaustion and the lack of support for IPv6 by vendors and carriers, the move to adopt IPv6 has been pushed out on the planning horizon for most organizations. This fact and the lack of expertise around IPv6 has elevated the risks associated with not adopting IPv6 sooner.

IPv4 will continue to be utilized within Enterprise networks; however any services, applications or connectivity over the public internet will need to consider integration of IPv6 and IPv6 transition technologies. This includes basic Internet, web hosting, remote access, mobile workers, and cloud computing leverage internet transport to provide services.

AT&T Consulting provides a full suite of IPv6 Consulting services to assist customers with readiness and transition to IPv6. These services address the full life cycle enabling our customers to engage us in a flexible manner:

IPv6 Readiness Assessment

The first and most urgent need for IPV6 transition is for an organization to perform a readiness assessment. Such an assessment helps identify the aspects of the environment that will be impacted by IPv6 and defines the costs and impacts of IPv6 adoption as it relates to overall asset and service provider readiness/compliance for supporting IPv6. Equipment vendors that provide infrastructure elements such as routers and switches and PC based operating systems are in different phases of IPv6 readiness and aligning product refresh cycles with IPv6 readiness is critical. AT&T Consulting services provide an inventory of elements and use cases that will be impacted by IPv6 moving forward.

IPv6 Strategy and Architecture

IPv4 and IPv6 are totally independent protocols and as such, the architecture of an environment supporting IPv6 will consist initially of islands of IPv4, IPv6 and dual stack IPv4/IPv6 components. There are emerging technologies required for interconnecting these islands such as Taredo, ISATAP, GRE tunnels, 6to4 tunnels and IPv6/IPv4 translation. In addition the addressing schemas, integration with DNS/DHCP, and architecture for dual homing with internet carriers must be addressed. AT&T Consulting services provide customers with an architectural framework for integration of IPv6 in phases within the current IPv4 environment and a strategy for deploying IPv6 within the enterprise.

IPv6 Design and Engineering

AT&T Consulting provides design and engineering expertise to address the detailed configuration and integration aspects of an IPv6 architecture. This service focuses on the development of the equipment configurations, test plans and integration plans required to integrate the elements into an IPv6 environment. Target IP infrastructure elements include IP addressing, routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, IDS/IPS, WAN accelerators and VPN concentrators. Consultants provide detailed configuration and integration parameters for each element impacted by IPv6 integration.

IPv6 Testing and Piloting

AT&T Consulting can assist customers with the definition and deployment of lab environments for proof of concept testing as well as pilot deployments to validate integration and educate IT staff. These environments are developed to test IPv6 functionality and integration into the legacy IPv4 environment. AT&T Consulting can develop bills of materials, lab and pilot design and assist customers in the validation and execution of the testing and production environments

IPv6 Transition Planning

AT&T Consulting can develop an overall governance plan and integration schedule that can be utilized to ensure seamless transition to IPv6. Integration planning includes development of the overall transition schedule, resources and tasks encompassing inputs from the teams defined under the program governance model.

IPv6 Transition and Governance

AT&T Consulting can assist in transition with either project-based work scope, or trusted advisory augmentation of existing IT teams in technical or governance capacities. Staff augmentation consists of subject matter experts delivering defined tasks around IPv6 project management, design and engineering and integration activities. The governance model incorporates the development of project based teams that own and manage the transition to IPv6. The governance plan will incorporate engineering, operations, communications, procurement, field engineering and internal project management teams under one umbrella responsible for transition to IPv6.