This is where a Health Assessment gains relevance. It makes sense to identify the issues and limitations as such will help on making a much better decision. Providing the results on that Health Assessment, in some cases it may be required to replace only certain components, to fine tune the existing configuration, or to redesign the existing network by moving some central components to the edge, while making sure that any future changes will have the desired result.
A Health Check on your network may include:
Data collection – by putting together all the relevant information in terms of:
Layer 1 – Existing cabling overview (in some cases it may include as well some testing, although this component is normally optional), physical servers and its connections, wan links, internet connections, redundancies, etc…
Layer 2 – Existing vlans, 802.3ad trunks, STP configurations, etc…
Layer 3 and above – routing mechanisms (VRRP, static routes, EIGRP, etc…) and subnets to be used / load balancing configurations, existing features, ACLs, and security mechanisms
For each one of these layers, a network diagram may be produced to properly document the existing scenario. At the same time, an analysis is carried to detect inconsistencies in terms of firmware, configurations and environmental conditions.
As a second step, some traffic analysis may be performed, while reviewing existing logs to detect potential risks, vulnerabilities and instability factors.
In some cases, a stress test may be performed as well. This test may check redundancies, links operation and features like load balancing
As the result of this health check, a report with the findings and a number of recommendations is produced. This report is meant to point the situations to improve, by providing specific guidance on the viable scenarios.