Why Does an Architect need this Skill?
IT is often tasked with creating architectural plans for different stacks of technologies either related to specific projects or as a part of the foundational infrastructure. IT architects being the focal point of IT delivery frame work, as such it is imperative they have a broad spectrum of IT skill sets, including an understanding of different aspects of network technologies and the ability to drive a scalable network design.
Having the proper knowledge and understanding of the different aspects of network design will allow the architect to articulate the importance and the need for such an exercise both on a tactical and a strategic level. The level of knowledge and understanding will depend on the architect’s area of speciality, for example an infrastructure architect should have more knowledge in the area of network design than a data architect.
Common tasks involved in this Skill.
The architect will be involved in multiple phases of network design
- Assist in creating a requirements document by consulting with various technical, business stockholders and lines of business. The architect should review the requirements for feasibility and value proposition. For example just because 10 Gigabit Ethernet is available and requested by the organizational customer, it does not mean it should be deployed for all users as it does not make financial sense.
- The architect will assist in defining risk profile for the enterprise as related to the network design requirements. Ensuring network design will not be impacted with these risks or more importantly the network design will address these risks.
- The architect need to ensure that the network design follows existing corporate standards, such as standardizing on physical (Hardware) and logical layer (protocol, vlan design ..etc). The architectural group usually is the group that defines corporate IT standards and the architect is well suited to ensure network design adhere to these standards.
- The architect has to ensure the design address network uptime based on requirement document. Need to ensure design provides network redundancy from both physical and logical prospective. For example implementing a dual connection to the MPLS cloud in the data center to ensure high availability in case of a signal link failure.
- Architect to involve engineering and operations team in the architectural design to ensure effective and agreed on solution across the design, build and run technology stack.
- Create a network design document that is a subset of the bigger infrastructure design document which will include other architectural aspects, such as system layer design and security layer design.
- Assist through the deployment phase of the project, during this step the engineering team will deploy the solution as per design document. The architect should monitor and evaluate the deployment to ensure that it meets defined design and modify procedure or architecture if deemed necessary.
- The architect need to ensure that the design document is included as part of the project/initiative artifacts. Such information should be readily available for reference by various engineering groups.
What is their Ownership in this skill?
The architect(s) will lead the architectural aspect of the network design, as well as guiding the organization with vendor selection and negotiation. In larger organizations there might be multiple architects with different areas of expertise involved in network design, you might have a capacity architect addressing bandwidth analysis and sizing questions, infrastructure architecture addressing the core design solution and a solution or enterprise architect addressing the overall solution. In smaller or even medium sized organizations the architect assigned to the project will perform all the aforementioned tasks
How is this skill used by the architect in daily activities?
The Architect would be expected to be able to:
- Understand the requirements to build a viable network design.
- Understand both physical and logical requirements to achieve desired architecture.
- Present solution to management and other stakeholders.
- Understand different technology offerings in the market place, understanding technology landscape will allow the architect ability to design and/or recommend appropriate solution(s).
- Ability to translate business requirement to technical design.
- Ability to explain complex technical design in a way that non-technical people may understand.
Knowledge of total cost of ownership modeling as it pertains to IT investments