Every successful business that is pursuing innovation and domination in their marketplace relies on technology to get ahead. Used properly and managed properly, technology is a force multiplier that empowers your employees to do brilliant work. And as technology improves and business become more reliant on technology, preserving this network becomes paramount to the daily business operations.
As businesses grow they need to dedicate resources to manage and optimize their networks, and often times they choose to invest in a Network Operations Center, or NOC. The name of the game for these NOCs is availability and performance, their goal is to make sure the network is functioning and up to par for the business. These NOCs often work in conjunction with Security Operations Centers, or SOCs, but it’s important to note that the two serve very different functions. For more information on SOCs and how they differ from NOCs, check out our article here. Because NOCs are so important to a business’s day-to-day livelihood and Hiperwall has installed more than 400 NOCs around the world, we thought we could share some best practices and lessons learned that will light the way for anyone considering an NOC investment.
Best Practice #1: Approach the design and construction of your NOC as a secure environment, with availability and reliability being paramount elements to consider. The NOC will not be a high-traffic area, and it will usually be occupied by IT folks tasked with monitoring the business’s network and technological health. Consider installing security measures to control access to the room.
Best Practice #2: NOCs usually don’t require large amounts of manpower to operate. NOCs typically have a lot of hardware, software, and technological resources, but we haven’t seen more than a handful of employees and team members in most NOCs. If you are a super large company you might have a dozen folks working in your NOC, but to have more than 1-3 employees working full time in the NOC is usually overpowered. Because you don’t need a ton of people present in the NOC to supervise the networks we advise our clients to have a central video wall to share content and present the content if necessary to visitors in the room. And then there are usually 2-4 workstations in the NOC where people can work and send content to the video wall.
Best Practice #3: Buy commercial-grade hardware. Too often I’ve seen business owners think that an NOC was a nice-to-have, rather than the need-to-have business component that it is. As a result they buy displays intended for residential or personal use from retail electronics shops and are disappointed when these displays are either not functioning straight out of the box, or the displays burn out quickly from being used all the time, and there is no warranty to protect their investment. Even though it’s more money upfront, buy commercial grade hardware that is intended for high-performance and reliable use.
Best Practice #4: Fault-tolerance needs to be top of mind throughout your entire design. By fault tolerance we mean that your NOC has backup systems in place that ensure the video wall and NOC system stay functional if an error or other disruption occurs in the space. That’s one of the best features of the Hiperwall software and what sets us apart from the rest of the market; our software is fault-tolerant with no delay. Issues that would normally turn off the video wall or interrupt content shown on the video wall for other video wall software companies don’t interrupt our content one bit.
To run through the article quickly before you continue your research: keep security and fault-tolerance in mind throughout the design process, focus on buying quality equipment and place an emphasis on that equipment over personnel since you aren’t likely to have dozens of workers in the NOC at all times. And keep in mind that these articles can only go into so much depth without knowing your unique goals and your situation. If you want help designing your NOC, you should reach out to us on our website by submitting a form so we can point you in the right direction.