Network mergers and acquisitions are processes that can be seen in any type of business.
As network designers, our job is to identify the business requirements of both existing networks and the merged network and find the best possible technical solutions for the business.
There are many different areas that need to be analyzed carefully.
Wrong business requirement gathering and design analysis, definitely lead to catastrophic failures.
Business and network analysis and technical information gathering are the key steps and there are many questions that need to be asked and answered should be well understood.
Network mergers and acquisitions are also called Network integration.
Below are the key points for any type of network mergers and acquisitions projects.
What are the capabilities of these applications and what are the requirements from the existing network? (Packet loss, jitter, delay, application traffic flow, security and QoS requirements, and so on).
Basically in this step, we analyze the current infrastructure of the companies. IP addressing scheme, Application requirement, physical topology gathering, business future growth forecast analysis, security, QoS, Multicast, OAM and management infrastructure capabilities, and information should be gathered.
What type of WAN, LAN, and DC infrastructure each network is using, Is any VPN solution deployed on the WAN, is there a traffic engineering requirement on WAN or DC, and Is IPv6 supported by any of the companies? Is there any single point of failure and what will be the high availability requirement of the merged network?
What is the convergence time of the network and what is the required convergence time of any single component failure? (You shouldn’t design the network for multiple failures)
As you can see there are so many questions that should be asked and noted during the business analysis. This is the most time-consuming step of any network design but definitely worth doing it properly to avoid any future problems and have the best network design.
Analyzing the design for network mergers and acquisitions is not different from analyzing the design for the greenfield network. Application and business requirement is always the most important, and technology is second. Alternative technologies always can be found.
Physical location selection is very important. As you will see later in the post, some of the sites can be decommissioned for operational cost savings. After deciding the locations which will be used, by extending the current WAN connections companies can start to reach each other.
Running common IGP is always better compared to dealing with redistribution. It is better for management, troubleshooting, convergence, availability, and for many other design objectives.
Some businesses don’t use QoS, especially on their core network. They generally have their DWDM infrastructure, so when they need extra capacity, they can provision it quickly and start using it. The reason why they don’t use QoS is simplicity. They want to keep their core network as simple as possible. This approach is seen generally in the Service Provider business.
This is definitely not the entire list for network mergers and acquisitions, but you should at least start your design with these questions in your real-life design as well as in the design certification exams. In the CCDE exam, questions will be based on the above considerations mostly.
Further Study Resources on Network Mergers and Acquisitions
Orhan Ergun, CCIE/CCDE Trainer, Author of Many Networking Books, Network Design Advisor, and Cisco Champion 2019/2020/2021
He created OrhanErgun.Net 10 years ago and has been serving the IT industry with his renowned and awarded training.
Wrote many books, mostly on Network Design, joined many IETF RFCs, gave Public talks at many Forums, and mentored thousands of his students.
Today, with his carefully selected instructors, OrhanErgun.Net is providing IT courses to tens of thousands of IT engineers.