company that has scaled up its presence to new locations,
increased manpower, and introduced new enterprise applications,
will very likely, see that its IT Head has developed
a new set of worries. He has to design the extended
network, decide on the hardware to buy, chose the appropriate
connectivity options, deploy adequate backup and disaster
recovery resources, and recruit qualified technical
staff for the jobs. To make matters worse, all this
has to be done within a limited
Sometimes a company may want to implement a new feature
in its network like robust security architecture, carry
out network health and performance analysis, and set
up a storage infrastructure. But, the amount of technical
and financial resources required to carry out any of
these functions may be a large inhibiting factor.
In such cases the company can turn to an external NOC
(Network Operations Center) which has the necessary
facilities, equipment, processes and procedures, applications,
and qualified staff to relieve the company of any excess
network-related and financial burdens. The company does
not have to invest in a full-fledged NOC infrastructure
of its own, and dedicate any extra technical and human
HCL Comnet has built such a NOC in Noida which it calls
an iNOC (Intelligent NOC). It went live in April 2002
and already manages infrastructure for 56-odd clients.
The clients are present in 400-odd cities nationwide
and there are a total 5,200 nodes to manage. Let's look
at the features of the iNOC to get an idea of what an
NOC is like from close and the ways in which it can
help your enterprise's network.
Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Comnet said, "with the IT
industry gaining maturity, availability and uptime are
taken for granted. The current focus is on improved
performance of applications over the network and most
IT departments are not adequately equipped to handle
this challenge. It becomes very difficult for enterprises
to judge the amount of losses that accrue due to technology
or human errors, outages, and downtime leading to high
using the services of a NOC, one of the most revealing
value propositions, is the enterprise's ability to incorporate
finitely predictable budgets. Our research shows that
a typical company of about 5000 employees can get a
cost benefit of US$ 9.7 Million to US$ 18.4 Million
per annum by outsourcing their IT infrastructure management.
The saving can vary from 35.8 percent to 50.7 percent
of the total IT Infrastructure management cost of US$
170 Million over a five year period. This saving is
accrued due to two reasons. First, saving in cost due
to reduced in-house IT infrastructure management staff,
and second, better SLA (Service Level Agreement) deliverables
due to the nature of the contract that can be made."
tendency among enterprises who suffer from network performance
issues is to increase their current bandwidth requirements.
But, network performance does not solely depend on bandwidth.
A higher visibility into the infrastructure and the
capability to optimize performance accordingly, is the
only solution to ensure significant improvement in performance',
A good NOC can proactively prevent a network infrastructure
fault and guarantee availability, high-uptime, and increased
performance of its customer's IT infrastructure. The
customer network is usually connected to the NOC through
a dedicated link. Usually, a well-defined security practice
ensures auditable safety of customer data. And the network
is monitored on a 24x7 basis.
New services can be deployed on the network quickly.
There is no need to invest upfront on tools and infrastructure,
and an IT Head doesn't need to evaluate different applications.
This reduces time overheads, operating cost, and gets
a better ROI.
Comnet, a 100 percent subsidiary of HCL Technologies
is one of the leading IT services management
companies in India. It offers satellite communications
and a number of network infrastructure solutions.
company felt that the current IT focus is
on improved performance of applications
over the network and most IT departments
are not adequately equipped to handle the
can use the services of an external NOC
(Network operations Center) which will have
the requisite hardware, software, connectivity,
and manpower to remotely manage a client
24x7 monitoring a NOC can prevent any network
infrastructure faults and offer guaranteed
availability, high-uptime and increased performance.
The customer network is connected to the iNOC
through a dedicated link. Well-defined security
practices ensure auditable safety of customer
data. And the customer does not have to invest
in equipment and manpower upfront.
HCL Comnet's iNOC is 15,000 square feet large and includes
a Core Complex which comprises a dedicated Racks area,
an Operations area, customer cubicles, laboratory, and
conference rooms. It claims to be earthquake-resistant,
bulletproof, and resistant to explosions and vibrations.
And its architecture does not allow EMI (Electro-Mechanical
Interference) and RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).
The Core Complex is semi-circle in shape for operational
and monitoring efficiency. It is divided into two parts-the
Racks and the Operations area. The two areas are separated
by a soundproof glass partition. The glass wall also
allows visual monitoring of the equipment kept on the
The Racks area encloses around 50 racks that keeps equipment
related to various technologies. Each rack has a protected,
independent power supply line.
Network security and physical security are absolutely
compulsory. Firewalls, anti-virus solutions, Intrusion
detection tools, and security monitors comprise the
network security architecture at the iNOC.
Other than security personnel who man the center around
the clock, iNOC has installed Proximity Access Control
systems to control and restrict entry. These include
items like proximity readers, electronic locks, electronic
identity tags, and keypads.
Smoke detection systems monitor and report any drastic
change in air temperature and there's a centralized
fire security system, which is backed by sprinklers.
Cross-zone, multi sensor detectors are also installed
on the ceiling and below false floors.
Servers, routers, and other network devices tend to
decrease in efficiency in very high temperatures. And
the presence of dust and humidity are also detrimental
to the performance of the devices.
The iNOC has installed precision air conditioning that
comprises two chillers and four compressors. Different
zones in the NOC have different temperature requirements.
The Operations area needs to maintain 24 degrees Celsius
and the Racks area requires between 21 and 22 degrees
Celsius. Additional split air-conditioners are installed
in the Racks area to provide any extra cooling, if necessary.
Dust catchers are installed in the premises and personnel
are only allowed to wear anti-dust, anti-static slippers.
The NOC houses a large number of equipment which includes
servers, baseband equipment, routers, modems, and switches.
Here are the details:
Baseband equipment from STM, Gilat, Viasat, and SA
Around 25 Servers for ISP and internal system-related
purposes. IS severs run applications related to Unix,
NT, database, and SQL. All of these are Raid 5 implementations
and cater to disk functions.
Modems, Routers, Cisco high-end switches
There are two layers of power supply an UPSEB and a
centralized stand-by 3-DG set. Three 60 KVA UPSs are
installed to ensure uninterrupted power supply round
the clock. The UPSs are also backed up for redundancy.
The power panel for the iNOC is separate.
Managing and monitoring the health of the iNOC is an
important task. HCL Comnet uses a number of network
management and performance tools to try and ensure uninterrupted
operation. Some of the tools are HP OpenView, HP OpenView
Customer Views, CA's Paradigm, Cisco Works, VisualPulse,
Nortel Network's Optivity, and IPCheck.
HP OpenView Customer Views allows to model network elements
logically and graphically displays any changes in network
device status. VisualPulse gathers and summarizes latency
and availability data for data sources. Optivity is
a suite of network management tools. And IPCheck is
designed to continuously monitor one or more servers.
Das Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org