Merge Networks without Downtime


Merging two networks can be the most daunting task for network engineers due to the lack of rational when everything has two sets of standards.  Tasks have to be completed within a tight timeline and everything has to be continuously operational during migration.

Major hurdles discovered when merging networks can be categorized as either: Operational or Technical.

Operational hurdles:

  • Documentation
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Trouble ticketing and escalation procedures

Technical hurdles:

  • IP addressing
  • IP routing
  • Security policy
  • Scalable architecture for merged network
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Solutions from NetBrain

NetBrain Workstation is a comprehensive solution for large network integration that helps network engineers to overcome operational and technical hurdles by:

  • Discovering and documenting a live network with automation (in Week 1)
  • Planning a virtual network merge inside NetBrain (in Month 1)
  • Executing a live network merge with protection (in Year 1)

Discover and Document Pre-merge Network (Week 1 Task)

When it comes to the networks to be combined, no party knows all.  Use NetBrain to perform a full network discovery and Q-map to document the L3/L2 topology and design, so both parties have the benefit of updated network knowledge.  NetBrain Workstation is an on-demand knowledge station which can reduce the need of traditional knowledge transfer efforts, such as meetings.  Refer to the solution’s guide “Network Assessment” for examples.

Merge Network Virtually inside NetBrain (Month 1 Task)

Leveraging the discovery results, use NetBrain to plan out merges virtually. Three NetBrain workspaces will be created: Company_A workspace, Company_B workspace and Company_A&B workspace. Now the challenge of  network merges can be tackled from within NetBrain:

  • IP Addressing
  • Use NetBrain to discover overlapping private IP address assignments; or to plan out IP Addressing migration.

    Example 1: Compare One-IP-Tables between Company_A workspace and Company_B workspace, to discover overlapping IP address assignments.

    compare one IP tables

    Example 2:  Plan subnet migration

    network migration-subnet migration Subnet for Company-A Created by NetBrain

    network migration-subnet migration Subnet for Company B Created by NetBrain

  • IP Routing
  • NetBrain can quickly analyze routing protocol inside each company, and offer both a listed and graphic view of the collected information.  For example, if company A and B both used OSPF and two area-0s exist, NetBrain can quickly visualize that issue. Use the routing table comparison feature to spot any problematic routes to be merged (namely over-summarized, under-summarized or overlapping routes).

    network device group

    network device group

    hight routing protocols-hightlight BGP

    highlight routing protocols

NetBrain can further be used to analyze the security policies and the existing implementations across each network, in addition to design an approach that will fit both.  Inside NetBrain, the two networks can then be put together and the proper inter-connection will be designed and documented.

Execute Live Network Merge (Year 1 Task)

To achieve the full network merge, tens or maybe hundreds of sub-tasks will be created.  Inside NetBrain’s visual workbench, create and define those tasks with a data-driven map.  Further, NetBrain’s one-click benchmark and compare feature will ensure that the merge will not negatively impact either company’s business applications.  The data that can be benchmarked and compared includes:

  • Routing tables
  • Configuration files
  • One-IP table (L2 connectivity)
  • CDP tables, etc.
  • Key traffic paths

Define Core Network Inter-Connect

compare route tables

Compare Route Table to Ensure No Missing Routes

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