The Impending Infrastructure $$BOMB$$

By Lester Lewis, Deputy CIO at Clark County


Not long ago we were designing cable plants and power systems that would provide for the needs of our organizations for years to come. Recently I’ve noticed that the increasing requirements driven by the digital revolution have surpassed the capabilities of our infrastructure. Our IT department was performing a routine upgrade of the wireless systems because a department needed better wi-fi coverage and higher speeds. Soon after the survey started it was apparent the cascading affect this change would have. In order to add the latest wi-fi components that supported the latest (802.11ac) protocol we needed a second data line to each AP and more power. That meant replacing the switches with higher density switches that could support the higher bandwidth. These new switches would have larger power supplies to support all of the access points and power over ethernet. This meant an upgrade to the buildings power infrastructure in the form of a larger UPS, battery plant and new power feeds. More data coming from the APs also meant the data lines within the building and connections to other buildings needed to be evaluated for the ability to transport more data. The increased speeds across the WAN meant a need to replace copper with fiber in some instances and in others replacing old fiber with newer fiber which led to replacing expensive transmission equipment on both ends of each affected connection. In a large organization spread across many locations this can be costly. I am intentionally glossing over the ongoing OpEx increases related to this. Multiply this issue by the number of big data initiatives, IoT deployments and cloud applications, well you get the gist. A large portion of any funding to deploy a solution will now be spent on remediating old frameworks. I don’t think of this as a new problem, but in the digital revolution the pace of the change has exacerbated the matter.