Design Iterations

Design is the conscious effort to impose a meaningful order.”
Victor Papanek

One area of significant differentiation between OSS inventory systems is in their ability to model design changes. Of the many inventory management solutions that are available currently, many are able to model a single snapshot in time. However, very few are able to manage multiple design revisions (ie different snapshots in time).

The traditional system of producing paper-based design drawings with evolving revision numbers actually has merits compared with the way many OSS handle this situation. (The paper-based approach also has inherent weaknesses such as the inability to show flow-on impacts but we’ll skip over that for now).

Many of the current OSS products are built around relational databases and they struggle to capture multiple instances or allocations of a single object. If your organisation displays any of the following attributes then this becomes a significant consideration when evaluating the best vendor product for your organisation:

  • Expends significant amounts of time planning network infrastructure builds
  • Is heavily reliant upon the ability to show design variations (eg heavily regulated industries like electricity suppliers or a CSP that is maintaining separate managed service accounts with segregated infrastructure)
  • Draws up multiple design alternatives before selecting a best case design
  • Has multiple parallel designers attempting to utilise network resources from the same pool (eg physical ports on a network device)
  • Constantly extending the resource pool through network expansions
  • Plans marketing drives to customers that are located close to future network expansions or
  • Prepares phased network builds many months in advance to align with other business objectives (eg a new housing estate opening up to residents)
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