Physical Infrastructure Management Reduces Network Downtime

September 15, 2020 / General, Installation and testing, Industrial Networks, Best Practices

Planet IRM and Fluke Networks have integrated LinkWare Live into the Planet Infrastructure Relationship Management software solution, allowing customers to access detailed cable test results from their physical asset network diagrams, providing a view we like to call “from network map to wiremap”.  We asked the team at Planet to introduce their solution and the benefits of the integration – their article is below.

Many studies have revealed that the physical layer accounts for up to eighty percent (80%) of all network downtime. This is due to the combination of over-reliance on Network Management Software (NMS) tools and under-utilization of physical layer management tools.  This ever-widening gap which exists  is related to mapping critical infrastructure services to the underlying physical plant infrastructure and is now addressed by the recently announced “Network Map to Wire Map” integration of next generation Cloud/SaaS browser-based software applications Planet IRM and LinkWare Live.

As physical plant infrastructures have been increasing in complexity, physical layer management Cloud/SaaS software solutions have been unavailable and organizations have been limited to relying on the use of tools. Although these NMS tools monitor the health and performance of the network, they have been proven completely useless when responding to incidents that occur to the physical layer (human error, intentional malfeasance, loose connections, improper cabling installation, use of wrong cable types required to support applications, lack of certifications, etc.).

Organizations are also concerned about maintaining Network Infrastructure Security which incorporates both physical and virtual barriers.  As malicious network attacks have become more sophisticated and ransomware continues to grow as a problem being able to visualize the physical segmented network infrastructure (layers and dependencies) is critical.

Planet IRM

Planet IRM visually documents, manages and tracks Critical Infrastructure Physical Plant information for Inside Plant, Outside Plant, Data Center (DCIM), User Work Areas and Wide Area Network Circuits. Planet IRM brings together all of the data normally kept in disparate spreadsheets, CAD, and home-grown database files and point solutions to create a complete visualization of an enterprise infrastructure and IT network environment.  By visually aggregating and centralizing management across regions and segments of the physical infrastructure plant, facilities, operations and plant management organizations are able to streamline their maintenance, reduce operational management costs and leverage the critical infrastructure information necessary to support operational and cyber security needs by quickly identifying faults, expediting troubleshooting and reducing Network downtime. 

Planet IRM/LinkWare Live Integration Features

Planet IRM enables users to plan, design and manage the buildout of inside and outside cable plant projects, provide estimated cable lengths and cost estimates for project budgeting.  Once the cable plant designs have been completed, Planet IRM generates all the required installation documentation including as-built drawings, cable pull schedules, cable termination and administrative patching reports along with cable identifiers.  Following installation cable IDs are sent to LinkWare Live for labeling, testing and certification. Upon completion, summary test data is sent from LinkWare Live to Planet IRM with direct links to LinkWare Live for individual test results.  Planet IRM fully integrates with LinkWare Live Projects and SubProjects enabling Project managers to fully check the status of jobs as tests are uploaded.  A complete suite of as-built information, CAD drawings and reports can be produced including the LinkWare Live cable Certification information.

After installation, Planet IRM can be used to support ongoing operations.  Planet’s additional Integration with BMC Helix/Remedy means that techs working a trouble ticket in the Helix/Remedy app could instantly retrieve cable tests related to the connection in question.  A network engineer looking to upgrade a fiber link from 10G to 40G could look at the LinkWare Live report to see if it could support the new technology.

Key network management operational capabilities include: Where is it?  What’s connected to it? Who owns it? When was it last maintained? What are the latest test results? How many services rely on it? What are the power and environmental requirements? 

The quick and easy access to cable testing results through Planet IRM is convenient, but the full integration with all the rest of the IT infrastructure makes it invaluable.  You can learn more about Planet IRM and the integration with Fluke Networks at the links below: