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Understanding network lifecycle management


Behind every important business process is a solid network infrastructure that lets us access all of these services. But for an efficient and available network, you need an optimization framework to maintain a strong network lifecycle.  It can be carried out as a lifecycle process to ensure continuous monitoring, management, automation, and improvement.

Keep in mind, there are many solutions to help you with connectivity management. Regardless of the tools and techniques you follow, there needs to be a proper lifecycle plan for you to be able to manage your network efficiently. Network lifecycle management directs you on reconfiguring and adapting your data center per your growing requirements.

The basic phases of a network lifecycle

  • In the simplest terms, the basic phases of a network lifecycle are Plan, Build, and Manage. 
  • These phases can also be called Design, Implement, and Operate (DIO).
  • Now, in every single instance where you want to change your network, you repeat this process of designing, implementing, and managing the changes.
  • And every subtask that is carried out as part of the network management can also follow the same lifecycle phases for a more streamlined process.
  • Besides the simpler plan, build, and manage phases, certain network frameworks also provide additional phases depending on the services and strategies involved.

ITIL framework

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, which is an IT management framework. ITIL put forth a similar lifecycle process focusing on the network services aspect. 

The phases, as per ITIL, are:

  • Service strategy
  • Service design
  • Service transition
  • Service operations
  • Continual service improvement

PPDIOO framework

PPDIOO is a network lifecycle model proposed by Cisco, a learning network services provider. This framework adds to the regular DIO framework with several subtasks, as explained below.


  • Prepare

The overall organizational requirements, network strategy, high-level conceptual architecture, technology identification, and financial planning are all carried out in this phase.

  • Plan

Planning involves identifying goal-based network requirements, user needs, assessment of any existing network, gap analysis, and more. The tasks are to analyze if the existing infrastructure or operating environment can support the proposed network solution. The project plan is then drafted to align with the project goals regarding cost, resources, and scope.

  • Design

Network design experts develop a detailed, comprehensive network design specification depending on the findings and project specs derived from previous phases.


The build phase is further divided into individual implementation tasks as part of the network implementation activities. This can include procurement, integrating devices, and more. The actual network solution is built as per the design, focusing on ensuring service availability and security.


The operational phase involves network maintenance, where the design’s appropriateness is tested. The network is monitored and managed to maintain high availability and performance while optimizing operational costs.


The operational phase gives important data that can be utilized to optimize the performance of the network implementation further. This phase acts as a proactive mechanism to identify and solve any flaws or vulnerabilities within the network. It may involve network redesign and thus start a new cycle as well.

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Why develop a lifecycle optimization plan?

A lifecycle approach to network management has various use cases. It provides an organized process, making it more cost-effective and less disruptive to existing services.

Reduced total network ownership cost

Early on, planning and identifying the exact network requirements and new technologies allow you to carry out a successful implementation that aligns with your budget constraints.

Since there is no guesswork with a proper plan, you can avoid redesigns and rework, thus reducing any cost overheads.

High network availability

Downtimes are a curse to business goals. Each second that goes by without access to the network can be bleeding money. Following a proper network lifecycle management model allows you to plan your implementation with less to no disruptions in availability.

It also helps you update your processes and devices before they get into an outage issue. Proactive monitoring and management, as proposed by lifecycle management, goes a long way in avoiding unexpected downtimes. This also saves time with telecom troubleshooting.

Better business agility

Businesses that adapt better thrive better. Network lifecycle management allows you to take the necessary action most cost-effectively in case of any quick economic changes.

It helps you prepare your systems and operations to accommodate the new network changes before they are implemented. It also provides a better continuous improvement framework to keep your systems up to date and adds to cybersecurity.

Improved speed of access

Access to the network, the faster it is, the better your productivity can be. Proper lifecycle management can improve service delivery efficiency and resolve issues without affecting business continuity.

The key steps to network lifecycle management

Let us guide you through the various phases of network lifecycle management in a step-by-step approach.


  • Step 1: Identify your business requirements

Establish your goals, gather all your business requirements, and arrive at the immediate requirements to be carried out.

  • Step 2: Create a high-level architecture design

Create the first draft of your network design. This can be a conceptual model of how the solution will work and need not be as detailed as the final design would be.

  • Step 3: Establish the budget

Do the financial planning for the project detailing the possible challenges, budget, and expected profits/outcomes from the project.


  • Step 4: Evaluate your current system

This step is necessary to properly formulate an implementation plan that will be the least disruptive to your existing services. 

Gather all relevant details, such as the hardware and software apps you use in your network. Measure the performance and other attributes and assess them against your goal specifics.

  • Step 5: Conduct Gap Analysis

Measure the current system’s performance levels and compare them with the expected outcomes that you want to achieve.

  • Step 6: Create your implementation plan

With the collected information, you should be able to draft the implementation plan for your network solution. This plan should essentially contain the various tasks that must be carried out, along with information on milestones, responsibilities, resources, and financing options.


  • Step 7: Create a detailed network design

Expand on your initial high-level concept design to create a comprehensive and detailed network design. It should have all the relevant information required to implement your network solution.

Take care to include all necessary considerations regarding your network’s availability, scalability, performance, security, and reliability. Ensure the final design is validated by a proper approval process before being okayed for implementation.


  • Step 8: Create an implementation plan

The Implementation phase must have a detailed plan listing all the tasks involved, the steps to rollback, time estimations, implementation guidelines, and all the other details on how to implement the network design.

  • Step 9: Testing

Before implementing the design in the production environment, starting with a lab setting is a good idea. Implement in a lab testing environment to check for any errors and how feasible it is to implement the design. Improve the design depending on the results of this step.

  • Step 10: Pilot implementation

Implement in an iterative process starting with smaller deployments. Start with pilot implementations, test the results, and if all goes well, you can move towards wide-scale implementation.

  • Step 11: Full deployment

When your pilot implementation has been successful, you can move toward a full-scale deployment of network operations.


  • Step 12: Measure and monitor

When you move to the Operational phase, the major tasks will be monitoring and management. 

This is probably the longest phase, where you take care of the day-to-day operational activities such as:

  • Health maintenance
  • Fault detection
  • Proactive monitoring
  • Capacity planning
  • Minor updates (MACs – Moves, Adds, and Changes)


  • Step 13: Optimize the network design based on the collected metrics.

This phase essentially kicks off another network cycle with its own planning, designing, workflows, and implementation.

Integrate network lifecycle with your business processes

  • First, you must understand the importance of network lifecycle management and how it impacts your business processes and IT assets.
  • Understand how your business uses its network infrastructure and how a new feature could add value.
  • For instance, if your employees work remotely, you may have to update your infrastructure and services to allow real-time remote access and support personal network devices.
  • Any update or change to your network should follow proper network lifecycle management to ensure efficient network access and availability. Hence, it must be incorporated into the company’s IT infrastructure management process.
  • As a standard, many companies follow a three-year network life cycle model where one-third of the network infrastructure is upgraded to keep up with the growing network demands and telecommunications technology updates.

Automate network lifecycle management with AlgoSec

AlgoSec’s unique approach can automate the entire security policy management lifecycle to ensure continuous, secure connectivity for your business applications. 

The approach starts with auto discovering application connectivity requirements, and then intelligently – and automatically – guides you through the process of planning changes and assessing the risks, implementing those changes and maintaining the policy, and finally decommissioning firewall rules when the application is no longer in use.

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