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Network Resource Planning & SAP

What is network resource planning and what does it have to do with SAP?

Network resource planning (NRP) is done to ensure that a network infrastructure has the ability to support the deployment of a mission-critical ERP Solution. Network planners and network architects, not to be confused with an Enterprise Architect, which is something completely different, need to determin how the introduction of SAP, or there for any other complex ERP Solution, effects the existing network infrastructure and whether the infrastructure supports SAP.

A network manager needs to assess the capacity and performance of an existing network and determine what changes are required to increase capacity. Planning is a critical factor in today enterprise and becomes an essential. Demands for local and wide area networks are increasing continously and organizations need to anticipated and plan to have adequate capacity available. Enterprise Applications like SAP supports clients that access the centralized application database over a wide area network. In order to avoid user complaints and dissatisfaction  an organizations network infrastructure must adeqautely support the applications functionality.

In the earlier year business applications were hosted on mainframes that were accessed through so-called dumb terminals. These terminals had virtually no processing power and were only display terminals. All application processing was done centrally on the mainframe server. At this time all computing resources were easily to calculate and to control. Everything was handled through centralized control of the MIS Department (Management Information Systems). With the advent of PCs, Laptops and Servers and the shift of computing power to be distributed across the complete network infrastructure a new technology was born. The Client/Server environment, which shifted the processing power from a centralized server to a local workstation.

Benefits of local computing power versus mainframe computing were:

  • better response times through dedicated resources
  • local control of resources
  • providing individual users and departments with the flexibilty to chose or develop applications that best fit their specific needs.

These applications were usually specific to a user or department and were not available to the rest of the organization. This meant an application running at part of the organization did not have an affect to th rest of the organization, where by in  mainframe environment applications that utilized a large amount of processing power had an effect on every user.

The disadvantage was that these applications were not visible to other parts of the organization and there for many stand-alone solutions existed across the organization that did not communicate with each other. Different applications did exist in various parts of the organization doing the same thing but providing different results.

Complex ERP Solutions has changed all that.


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