Any seasoned IT professional will agree that the best network troubleshooting is no network troubleshooting. The term in itself implies that the situation has reached a stage that sees the user or business suffering due to things going wrong on the technological-side of things. So how does IT prevent those dreaded times when irate emails and phone calls nag on about how productivity has grinded to a halt, due to a technical issue yet to be uncovered and let alone, resolved.
Network troubleshooting can take an unpleasantly long time if you’re not equipped with the right tools to track and fix issues quickly. Even worse, not having the right tools can see you returning to the same problem repeatedly due to a lack of fully understanding the underlying issue to a problem in the system.
This post discusses how network management systems (NMS) aids engineers in effectively tracking network issues and resolving them speedily.
A well-designed and implemented NMS will go so far as to empowering your to department to pre-empt and prevent issues on the network, freeing up network troubleshooting time to be spent more productively.
Eliminate network troubleshooting using an NMS
So how does an NMS help you get your environment in shape? Consider this; if you’re spending a large portion of your time isolating and fixing issues, how are you coping with the additional demands on your network? Business’ increasing reliance on technology coupled with the industry’s accelerated evolution means that IT Managers need to be on the front foot when it comes to aligning IT to business goals.
An NMS will help you get your network in shape by means of:
- Monitoring: One of the key functions of an NMS is to monitor your network nodes on a consistent basis. What exactly is being monitored will be determined by IT and tweaked over time as you identify areas within your environment you would like to focus on, for whatever reason. More broadly, you NMS will monitor any network device (provided it has SNMP enabled) and alert you of any significant events and or failures.
- Reporting: Collection and storage of network metrics allows management to utilise historic information for reporting purposes that aid in identifying network trends, application performance over specified periods of time, highlighting vulnerabilities and pinpointing weaknesses in your security set up.
- Configuration: IT projects usually entail hours of information gathering. It usually takes getting the entire team in a room for long enough to map a path to a successful outcome. Leveraging the abundant data captured by an NMS makes the information gathering process that much simpler and cuts down on lengthy meetings around project developments. Take advantage of the data available captured by an NMS and you’ll cut down on lengthy administrative and information gathering tasks.
- Information visualisation: Networking equipment typically generate large quantities of data. The larger your environment, the more data will be generated. But who has the time to disseminate all that information? Your NMS does, that’s who. IT ops rarely have the time to sit and make sense of all the information coming at it from networking hardware. An NMS will gather and repurpose network data in such a way that engineers will be able to pinpoint possible network issues and take the corrective action that prevents potentialities from become realities.
- Alerting: Knowledge after the fact has little use when proactivity is your aim. Proactive alerts will bring events to your attention whether you are in or out of the office. Enterprises and service providers operate in spaces where downtime is often is considered an ugly word that shouldn’t be uttered aloud. Staying the know about event s and occurrences within your environment gives you the information you need to make the right call when there are signs of trouble.
Does your network really need an NMS to support it?
Next generation networks have become a reality in a very short time. It’s hard to imagine that there are networks out there who do not leverage some combination of voice, video, data and other services to maximise the return on their technological investment. Networks are becoming increasingly complicated and those that aren’t monitored will sneak up on you and pull the rug from under your feet. Network troubleshooting should at most, be reserved for the smaller occurrences that require human investigation.
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