Unfortunately, no network is immune to disaster. No matter how well you provision your network or how well your baselines are worked out, even the most meticulously managed network is bound to experience downtime at one point or another. But the prospect of downtime doesn’t necessarily equate to loss of profit and productivity – a well-managed network should be prepared for the worst at any time, and be able to bounce back from any problems before serious damage is done to your network environment or valuable work is lost. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the features that make some networks more resilient than others, and how you can leverage the data in your environment to make the most of your network troubleshooting habits.

Know your network environment like the back of your hand

When something goes wrong on a network, it’s almost always as a result of something in the network environment changing. It might not be an intentional change – failures do happen, even on the most well-managed of networks, and there’s always the chance for human error at several points of your workflow. Whatever the cause of your network trouble, the most important step is to identify what has changed, and what the effects of that change are. Having a reliable Network Management Software (NMS) suite and netflow analyzer is invaluable here – Iris’s NMS can be used to set baselines and acceptable deviations that allow you to forecast the demand on resources and bandwidth that your environment is likely to experience during times of increased pressure. Reliable monitoring tools also make it possible to quickly identify where and how the error arose, resulting in quicker turnaround of network troubleshooting issues and minimal impact from downtime. It’s worth setting thresholds on your data so that your IT department gets an advance warning when your network enters troubled waters.

No network is an island

We’ve already spoken about monitoring as a vital component of ensuring that network troubleshooting issues are resolved quickly. The other side of the coin is to evaluate the impact of the error and whether or not it has affected subsequent systems. If a line goes down, the services associated with that line will go down too. Depending on the amount the service is used, and how good your network manager is at identifying problems as soon as they happen, this could result in services being unavailable for extended periods of time, putting not only the productivity of your enterprise at stake, but could also result in loss of data or damage to infrastructure or equipment.

Never underestimate the value of human resources

It’s important to use Network Troubleshooting Software that caters to your environment’s needs and can be tailored in conjunction with your netflow analyzer software to present the most important the most important and valuable information to your network manager, but it’s equally important to employ an engineer who can make sense of the data and gain insights from it. Simply, software presents the data, but it can’t interpret it for you – that’s the job of your engineer, and the better he or she understands the flow of data around your network environment, your baselines and acceptable rates of deviation, your Quality of Service policies, data thresholds and more. Employing an engineer with good network troubleshooting knowledge and an intimate knowledge of your network environment means you’ll get the best possible Return on Investment from your netflow analyzer and Network Troubleshooting Software.

For more information on IRIS’s Network Management software suites, please download a copy of our Network Manager’s Guide to a Stable and Highly Available Network.

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Image credit: Pyramid Computer