The demand for the “always-accessible” applications and services continues to grow, making network monitoring a fundamental requirement and priority for today’s IT Professional. Network monitoring solutions should provide a first line of defense when applications go down or when performance begins to deteriorate. Monitoring solutions should also scale as your needs and infrastructure grow providing an “all-in-one” solution.
The market for network management systems can be confusing. There is a wide variety of software and integrated hardware appliances that offer similar functionality, but with varying degrees of integration and performance. Some network availability monitoring tools have fully integrated architectures that require only a single piece of software, whereas other tools may include several individual components, such as a polling engine, a database, an analytics server or user console that must be installed and managed separately.
There’s a long list of considerations that must be addressed before selecting the network availability monitoring tool that will best meet your organization’s needs. Among them, which devices do you plan to monitor? Does your organization need to monitor just one site or multiple networks across several locations? In addition to scalability requirements, how will this network monitoring tool integrate with your existing systems? Does the monitoring tool provide auto-discovery for new devices? Determining which core functions your organization requires can be a daunting task.
Considerations Before Selecting a Monitoring Solution
It’s important to understand your organization’s requirements before selecting a networking tool, as you want to ensure the product will be a good fit and meet your organization’s specific needs.
- Deployment Model – Vendors vary widely in their licensing approaches. Some sell separate licenses for different types of monitoring, while others charge based on how many devices or how many logical objects or interfaces an enterprise wants to manage. The next is the actual deployment. Some monitoring systems are deployed as a single software package, while others require separate installations and separate servers for each component, including the database, the polling engine, the analytics engine and the front-end console. Vendors that offer a deployment with multiple components typically do so to enable maximum scalability and flexibility for their customers, but this approach also adds complexity that not all enterprises want.
- Ease of Use – The layout and flow of the management console is one of the most important network monitoring system features for networking staff to evaluate. Does the information presented in the system make logical sense to the typical administrator? Are the commands intuitive enough? How much training will the system require? Will the monitoring solutions interface with existing presentation tools like Grafana for ease of presentation? A Proof-of-Concept (POC) where network management personnel can actually interact with the system will ensure the solution will provide value to the enterprise.
- Compatibility with existing network infrastructure – Many IT organizations operate in a mixed-vendor infrastructure environment. When evaluating monitoring solutions, the network team needs to determine what the platform will support and this evaluation might extend beyond network infrastructure. This could include virtualization technologies and cloud services which the monitoring solution should also support.
- System Scalability – Network monitoring solutions vary widely in terms of the size of the networks they can manage. While some vendors can monitor hundreds of devices, others can monitor tens of thousands and while some solutions can monitor only a single location, others can span an entire enterprise. It is important to determine the maximum size and level of distribution that a network monitoring solution can support, more importantly, how the vendor achieves that scalability. One vendor might monitor a large distributed network with thousands of devices using a single server. Others might deploy multiple servers across the enterprise and tie them together with a front-end console. These variations will influence the usability and complexity of the system.
- Interoperability – When selecting a monitoring solution, it will most likely be a part of a larger IT management system. The IT team should evaluate whether the enterprise will require integration with other management products. For instance, the network engineering team may use the availability monitoring system to monitor and manage the network, while the network operations team might use a higher level service assurance system or capacity planner so the integration between different features should encourage collaboration. Other features could include network performance management, log analytics, application performance management, network change and configuration management, reporting capabilities and much more. In fact, many network availability monitoring vendors offer a broad suite of IT management tools with varying degrees of integration among them.
Learn what features, functions, deployment and licensing options the market-leading vendors provide for networks of all sizes. A business should select the network monitoring tool that best meets its needs.
For more information about the complete line of Monitoring, Log Analytic, Synthetic Monitoring and Capacity Planning solutions talk with one of our technical network specialists today.