A Buyer’s Guide to Network Management Software

Overview

Network Management is a set of activities that aim to ensure the health and availability of a network. Network management software allows the administrators to do the set of activities to manage the network and the nodes attached to the network. Network Management activities cover areas such as security, configuration management, change management, incident management, problem management and network inventory maintenance. Network Management activities are often automated through the use of monitoring and reporting utilities.

Network management software is not just for monitoring and resolving the issues. It is for complete proactive and automatic network management strategy can eliminate many of the tedious manual tasks typically associated with network maintenance, allowing IT administrators to improve efficiencies, increase performance, reduce risk and manage  growth.

When choosing Network management software, IT organizations should look at a broad range of key criteria: functionality, features, architecture, integration, automation, reporting and cost. Only a thorough review with these characteristics will result in building efficient and robust network management software that empowers your organization to meet its goals. Your users, customers, administrators and stakeholders deserve nothing less.

Today, most network management tools measure either the network’s latency or the latency of a network device. If your application performance has become rather sluggish, or maybe you’ve just realized that you have no idea what kind of data is actually traveling through your network. Either way, you need tools that not only let you peek at network traffic and data but also let you perform analysis and troubleshooting. Monitoring and troubleshooting application performance related problems can be tricky without application performance monitoring feature in network management software. Application performance monitoring extends the capabilities of your application delivery and security solutions too. Organizations must choose network management software with APM feature from a wide range of tools and tool suites.

Importance of Network Management Software

Network management software is very important to companies because businesses heavily depend on the network to perform communications and process-related projects. That’s way today’s companies are investing more in enterprise network infrastructure than in any other IT solution. Network management software is designed to enhance the operation, administration, and provisioning of networks and related assets within the network.  These powerful, comprehensive applications allow businesses to better control and maintain their IT networks by centralizing and automating all activities related to tracking, monitoring, servicing, and fine-tuning its components.

Find the key points on importance of Network management software below.

Roles and Responsibilities

You can easily divide, assign and track the roles & responsibilities of individual or team by using Network management software.

Quick Deployment and Service Support

Network management software allows for faster deployment of hardware, new services, integration of new complex protocols though it reduces the overall network implementation, service cost and it allows the enterprises to give competitive price to the clients. It also allows for centralized monitoring & administration, faster resolution time for customer issues, customers can request new services and manage their existing services, enables the preventive maintenance and auto alerts to customers.

Maximum Utilization and Resource Planning

Network management software allows for maximum utilization of current resources by knowing the least utilizing resources and you can balance the network traffic load. It will give complete utilization of each network resource though you can plan for network planning.

Costing analysis and Reduces Cost

Network Management Software allows for the costing analysis by knowing the resource utilization of the customer. Its features like quick deployment & service support, preventive maintenance, maximum utilization of resources will allow you to reduce the overall cost.

Inventory and Audit

You can take inventory and audit report of complete network resources very easily and quickly. It also allows you to track the Network devices.

Purchase Considerations for Network Management Software

In order to meet business goals, organizations develop and implement various business processes. These processes are the day-to-day functions that organizations run to develop, sell, deliver and support their products and services which are related to any department. The IT department develops IT services to support these business processes. You should ensure all services runs on IT infrastructure that has to be properly monitored, maintained, protected and secured.

Find purchase considerations for Network Management Software for any organization.

Consider ITIL Process

In order to deliver high-level services to users or clients through the service desk, your Network systems management solution should be Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) ready, giving you the framework to provide value to customers in the form of defined processes and services. As you build automated processes throughout your network management framework and create efficiencies throughout the organization, ITIL ensures you are meeting the needs of users from service desk requests to regular system maintenance.

ITIL ensures that support functions are integrated with service delivery and information is shared seamlessly across the multiple roles within the organization. The IT services that support each business process can be integrated through the service desk with key handoffs during the process. This allows you to build a workflow that consolidates the entire process. Roles and responsibilities can be defined. People can be kept in the loop. Follow up dates, goals and other measurements can be monitored. Some tasks, like setting up passwords and authentication, can be automated. Under the ITIL framework, this is consolidated and integrated through the service desk.

Automatic Network Device Discovery

Network monitoring software should have an options to run schedule network scans, automatic discover SNMP enabled network devices on your network after your first deploy and begin monitor all devices immediately.

Multi-Vendor Device Support

Network management software should design to provide out-of-the-box, multi-vendor device support for today’s complex network environments. It should monitor availability and performance statistics for any router, switch, firewall, VPN concentrator, wireless access point, and other devices that support standard protocols.

Custom MIB for SNMP devices

Network Management Software includes a MIB database that covers the vast majority of common network devices. It should allow you to create a custom poller to monitor any SNMP-enabled device value that has a MIB, including virtually any statistic that a network device records. Examples include monitoring temperature on a switch, fan speed on a router, and battery status on a UPS.

Single Management Interface

Management functions need to be fully integrated within a single web based interface or dashboard, it can be access from anywhere without connecting console.  You are able do the implementation maintenance and remediate issues from web interface. A help desk administrator working in the service desk should be able to view performance data from the monitoring module and inventory information from the asset tracking repository. Management data should be able to flow freely throughout the platform, arming administrators with the information they need to proactively and reactively solve IT issues. Another important factor is control. Administrators need complete—but transparent—access into all systems on the network, ensuring systems are up and running reliably and performing optimally. Auto-discovery is critical in making sure all systems are being managed as security threats often search out and exploit the weakest link in the network.

Manage Across Multiple Platforms

Network management software application should be able to run on an ordinary PC and whether it’s Windows, Mac, or Linux.  It should not eat up a lot of storage, RAM or require the latest processors. No need to spend your limited budget on a high powered server. It’s rare for an organization to standardize on a single hardware or operating system platform. It’s likely you manage a heterogeneous environment made up of various Windows platforms, Macs and even Linux machines.

Customizable Performance and Availability Reports

Network management software should enable you to quickly generate custom network reports that can be printed or viewed on the web. It built with numerous built-in reports, easy to report on performance data over specific time periods or by network segment.

If you can’t find an existing network report that matches your criteria, it should have option to generate customized reports as per your requirements or NMS provider should give support to generate it.

Multiple Protocol Support

Network management software should support multiple network protocols including wireless protocols, IP Telephony, VPN Tunnels, QOS, Switching & Routing Protocols and load balancing protocols… etc.

Customize Per Your Industry

Various types of companies like Manufacturing industry, IT industry, Hotel industry, financial services and other will have different requirements than compared to other. No Network management software ideally suitable for any industry, it should have option to enable customized processes, management policies, procedures and baselines. Make sure you are able to integrate the unique requirements of your specific industry with standard IT systems management.

Manage Growth

Your Network management solution needs to be scalable and keep up with capacity as your business grows. New systems need to be provisioned quickly and folded under existing processes and procedures. Depending on your needs, make sure your solution can scale from hundreds to thousands of devices. You may also need to add management functionality as the business grows and your needs change. You may not need a compliance management module today, but what if new regulations are rolled out in the future? A framework that runs through the service desk enables this scalability. New IT services or additional agents can easily be added and folded under existing policies.

Centralized Message Center

Your Network Management Software should enable centralized view for all of the notification messages about your network’s performance. This consolidated view allows you to quickly troubleshoot network performance issues by analyzing SNMP trap, events and Syslog data from a single interface, instead of by polling various machines. Events and alerts are also routed to this interface, allowing you to perform manual event correlation and basic root cause analysis.

Administrative Control

Once installed the Network Management Software, you have to get full administrative control to add any plugins or add-ons for any customization. It will save the time and cost saving without interacting provider every time.

Availability and Application Performance Monitoring

Network performance monitoring is for verify disk space, CPU load, memory utilization, bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, errors, discards, and quality of service for any SNMP-enabled devices. Network management software should contains Performance Monitor’s web interface to provide real-time views of network performance and availability statistics, as well as detailed monitoring and analysis of data from routers, switches, servers, and any other SNMP-enabled devices. Some network monitors can also execute complex TCP/IP transactions, such as web & database queries, proactively monitor and measure end-to-end performance metrics, identify the location of bottlenecks along the application delivery path and report response times. The best tools provide long-term tracking of network performance, in the form of historical graphs and event logs.

Some Network monitoring tools take a detailed look at your packets and analyze them to report data at the TCP/IP protocol level, letting you see just what kinds of traffic are consuming resources on your network. These tools can be invaluable in troubleshooting complex problems, but also help you meet network user requirements by understanding the kinds of services they’re using.

Beyond measuring and tracking performance, you’ll want some kind of notification mechanism to alert you to detected problems. At a minimum you’ll want to be notified when critical devices and services go down and back up again, and virtually all products offer such notifications in the form of email alerts and/or various kinds of paging (cellular SMS, dial-up modem TAP paging etc.). More sophisticated tools can alert on threshold crossings, such as excessively high (or low) CPU, disk, or network activity. Some even have built-in duty rosters to specify which IT staff member should be notified at various times on specific days.

Dynamic Service Groups

It will simplify monitoring for large and complex network environments by grouping network devices, interfaces, servers, or volumes by virtually any category. It enables aggregate views of servers, routers, switches, interfaces, and application groups by service such as email, location, department or manufacturer.

Affordability

You have to choose Network Management Software according to your budget. There is a highly competitive marketplace for network monitoring software. Perhaps organization with 100 or fewer important devices should not spend more than a few thousand dollars for a license. Free shareware is available, but may lack the support, documentation.

Option for Mobile Views

This is optional feature of network management software, you can monitor network performance from popular mobile Web browsers including iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

Quick, Easy Deployment

You are able to install and configure Network management software quickly using a simple wizard interface without training or assistance from provider. It should discovers your network devices automatically, begin monitoring your network for fault and performance issues. 

Filed Under: NMS General

Tags:

About the Author:

RSSComments (1)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Sams says:

    You written valid points for choosing good network management software….Thanks

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.