Network monitoring is not a new practice - since IT first made its way into the enterprise, administrators have been keeping a close watch on the performance of their tech assets. Tracking the output of servers, storage allocations and network speeds are typical IT tasks, but today's complex infrastructure configurations have changed the way tech staff perform these duties. While component-specific monitoring tools may be useful for legacy systems, organizations now need much greater visibility into and control of their networks to boost efficiency and get the most out of their resources.
Search and destroy network weaknesses
Despite the countless advantages of developing a modernized network, no infrastructure is perfect. Problems may not have a clear source, leading IT staff members on a wild goose chase to track down the cause of the issue. According to a recent article from Network World, companies must look into bringing their network monitoring solutions up to speed with the rest of their tech blueprints. This means consolidating disparate management systems to provide a more all-encompassing view of how the systems are performing and interacting with one another.
The source pointed to an example from the IT department at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, noting that the organization's multi-tiered network structure prevented staff members from monitoring performance from end-to-end. Although its data center optimization efforts were a step ahead of the curve, IT still wasn't sure how to best approach its troubleshooting processes, leaving the organization vulnerable to network slowdown, outages and even security threats. Decision-makers recognized that a better monitoring solution was necessary to get back on track.
"After an experience with the PACS system, where it took three different teams of outside consultants to pinpoint a server problem that had been blamed on the network, we realized we needed something that would give us better insight into the conversations taking place across the network, and what the various computers were doing," said Ben Aheto, network manager for Bellevue, the source noted.
Don't waste time finding the problem
Time is money when it comes to troubleshooting IT issues, yet Network World pointed to Gartner research revealing that 31 percent of network performance issues take more than a month to resolve or never get fixed. With precious tech resources on the line, business leaders must acknowledge the importance of tools that can expedite this process.
"With such a complex network infrastructure, issues invariably arise, and we were spending a lot of time and manpower trying to resolve them," Stefan Thoma, senior network engineer at Flughafen Zurich AG, told the source. "It was very hard to find the root of the problem. Many of our customers' data centers, for example, are based on another continent, so it was difficult to know whether the problem was due to our network or theirs."
According to Tech Republic, visibility is especially important as IT leaders embrace innovations such as data analytics, desktop virtualization and mobile device solutions - networks will only expand and diversify as these initiatives take off.