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Survey Shows Network Pros Find Creative Uses for Monitoring and Mapping Software

What kinds of network equipment do IT professionals monitor? How important is visibility into virtual and cloud technology performance? How are IT professionals keeping tabs on all their critical gear?

In October 2017, HelpSystems launched an industry survey to determine how IT professionals help ensure uptime for their critical technology. While all 114 survey participants are using network monitoring solutions, the results revealed many are going beyond traditional monitoring to take advantage of network monitoring’s flexibility in creative ways.  

Keep reading to learn what we found.

2017 Network Monitoring Survey Highlights

Companies are monitoring a wide variety of network technology.

In the traditional network gear category, those surveyed reported mapping and monitoring switches (93 percent), routers (87 percent), servers (82 percent), firewalls (79 percent), and wireless access points (65 percent). For non-traditional equipment, respondents reported monitoring applications such as ERP, CRM, email, and web services (44 percent), as well as sensors (23 percent), and HVAC systems (18 percent). Other examples included monitoring UPS equipment, water pumps, generators, databases, cell tower sites, and campus intercom systems.

Those in education and healthcare are monitoring industry-specific equipment and applications.

Of 44 respondents (39 percent) in the education industry, monitors/video screens were the most common non-traditional equipment types being monitored. Others mentioned that they were watching uptime for smart boards, tablets, laptops, and smart podiums.

Of seven respondents (19 percent) in the healthcare industry, six said they were monitoring their Wi-Fi network, three were monitoring their EHR/EMR, and three were watching over clinical systems such as patient monitoring devices. Some respondents noted that they were monitoring other technology including department-specific systems, emergency notification systems, and general building management technology.

Windows is the platform of choice.

Over half of respondents reported running their network monitoring software on Windows (52 percent), followed by Linux (32 percent) and Mac OS X (16 percent).

Related Content: Network Monitoring Software for Windows: 6 Must-Have Features

On-premise technology is the most common scenario for respondents, followed by a hybrid IT environment.

The majority of respondents said their technology is mostly hosted on site (64 percent), with 3 percent hosting their technology mostly in the cloud and 33 percent reporting they have hybrid IT environments.

Respondents are monitoring virtual equipment and cloud technology.

About half of respondents said they were monitoring virtual equipment with their network mapping and monitoring software. Virtual servers were among the most popular responses, along with VMware and Hyper-V environments.

Eleven percent of those surveyed reported using their software to monitor cloud applications such as AWS, backups on OneDrive, Cloud PBS, Azure, and Campus EAI. When asked what they would like to monitor in the future, answers ranged widely, including wireless clients and infrastructure, tower lighting, fuel levels, Office 365, and Skype.   

The cloud is both a current initiative and a challenge for many organizations.

Thirty-three percent of respondents said their organizations have current initiatives expanding their cloud usage. Cloud projects ranged from backups to email migrations and hosted environments to web hosting. Respondents reported challenges with bandwidth, cost, and security.

Related Content: Migrating Network Operations to the Cloud? Here's What To Consider

The majority of respondents monitor small to mid-size environments.

Fifty-four percent reported monitoring 0-499 devices, followed by 28 percent who are monitoring 500-999 devices. Only 9 percent are monitoring 2,000+ devices, 3 percent are monitoring up to 1,999 devices, and 7 percent are monitoring up to 1,499.

Who took this survey?

A quarter of those who responded were system administrators, consultants or directors, while 22 percent were IT managers and 20 percent were network engineers. Forty-six percent of respondents work in organizations with fewer than 500 employees. Respondents included IT professionals in education, healthcare, telecommunications, IT, and other industries.

Buyer's Guide for Network Monitoring Software

Looking for the perfect, flexible solution to give you visibility into all your network technology? This buyer's guide will tell you exactly what to look for.