Can you quickly see the root of a network problem? Does resolving network issues before they impact your users sound like a miracle to you?
Challenges are increasing as networks become larger and more complex to monitor. The need for network visibility (and the potential business impact if you don’t have visibility) is also growing. Feel like you’re monitoring your network blindfolded? I recently covered all of these topics in a webinar. If you missed it, here’s the high points on what good visibility looks like, why visibility matters, and how network mapping is the key.
Monitoring your network performance
Do you have an inventory of your network devices? As a network professional, you need the ability to collect data on all the switches, routers, and other core devices running in your network. For those devices that are mission-critical to your daily business, you need to monitor key metrics so uptime isn’t interrupted. This is typically done with a dynamic network map.
Once you’re monitoring, you can track the behaviors you see. Consistent monitoring will help you establish baselines so you know what optimal performance looks like for your key metrics. And with this kind of visibility into day-to-day performance, anything abnormal will be incredibly eye-catching.
Challenges with a lack of network visibility
Without visibility, outages end up costing your organization way more money than you’re already investing in your daily IT operations—and everyone knows that as IT’s already enough of a cost center as it is.
Gartner has estimated that the cost of downtime is $42,000 per hour. You can estimate the specific impact of downtime on your business with this equation:
Lost revenue = (GR/TH) x l x H
GR = gross yearly revenue
TH = total yearly business hours
l = percentage of impact
H = number of hours of outages
Besides their financial impact, outages can really damage your business’s reputation. Plenty of major companies have been in the news for network outages, including Amazon Web Services, Blackberry Limited (formerly Research in Motion, RIM), and Bloomberg. Don’t be one of them!
Effective network monitoring performance metrics
In order to avoid costly downtime and brand embarrassment, work with your vendors to capture the right data from your devices. What vendors allow you to capture and monitor will vary depending on your hardware, so there aren’t necessarily industry standards to follow—but monitor what you can and what makes sense for your organization.
You can get full visibility into your device behavior with a network mapping tool. A mapping solution gives you the over-arching ability to see how your devices are behaving in real time. Exception-based alerting keeps you informed when device performance falters or fails.
How to improve network efficiency and visibility
A network mapping tool that can provide real-time network information will give you the most visibility. Look for:
- Live maps that will show you color-coded statuses of devices right now.
- Flow-based technology that can take you beyond device behavior into analysis of your inbound/outbound traffic to help with bandwidth utilization.
- Layer 2 mapping that reveals how devices are connected to each other for troubleshooting purposes.
Choosing the right network mapping tool
In order to reduce the costs of your network management and mitigate potential downtime costs, you’ll have to increase your network spending. However, the rewards from using the right network mapping tool are high compared to relatively low costs.
If you’re looking for a tool that can provide excellent network visibility, choose network mapping software that can map all of your devices in real time, monitor non-standard equipment, and provide rich features for a relatively low cost.
Click through the presentation below to see all eight top challenges of network monitoring.
See a list of 60+ essential features a network mapping tool should provide in our feature comparison checklist.