In today's world, the term network monitoring is widespread throughout the IT industry. Network monitoring is a critical IT process where all networking components like routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and VMs are monitored for fault and performance and evaluated continuously to maintain and optimize their availability. One important aspect of network monitoring is that it should be proactive. Finding performance issues and bottlenecks proactively helps in identifying issues at the initial stage. Efficient proactive monitoring can prevent network downtime or failures.
Important aspects of network monitoring:
Faulty network devices impact network performance. This can be eliminated through early detection and this is why continuous monitoring of network and related devices is essential. In effective network monitoring, the first step is to identify the devices and the related performance metrics to be monitored. The second step is determining the monitoring interval. Devices like desktops and printers are not critical and do not require frequent monitoring whereas servers, routers and switches perform business critical tasks but at the same time have specific parameters that can be selectively monitored.
Monitoring interval determines the frequency at which the network devices and its related metrics are polled to identify the performance and availability status. Setting up monitoring intervals can help to take the load off the network monitoring system and in turn, your resources. The interval depends on the type of network device or parameter being monitored. Availability status of devices have to be monitored the least interval of time preferably every minute. CPU and Memory stats can be monitored once in every 5 minutes. The monitoring interval for other metrics like Disk utilization can be extended and is sufficient if it is polled once every 15 minutes. Monitoring every device at the least interval will only add unnecessary load to the network and is not quite necessary.
When monitoring a network and its devices, a common good practice is to adopt a secure and non-bandwidth consuming network management protocol to minimize the impact it has on network performance. Most of the network devices and Linux servers support SNMP(Simple Network Management Protocol) and CLI protocols and Windows devices support WMI protocol. SNMP is one of the widely accepted protocols to manage and monitor network elements. Most of the network elements come bundled with a SNMP agent. They just need to be enabled and configured to communicate with the network management system (NMS). Allowing SNMP read-write access gives one complete control over the device. Using SNMP, one can replace the entire configuration of the device. A network monitoring system helps the administrator take charge of the network by setting SNMP read/write privileges and restricting control for other users.
Network downtime can cost a lot of money. In most cases, the end-user reports a network issue to the network management team. The reason behind this is a poor approach to proactive network monitoring. The key challenge in real time network monitoring is to identify performance bottlenecks proactively. This is where thresholds play a major role in network monitoring. Threshold limits vary from device to device based on the business use case.
Configuring thresholds helps in proactively monitoring the resources and services running on servers and network devices. Each device can have an interval or threshold value set based on user preference and need. Multi-level threshold can assist in classifying and breaking down any fault encountered. Utilizing thresholds, alerts can also be raised before the device goes down or reaches critical condition.
Data becomes useful only when it is presented clearly to the right audience. It is important for IT administrators and users to know about critical metrics as soon as they log in. A network dashboard should provide an at-a-glance overview of the current status of your network, with critical metrics from routers, switches, firewalls, servers, services, application, URLs, printer, UPS and other Infrastructure devices. Support for widgets to monitor the required specifics and real-time performance graphs can help administrators quickly troubleshoot problems and monitor devices remotely.
What happens when your trusted network monitor is running on a server that crashes or loses network connection? You will want to be alerted on this and also have the situation automatically remedied using a back-up/stand-by of another twin network monitor application installation. High availability refers to the continuous availability of a monitoring system. Every single network incident - device sickness, unhealthy bandwidth levels, DoS attacks etc., should be immediately brought to your notice so that counter-measures can be taken immediately.
Failover and fail-back functionality ensures an always-monitored network environment by utilizing a secondary standby server. If a failure occurs in the primary server, the secondary server is readily available to take over and the database is secure. This ensures a hundred percent network and device uptime.
Benefits of the Failover system:
Features of a network monitoring software: