Network Monitoring Tools

What is your first reaction on a network fault? A direct login to the device is not a recommended approach to start troubleshooting an alert. Providing an access to every team member for all the devices in the network has associated risks and is an option that does not scale in expanding teams. That said, you would like the team to be equipped with the required utilities such as an advanced network troubleshooting tool that lets them quickly troubleshoot any performance issues in the network. Instant access to the network troubleshooting tools help isolate a fault quickly and empowers one to take corrective action to resolve the fault as soon as possible.

How should you select a network monitoring tool?

Basic Features

Network monitoring and diagnostic tools provide the basic core monitoring requirements like bandwidth, availability and usage. The specifics to look in an efficient network monitoring tool are extensive support for common protocols (SNMP, WMI, CLI) and technologies (NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow and Packet sniffing). It is essential to choose a network tool with these basic attributes for better network management.

For better network management it is very vital to choose a tool which also performs as a network auditing tool. Configurable alert notifications, reporting capabilities, and customizable dashboards are other features to keep in mind for ease of use and accessibility. Understanding the basic requirements and factoring in on the essentials is necessary when it comes to choosing the right network monitoring solution. But apart from the features, there are several more critical aspects to keep in mind when selecting the right tool.

A network monitoring / network troubleshooting software with these features will enhance the task of network monitoring. While these are essential features you can also look for additional attributes that will reduce the work of the network auditing personnel.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Network monitor tools have the potential to incorporate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as both these technologies thrive on data. With machine learning, network monitoring tools can adapt to the networking environment and provide suggestions based on the data available.

How AI & ML helps in Network Monitoring?

  • Load sharing based on usage.
  • Smarter Notification Profiles.
  • Network adaptation and the ability to take corrective actions automatically.
  • Forecasting.

Automation

With rapid development in artificial intelligence, automation is at a tipping point. In network monitoring, automation helps network monitor tools to react based on threshold values or a set of framed rules/ criteria being met. With automation, the monitoring tool can automatically detect and troubleshoot problems (proactive monitoring), send alert notifications. A network monitoring software also provide suggestions for better network performance and maintenance based on usage and priority.

Benefits of automation in network monitoring:

  • The ability to automate repetitive tasks.
  • Automated configuration and backup deployment across devices.
  • Automatically discover and monitor new devices.
  • Troubleshoot and take corrective measures proactively.
  • Scheduled report generation.

Scope

A common problem faced by IT operators and system administrators is the lack of visibility. A network monitoring tool that provides comprehensive, detailed visibility into various monitoring aspects of the network in a consolidated manner would be useful. Moreover a network monitoring tool that also provides the flexibility of choosing what you want to see, will help you to stay on top of your network. The information from these various tools must be presented in a common screen with at-a-glance charts and intuitive graphs. A network monitor tool can be enhanced to perform more advanced operations with the help of addons and options for integrating other tools.

Scalability

Network scalability is an important aspect to be considered when selecting enterprise network monitoring tools, especially in recent times where networks are virtual. A network monitoring tool can be called as scalable when it is more adaptable to the changing needs or demands of the business or users. Scalability helps a network to stay in par with increased productivity, trends, changing needs and new adaptations. Scalabiity ensures that the overall network performance does not significantly degrade, even if the size of the network is increasing. For monitoring geographically separated sites, remote network monitoring tools are employed.
 

Common problems with network monitor tools

One of the biggest challenges with network monitor tools is that they do not provide a holistic view of your network. An IT infrastructure may have Hyper-V, Citrix XenServers, Nutanix devices, Cisco UCS, storage devices from multiple vendors, and more. Employing multiple network performance monitoring tools for each of these devices is virtually impossible. As a result, the network management tools are expected to have comprehensive monitoring capabilities

OpManager - Network Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools

ManageEngine OpManager is an all-inclusive network monitor tool that monitors networking devices like switches, routers, interfaces, servers, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServers, Nutanix devices, storage devices, and other netwirking hardware OpManager also has built-in network troubleshooting tools. The following tools funtion as network testing tools and help you to perform the first and second level troubleshooting based on the nature of the network fault, thus making it robust enough to be chosen as an enterprise network monitoring tool. Installing a network test software helps you to identify faults quite easily.

ICMP Ping

It is a network ping tool in ManageEngine OpManager which identifies whether the device is actually mapped on the network or not.

When you receive a 'device down' alert, the first condition that you might want to assess is if the device is reachable. From the device snapshot page in OpManager, do an instant ping and check for response. You can troubleshoot further using the other network monitoring tools if a ping to the device fails, or if the response time is very high.

Network Monitoring Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

Traceroute

When you troubleshoot a device down alert using Ping and the device fails to respond, you can use the Traceroute feature as a quick network testing tool to determine if the device is not reachable because of a failure in the path. Trace the route from OpManager to the destination device, check the number of hops to the monitored device and spot the exact point of delay or outage. Again, this serves as a first level troubleshooting and based on the response, you can switch to other monitoring tools provided in ManageEngine OpManager to drill down a fault.

TraceRoute Network Monitoring Tool

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Switch Port Mapper

OpManager's Switch Port Mapper helps you see the port-wise connectivity of devices to the network switches which is necessary to help troubleshoot high traffic issues. The Switch Port Mapper of the network monitoring tool gives you the MAC address, IP Address and DNS names of the devices connected to the switch.

Network Monitor Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

Real Time Graphs

When there is a high system resource utilization, an instant check on the current resource performance helps in assessing how severe the performance impact is. An unattended resource crunch can lead to many devices going down therby affecting the network performance. Let's assume that you receive a threshold violation alert for memory utilization on a critical server. The first step would be to determine if it is a transient spike or a persistent one. OpManager's real time network monitoring tool comes handy in such cases. The administrator can instantly access and resolve them quickly.

Remote Process Diagnostics

This attribute of the network monitoring tool is very specific to server performance monitoring. Use this to launch the list of Top 10 processes by CPU or Memory utilization from the device snapshot page. This option lets you terminate the offending process immediately and avert a server crash.

SNMP MIB Browser

The MIB Browser tool is a complete SNMP MIB Browser that enables loading and browsing MIBs and allows you to perform all SNMP-related operations. You can also view, operate, and set the data available through the SNMP agent running on a managed device. The in-built trap viewer lets you view all the incoming traps including the devices that are not managed in OpManager. The MIB Browser is a comprehensive network monitoring solution to troubleshoot all SNMP related monitoring issues.

Enterprise Network Monitoring Tools - ManageEngine OpManager

Syslog Viewer

The Syslog Viewer in ManageEngine OpManager lets you view the syslog packets sent by the devices to the OpManager server. This network tool helps an administrator find out if the monitored devices are correctly forwarding the messages to the configured syslog server (OpManager server in this case). You can choose to monitor specific syslog messages by configuring syslog monitoring rules by filtering the rules that match specific criteria.

Telnet/SSH

Establish a CLI session with the Unix devices to troubleshoot quickly. You might want to execute some CLI commands on the device to check what is causing a high CPU utilization on the device and decide to terminate a process or kill a service to free-up the resource. This tool serves as a first and second level troubleshooting utility as it lets you act immediately on certain alerts using CLI commands.

Tools for Network Monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

Remote Desktop Connection

Similar to CLI sessions for the Unix-based devices, you can authenticate to remote Windows devices from OpManager using the Remote Desktop Connection tool and perform the allowed operations on the device.

Browse

The 'Browse' is yet another option to check if a device is reachable. The feature also provides a quick way to know if a device, your web-server for instance is responding to a http/https request. The new generation network devices come with a built-in GUI to telnet to the devices. You can connect to the GUI using the 'http/https' access.

SmartPhone Application

Access your OpManager anytime from anywhere using the new ManageEngine OpManager mobile application. Available for both Android and Apple, this lets you visualize your infrastructure, act on the alerts, drill-down to the root cause of the problem without having to be physically present in your server room to resolve a fault!

Network Monitor Tools - ManageEngine OpManager

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