Uptime monitoring is the crucial network monitoing feature that paramounts the entire network health and performance. Uptime denotes the duration or percentage of time that a particular device or an IT system remains operational. Uptime of network devices for any time frame can be calculated using this formula: uptime = (duration of device unavailability)/(total time frame).

The ideal uptime of a network is 100 percent, which is very hard to achieve due to several limiting factors. 99.999 percent uptime is the most practical alternative to aim for, which translates to a meager 5.25 minutes of network unavailability per year. This doesn't leave much room for error, especially considering networks can become unavailable for a number of reasons. Network outages fall into two primary categories: planned events and unplanned events.

Planned events: This is when the IT team intentionally takes down the network to complete important tasks that need to be performed to keep the network up and running. This includes network troubleshooting, hardware and software installation, updating device configuration, running compliance checks, network scaling, and more. This causes almost no impact on overall business productivity.

Unplanned events: This refers to sudden outages that occur due to unforeseen circumstances such as system failures, distributed denial-of-service attacks, human errors, improper resource allocation, and more. This results in unintended business interruptions amounting to millions of dollars in losses for organizations around the world every year.

To avert such losses and ensure continued network availability across different geographic locations, constantly monitoring uptime is essential.

Why is uptime an important parameter to be monitored?

Uptime Monitoring Software - ManageEngine OpManager

The losses suffered by a company due to lack of an effective uptime monitoring software has been consistently on the rise. It is estimated that, on average, every minute of unplanned downtime results in losses of $5,600 per minute or over $300,000 an hour.

While these numbers are shocking, money isn't the only parameter of concern. Brand value, productivity, and cost of repairs are other factors that are on the line, that emphasize the importance of uptime performance monitoring in network management.

Monitoring uptime is important for the following reasons:

  • The ideal uptime of a network is 100%. Uptime monitoring helps find whether the network has reached the maximum achievable uptime of 99.999%.
  • Uptime monitoring ensures uninterrupted functioning of network devices, thereby preventing unexpected network downtime and ensuring smooth business operations.
  • Without uptime monitoring, the IT admins will be too late before they detect that a network component is experiencing downtime. Such a delay in response can erode the organization its goodwill and revenues.

Challenges in uptime monitoring

  • Monitoring diverse IT infrastructure components: The number of vendors and the devices they manufacture keeps increasing. When a growing IT infrastructure makes use of these diverse devices, the complexity in managing them shoots up.
  • Managing the flood of alerts: When parent devices fail, their children devices will consecutively stop responding, causing a barrage of alerts.
  • Eliminating human error: Improper device configuration, installation of unstable updates, scheduling unauthorized device downtime, and similar unhealthy practices affect uptime of network devices. 
  • Identifying and troubleshooting issues proactively: Taking a reactive approach to fixing issues is an age-old practice. Being able to identify uptime related issues proactively and nipping them in the bud will save a lot of time and resources.
  • Visibility across IT infrastructure components: Monitoring the uptime of a large number of devices can be a challenging task especially when they belong to various categories and are spread across several locations.

Uptime monitoring services offered by ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager's real-time uptime monitor periodically scans the health and availability of your IT infrastructure components and helps in fixing issues to ensure your network is up and running 24/7. OpManager performs device availability checks using Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) ping and Telnet, which is used to identify edge routers and demilitarized zone (DMZ) devices.

The various reliable solutions to monitor uptime offered by OpManager are:

IT Infrastructure component uptime monitoring

Device uptime monitoring

OpManager's uptime monitor pings your network devices once every two minutes by default, and if the device fails to respond after two attempts,OpManager will categorize it as an unavailable device. Pinging is a reliable way for IT admins across the globe to identify device availability. To poll devices,OpManager's uptime monitoring tool uses ICMP ping.

If you are in an environment that prohibits ICMP (such as a DMZ) or want to monitor your edge devices, you can choose OpManager's Telnet feature instead. Telnet contains a five-minute default polling interval and four status indicators to give you accurate device statuses.

Interface uptime monitoring

OpManager's network uptime monitoring system makes use of Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to determine the availability of interfaces in your network. These interface statuses are available as individual device statuses, Layer-2 network maps, business views, or custom device groups.

Server uptime monitoring

Server availability is the critical parameter in server monitoring. OpManager's server uptime monitoring tool uses ICMP, TCP, and SNMP to monitor availability . You can configure monitoring interval and automate the monitoring process to avoid server downtime. Once the server uptime monitoring is scheduled, OpManager automatically runs the server uptime monitoring service to track and update the server uptime in real-time.

With OpManager as a Linux and Windows server uptime monitor, you can proactively keep a track of server health and availability as it constantly communicates with servers using different protocols like the WMI and SNMP. OpManager also has a responsive mechanism to resolve server faults as and when they occur and restore server uptime . Reports, on the other hand, helps you understand how your servers are performing and the nature of faults.

Website uptime monitoring

In today's competitive IT market, you cannot take a chance to leave your customers with the error message, "This site is not reachable", even for a minute. Averting this requires 24 X 7 monitoring of your website for availability and performance. With constant monitoring of website uptime, you can providently identify website problems, before they escalate into substantial downtime and lost revenue.

Monitor crucial websites for availability around the clock using OpManager's URL monitor. You can configure URL monitor to monitor URLs, virtual hosts, and the intranet. OpManager's website uptime monitoring restore compromised websites immediately; monitor web server farms; determine if parts of your web application are down; monitor web applications with a login; and more.

Application uptime monitoring

Tracking availability and uptime of applications is crucial to ensure smooth functioning of business operations. OpManager's application uptime monitor uses default performance metrics to monitor health and availability of Active Directory/Exchange/ MSSQL servers. You can also configure threshold values and adjust polling frequencies to keep an eye on uptime of critical applications.

OpManager supports Exchange 2000/2003, Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010, Exchange 2013, Exchange 2016, Exchange 2019 servers.

Service uptime monitoring

Service availability is server availability. Monitoring system-level services for availability and response time is essential to ensure that your application and server management plan is complete. A service uptime monitor like OpManager proactively monitors availability and response time for a number of services including DNS, SMTP, LDAP, Telnet, HTTPS, MSSQL, MySQL, and many more. This level of monitoring is essential to identify or restore faulty applications quickly when a service turns dormant.

OpManager's service monitoring capabilities also provide you detailed reports and graphs on availability and uptime of the services that you are monitoring. This helps analyze historical data and take a call on fault management activities.

Windows service uptime monitoring

OpManager's uptime performance monitoring utilizes Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) protocol to monitor Windows services uptime and does not require an additional agent to be installed. With OpManager's Windows service monitor, you can automate certain actions such as restarting the service or the server when the Windows service is down, stopping a service that is currently running, and more. This helps reduce redundant workload from network admins plate and focus on critical tasks.

Process uptime monitoring

Process uptime monitoring is important to understand the availability and performance of each critical process associated with the applications or services running on the server. With OpManager's uptime monitoring tool, monitor processes running on servers remotely for their uptime and performance. OpManager uses multiple protocols (SNMP/ WMI/CLI) and monitors processes running on Windows, Linux, Solaris, UNIX, VMware servers, virtual machines, and more.

With OpManager's process monitor, you can also gain in-depth visibility into the load source of system resources. If the resource utilization of a particular process exceeds the set threshold, OpManager sends out alerts instantly and you will be notified in no time.

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