Switches are integral parts of a network, as they dictate the flow of communication between servers, workstations, and all other network devices. As one of the major manufacturers of network switches, Cisco has provided organizations with a myriad of models that serve diverse hardware requirements and functions. Cisco switches, like any other network components, are predisposed to performance degradation and malfunctions, and many times, this can be attributed to the mismanagement of Cisco switch ports.
It's imperative to monitor Cisco ports for their availability, as it helps determine underutilized, overutilized, and disabled ports. Also, ports are potential hotspots for malicious actors to break into, so the traffic passing via these ports should be constantly monitored. Manual inspection of individual ports for availability and performance isn't feasible due to the enormous scale of networks. To eliminate these concerns and to streamline port monitoring, network administrators should invest in a dedicated Cisco port monitor.
The following are some of the major pitfalls faced by network administrators without a dedicated Cisco port monitor in place:
Port mirroring, also known as Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) with respect to Cisco switches, is the process by which port traffic to the port under observation (source port) is duplicated or mirrored, and sent across to a port (destination port) on the same switch to be captured or monitored using analyzer software on the device connected to that port.
Cisco SPAN enables you to monitor traffic via three modes:
OpManager is a comprehensive network monitoring tool with which network administrators can monitor their network infrastructure for performance, health, and availability. It also doubles as a Cisco port monitor to check all your switch ports for availability, port speed, traffic, bandwidth utilization, etc. OpManager is compatible with almost all of Cisco's switch models, and can integrate with them seamlessly.
OpManager's built-in port monitoring module probes the target Cisco ports in your network by sending IP packets to each port. Based on the response from the ports, OpManager classifies ports as open, listening, or closed. This renders visibility into the availability of the ports, the services running on them, and the devices mapped to each port.
OpManager's Cisco port monitor's capabilities include:
OpManager's Cisco port monitor helps map the devices connected to individual ports virtually on its web console. For this, you'll have to upload the mapping of the physical ports and switch ports in a CSV file into OpManager. OpManager's Cisco port monitor automatically retrieves the VLAN details and the virtual IP addresses of a device, then detects all the devices connected to a port. Apart from this, OpManager also allows you to block or unblock a switch port from within the web client. This prevents unsolicited traffic entering via those ports, bolstering network security.
OpManager's built-in Cisco port monitor module monitors interfaces for performance and availability. OpManager monitors critical metrics of interfaces like link speed, hop count, time delay, bandwidth utilization, traffic data, etc. OpManager presents this data in the form of graphs, dials, and tables on the device's dedicated snapshot page.
OpManager possesses more than 53,000 vendor templates and 9,000 device templates. It'ss compatible with almost all of Cisco's switch series and models ,and integrates with them seamlessly. OpManager also has more than 230 predefined interface templates, which are associated to interfaces as soon as they are discovered. These templates associate relevant performance monitors to interfaces for performance and availability monitoring.
OpManager detects anomalies in port activity and reports them via alert notifications. Using OpManager, configure multi-level thresholds for performance metrics and monitor for violations. The violations are depicted using color-coded alarms based on severity levels. These alarms can be escalated to concerned personnel if left unattended, and can be acknowledged to avoid redundant examination. The alerts can also be broadcasted via multiple media like email, SMS, or Slack notifications.
OpManager's Cisco port monitor logs all the events performed using the tool with the name of the user, and the date and time of the event. This helps administrators track and audit the changes made using OpManager. Administrators can also track the device that was previously connected to a Cisco switch port from the previous scan results saved in the history.
OpManager's Cisco port monitor offers holistic reports on your Cisco switch port's availability. These reports can be scheduled or extracted on demand, and can be exported as CSV, PDF, or XLS files. Apart from availability reports, OpManager also provides reports on: