Complexity, heterogeneity and network loading are steadily increasing, making the use of Network Management solutions a prerequisite for resilience. Of course, the cost issue remains, but Datanet specialists can help you quickly cushion them and get a better return on investment.
It’s 9 in the morning, you just came to the office and some of your early bird colleagues have already called you, complaining that the network is slow. The first thing that comes to your mind is a switch that has made you problems in the past and that you believed was “fixed”. You may be right, but the problem is that you will not remember where the switch is located and what it is connected to. You can browse Excel spreadsheets and older charts, but you still cannot find it. And time passes and you get more and more phones from irritated users who are reporting performance issues…
Such a situation is frequent, because the development of a company means increasing the number of employees, subsidiaries, work points, partners and clients, which inevitably leads to increased loading, complexity and heterogeneity of the network. Furthermore, if the network evolution is not documented and updated to date, it is easy to lose track of connected equipment over time. Manually creating diagrams or keeping data in excel means effort and lost time and the result is perishable because you will go through the same hassle every time you replace a piece of equipment, make extensions or enter new applications and services.
What does a Network Management platform do?
Unlike manual methods that are affected by inherent errors and latencies, Network Management Platforms (NMP) automatically make an extensive inventory of all network-connected equipment with the associated configurations, delivering a real-time “live” map of the IT infrastructure in your company.
The immediate advantage of NMP systems is that you benefit from an up-to-date and accurate picture of your network and know where your devices are, what applications they run, how they are connected, etc.
Management platforms will help you achieve tangible earnings on several levels:
- Earn time and increase efficiency. In medium-sized companies, but not only, IT staff is under-dimensioned and has a high load. Fortunately, monitoring a network with the help of a dedicated platform does not require a full-time employee. Modern network management applications constantly control the operating status of devices, traffic, latency of applications and equipment, availability levels, and update their status on the network map in real time, giving notifications only when certain predefined thresholds are exceeded. You don’t need to keep an eye on the monitor for hours, you can rely on the NMP to inform you when a change that needs your attention comes in. For example, Datanet specialists can help you set critical values for certain devices and choose the method and frequency at which to issue alerts when these thresholds are reached or exceeded. Modern network management applications will provide permanent access to dashboards and maps, so you can control the network wherever you are..
- Detect and fix issues faster. Network maps provide real-time information about the equipment’s performance status, simplifying the detection of situations that run out of the usual operating pattern. Because platforms inventory each device and display all physical connections between them, identification of problem devices is made much faster. NMP systems allow you to instantly get key information about availability levels, packet loss, response time, traffic level, error rate and many other data to help you, by simply clicking on a particular device, to identify and eliminate the cause of a problem without losing hours or days to find out what caused the malfunction.
- Build viable development plans. The intensive use of mobility, Cloud services and new generations of applications constantly force the boundaries of traditional networks. In addition, all of these factors increase the IT department’s load level, which has to put extra effort to deliver a good user experience to its employees, partners and end customers. To be able to quickly and efficiently perform these tasks, you need to know where and how to supplement network resources, which equipment should be replaced, what compatibility requirements to be respected, what configurations have to be changed, their application effect, etc.. NMP systems will provide accurate information about consumer trends, indicating where is necessary, for example, to provide additional devices or hardware updates. There are actual data that you can present to your management and will provide real chances to get the budget needed for proactive upgrades.
- Enhance network security. Computer attacks have democratized – no one is free of risk, any organization, regardless of size, is exposed. But not all of them can afford advanced security systems, even if they are aware of the risks involved. Network management platforms can partially offset these limitations by providing real-time information about the source and nature of network traffic. Regular monitoring of critical equipment makes it easy to detect suspect changes in incoming and outgoing traffic. The in-depth visibility of network activity will help you identify early potential problems and eliminate vulnerabilities before they turn into greater security issues.
The pro-NMP plea is not just about the benefits mentioned above, however this category of earnings can be quickly obtained and capitalized with a system integrator like Datanet Systems.
Solutions for all common scenarios
Currently, Datanet Systems owns three network management solutions in its portfolio:
- Cisco Prime Infrastructure;
- Infosim StableNet;
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.
Why three solutions? Because through them, Datanet addresses specific needs, adapting to each company’s requirements. For example, Cisco is a unified management platform for “Wired” and “Wireless” networks, that provides visibility and control over all applications running in the network and comes with predefined templates for configuring functionality.
The Infosim application includes extensive management capabilities across servers, applications and services, enabling process management and automation. StableNet has advanced equipment monitoring and configuration management capabilities, with backup and restore options, auditing, and more.
The NPM solution provided by SolarWinds is primarily targeted at companies operating medium to small networks. The application, which has a modular structure, is very flexible and can be customized to the needs of any company, ensuring monitorization of any type of equipment.
PrimeInfrastructure finds its applicability in predominantly Cisco enterprise networks, being a useful tool especially through the visibility it offers over wireless infrastructure, while the Infosim solution is designed to serve heterogeneous environments and large networks with a multi-node architecture. In companies with small-scaled networks, SolarWinds can be a scalable management solution, especially because it supports multivendor equipment. In front of PrimeInfrastructure and SolarWinds, Infosim is recommended in service provider networks, offering the capability to create an extended sensor beacon for a wide and diverse set of parameters.The intuitive graphical interface of the three solutions allows you to monitor, prevent and solve the emerging events in the shortest possible time, thus meeting the need for companies to have an uninterrupted availability of network services and equipment. Faruk Hairedin, Senior security consultant Datanet Systems
Free solutions are actually expensive
Given that IT department budgets are not overly generous, there are companies that opt for a free NMP or Open Source systems. It’s a viable option only in the short term, because the limitations are discovered very quickly.
First of all, there is a lack of support in implementation, configuration, personalization and maintenance – without having the skills and experience of specialists, training and technical support 24/7, by relying on online documentation is difficult to guarantee timely detection and resolution of problems.
You can learn through the “Trial and error” method, but you have to consciously take on the associated costs, which cancels out the idea of free. The “free” option still has a critical aspect – the limited functionality. Freeware products do not benefit from extensive functionality and their development and improvement is done at random intervals. To compensate for these minuses, you should turn to other complementary applications and risk running into a mix of applications that are difficult to integrate and manage.
Open source solutions partially offset this minus, providing sophisticated functionality, but customizing and configuring them in your work environment can take dozens of hours of work, which you will obviously have to pay for. This option does not guarantee the product’s development and constant updating and will make it dependent on a limited number of specialists in a niche field.
From this perspective, business solutions remain the safest way to monitor, diagnose and manage your network efficiently. And if you have problems with cost approval, do a little mathematical exercise – estimate how much it would cost you not to run the network for X hours at a peak time and how much time and effort you can save with an NMP solution that will help you quickly find and fix the problem. The savings that are obtained quickly depreciate acquisition and implementation costs, and Datanet specialists can guarantee a high return on investment.
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