Network administrators work endlessly to maintain high quality network services for business critical processes and applications to run smoothly. They are expected to monitor and deliver high network performance, without any downtime. While, achieving this has been daunting for network administrators, the need for ‘high network availability’ has increased manifold in recent years.


What is High Availability for Network?

High availability (HA) can refer to the degree to which a network device, application, or other component in an IT infrastructure is operable and meeting service level objectives. Network Management Systems (NMS) are often used to track the performance and responsiveness of applications and the servers on which they run and to document that high availability is being maintained in a network. Network availability is typically included in SLAs established for IT departments. Hence, monitoring your network performance on a regular basis becomes a necessity.


How can an NMS help achieve HA?

Enterprises struggle to sustain their target network availability objectives when they try to scale up with their network, and when network bottlenecks occur it can be difficult to ensure network availability. Network Monitoring Systems can help administrators by monitoring and detecting any network issues. It helps them to determine the root cause of the issue and troubleshoot.


Network device availability can monitored by an NMS using ICMP to poll the devices for response time & status.  By monitoring various network performance indicators, such as disk space, CPU load, memory utilization, bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, errors, discards, quality of service for SNMP-enabled devices, an NMS can help administrators to make sure that nothing affects their network availability. For instance, monitoring hardware performance using an NMS will help you get alerted when the CPU is overloaded with tasks, which can risk an organization’s network performance and availability.


What if your NMS fails?

When network administrators monitor and analyze network performance or uptime, the quality of the network data entirely depends on the continuity of the NMS in their environment. To make the NMS available at all times, administrators must have a contingency plan in the event of a system failure.

A Failover solution can ensure NMS availability in a network environment if the server goes down, but only for a particular time period. This process is kept in place to provide monitoring of network availability for a short period, until network administrators solve the issue. There are three different approaches that can help administrators while implementing a failover protection.

  • Active – Active Solution: Administrators have two active servers which have their NMS up & running, and mirroring the application, database, etc.
  • Active – Passive Solution (High Availability): Administrators have the NMS running in an active/primary server and in the event of failure the secondary/passive server takes over with all processes for continuity. This is normally implemented over the LAN.
  • Active – Passive Solution (Disaster Recovery): Implemented over the WAN at the time of failure, a secondary/passive server in the different location takes over so to the end users they just continue to access the applications as they would normally use.

Normally, an NMS follows the Active – Passive Solution for achieving high network availability. On the other hand, Disaster Recovery is a back-up strategy especially when your failover solution falls apart. As businesses largely depend on the availability of various services, enterprises can use an NMS and Failover solution together for uninterrupted network monitoring and achieve high network availability.


NMS and Failover Protection

Network monitoring solution helps you to keep network’s high availability and with a Failover solution, network administrators can keep network up and running.


SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor helps you monitor your network, proactively detect problems and helps you in troubleshooting. Now with a Failover Engine, network administrators can be sure that they never lose network visibility for a short time frame.