Helping you, a present or future SolarWinds user, to determine how best to manage your network is pretty much Job #1 for me and the rest of us posting on Geek Speak. A lot of the time, hopefully, that means we are providing some great new IT insights that will blow your mind. Sometimes we don't. And every now and then we point you to some other great information we've uncovered somewhere else that is pretty cool.

 

This is one of those times.

 

As it is, I want to send you over to the SolarWinds Resource Center, and, since network monitoring is sort of my bailiwick, I'd like to direct your attention to one whitepaper in particular: "How to create the Ultimate Network Management Dashboard" (pdf, 971kb).

 

Our very own brad.hale whipped this up for you. Here's a little taste:

Dashboards are the visual interfaces that present to us the status overview of all the critical elements that are monitored by the network management system (NMS). Without an effective and user-friendly dashboard to display monitoring results, an NMS will not fully deliver on its promise.

 

Here are some top reasons why effective dashboards are vital in an NMS:

  • A network admin needs to address issues immediately and a dashboard must be able to display actual data in real-time in easily conceivable formats.
  • Dashboards must be easily customizable to allow the network administrator to create tailormade views to present data.
  • The extent of presenting data may vary between various user groups in an organization. Having a flexible filtering mechanism to choose display data for senior executives, business units or compliance will make reports more meaningful.
  • Allowing the network administrator to create different login accounts and issue tractable access rights will simplify management efforts.
  • To be able to provide adept alerting and detailed reporting capabilities, the dashboard must support a deep-dive approach to reach the very root of the network problem and show the cause of failure of an event.
  • Navigation will be a key aspect of having a dashboard put to detailed use. Navigation between screens, nodes, maps, views, etc. should be easy to execute.
  • Integration with other products, if there may arise a need to combine the monitoring view with compatible software or appliances, can be a sought out feature for network and system administrators.
  • Enabling the possibility to interact with a networking community to quickly access discussions, ideas, suggestions and subject matter expertise will always be a valuable add-on.
  • Dashboards are the foundation on which the integral network monitoring features of alerts and reporting are built. To provide the ultimate network management dashboard is to complement the alerting and reporting features with high proficiency.

 

He follows this introduction with a few straightforward steps to set up your ultimate Network Management Dashboard. In future posts, I'll come back to expand a few of his steps. Of course, if you've already got a pretty sweet setup, you can always cruise around thwack to find other SolarWinds users with whom you can share (i.e. show off) your own NMS mods.