Every IT team scales its organization and practices to fit an evolving set of inter-related business, network, user, and security requirements. Any sized team must have tools that facilitate the basic work of deploying network devices (switches, routers, physical and virtual servers, desktop and laptop computers, IP and smartphones) and managing all of those devices as well as the users who depend of the network for the work they do for their business.
Monitoring nodes, users, applications, and the different kinds of network traffic, and addressing issues that impact performance and security are twin daily challenges. And a good alerting system is the key to efficiently relating monitoring to management.
The Power of Visualized Information
Trends in graphs and percentages in charts effectively tell the story of what’s happening with the different aspects of your network at the interface, node, and traffic level. Send the results of your measures to reports and your team gets a snapshot of daily, weekly, and monthly behavior. Policy adjustments, configuration changes, and capacity planning all depend on the metrics against which your monitoring systems generate its graphical information. Without these statistics an IT team’s anticipation and planning would be trapped on the edge of impending crisis; planning would be through the guesses occasioned by crises.
Seeing the Whole through the Particular
The most powerful view of your network is the one that shows how particular nodes are connected to each other. A set of alerts tell you what the team needs to triage; those same alerts distributed as signals on a topology map show how the pattern of alerts indicate—for example—that a particular switch sits in the path of all the nodes currently sending alerts. Triage becomes much more finely focused when you can see how impacted nodes are interconnected.
Among the requirements for a mapping tool that integrates with the other pieces of your monitoring system should be these:
- Provides accurate, deep, and maintainable network discovery, using multiple discovery methods (SNMP, ICMP, WMI, CDP, VMWare) to map all types of devices (switches, routers, servers, VMs, unmanaged nodes, desktop computers, peripheral devices) and their interconnections; and using scheduled rediscovery to regularly reconfirm topology details.
- Enhances node management (by integrating with the primary node monitoring system), creating a visual analogue for all nodes being monitored; showing node details (including load stats) with rollover graphics down to the interface level; and capable of generating reports on switch ports, VLANs, subnets, and device inventory.
- Facilitates IT monitoring, planning, trouble-shooting workflows by being able to export maps to multiple formats (for example, Visio, PNG, PDF & NTM Map format).
Check-out SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper as a mapping tool that satisfies all of these requirements.