Don’t you sometimes wonder why network management isn’t a bigger focus for equipment vendors? All network engineers and admins want their stuff to be easier to manage but it seems like no one is listening. Ultimately better management makes your life easier and saves your company money so how could you go wrong? But here we are on the precipice of the cloud era and network management’s wagon is still hitched to the tired old SNMP pony, are all network equipment vendors evil? Is there a giant conspiracy with network management software vendors and equipment vendors to perpetuate the status quo?
Alas, the truth is likely far more mundane, and you’re not going to like this, but you asked for it. No really. You asked for it. I know, you’re thinking – when did I ask for less and crappy management? Well you asked for it when you agreed to buy the equipment with the minimum of management features, when you agreed to renew the software and support subscriptions for that hardware without a view into what was being worked on or with a view that didn’t include management. Equipment vendors are like all of us, they build what the customers ask for and that is hardware features, management instrumentation and software always plays second fiddle because customers allow it to play second fiddle. Of course, there’s the added complication that hardware vendors aren’t really software experts and hardware sales really drive the top line growth for them so there’s little incentive to develop great software beyond what’s needed to make the sale.
Ok, so now you’ve asked – “May I have more management please sir?” (my twist on Dickens famous words, no pun intended). But really, it’s not more that you need is it? What problems are you trying to solve that you can’t with today’s instrumentation? It’s not to say that there haven’t been times where more management instrumentation was the answer. You will all recall a time when you needed more insight into traffic and SNMP was not sufficient and so a myriad of flow protocols were developed and for the most part they’ve addressed the needs of the many – so needs will get addressed by the market. So with today’s challenges what problems are you trying to solve that you can’t? And if you can’t is it the instrumentation in the hardware or is it that old heavy weight management framework that you’re still trying to get to bend to your will.
Remember you may say you want things, but if you behave like you don’t need it your vendors and partners will listen to those cues. So if it’s better management software that you want, then put your $ where you mouth is and let’s make decisions that reflect those priorities.