Network Monitoring: Everything you need to know

Most networks are monitored, but it seems that many people don’t understand the full value and importance of network monitoring solution. Below are a few tips that will help you make the most out of your network monitoring efforts.

Monitor as much as you can

Most network devices are monitored by SNMP, which makes it easier to retrieve data from a network device if your monitoring systems is capable of SNMP polling. If you add in as many network devices as possible, you’ll have the ability to start building up a large awareness of how your network is doing, providing a complete view of capacity or any hot spots in your network.

Graph all the interfaces, alert on some and value your alerts

It’s important to monitor everything, but let’s be sensible here, no one wants to see a SMS every time a user reboots their PC. Add some value to your alerting by customizing alerts to only highlight issues when it is relevant. Some strategies to consider include alerting when an uplink fails on a switch or look at supressing alerts when a larger failure happens to avoid your phone receiving 200 SMS’s.

Do it once, do it right

One of the best ways you can save time in your day is by standardization. Try using templates to standardize your monitoring roll out, making sure that each host is monitored with the same series of checks. This will also make it a lot easier to roll out new checks and metrics when required.

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More than just utilization and events

Most enterprise grade switches offer some form of flow collection. Don’t miss out on this capability. Look at using those flows with some form of network analyzer package to give you a clear view of what traffic is crossing your network in a way that port counters just don’t provide. The value of any flow based monitoring will pay off tenfold when you have a slowdown or a DDoS, and you can see exactly where the problem lies.

Download monitoring software and demonstrate your success though reporting

If you take advantage of the above advice, this final tip will allow you to show off a bit. Start collecting uptime statistics and present the data to your managerial team. Stakeholders are always happy to see a report that says 100% availability this month, as it means that the IT operations teams are doing their jobs well.