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Assessing Network Management Challenges

Level 10

Network Management doesn’t have to be overly complex, but a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished is important. In a previous blog series I had talked about the need for a tools team to help in this process, a cross functional team may be critical in defining these criteria.

  1. Determine What is Important—What is most important to your organization is likely different than that of your peers at other organizations, albeit somewhat similar in certain regards. Monitoring everything isn’t realistic and may not even be valuable if nothing is done with the data that is being collected. Zero in on the key metrics that define success and determine how to best monitor those.
  2. Break it Down into Manageable Pieces—Once you’ve determined what is important to the business, break that down into more manageable portions. For example if blazing fast website performance is needed for an eCommerce site, consider dividing this into network, server, services, and application monitoring components.
  3. Maintain an Open System—There is nothing worse than being locked into a solution that is inflexible. Leveraging APIs that can tie disparate systems together is critical in today’s IT environments. Strive for a single source of truth for each of your components and exchange that information via vendor integrations or APIs to make the system better as a whole.
  4. Invest in Understanding the Reporting—Make the tools work for you, a dashboard is simply not enough. Most of the enterprise tools out there today offer robust reporting capabilities, however these often go unimplemented.
  5. Review, Revise, Repeat—Monitoring is rarely a “set and forget” item, it should be in a constant state of improvement, integration, and evaluation to enable better visibility into the environment and the ability to deliver on key business values.
13 Comments

Short & sweet.  K.I.S.S.

MVP
MVP

short-simple-concise !

Level 20

And in Orion reports can be on your dashboards!!!

What I've learned.

1. Determine What is Important - Seek help to help determine what is, ask others what they are doing, etc. Picking these all by yourself may be dangerous especially if you are monitoring for security as well as availability/performance.

2. Break Down into Manageable Pieces - Spend the necessary time to get granular. You'll be happy that you'll did. There is always that one interface, that one logfile, that one account, that will get missed and it will come back and bite you later. Don't be afraid to whiteboard and be colorful!

3. Maintain an Open System - Rigidity and inflexibility equates to $$$, directly and indirectly, down the line. If you can't read the writing on the IT wall these days: Agile, SDN... then you are missing the boat with IT flexibility.

4. Invest in Understanding the Reporting - Reports are important. Report on nothing and then test those reports. Example: I have a bi-weekly report on who is accessing the Admin account on Core SAP server. 51 weeks a year it is blank. The 52nd week it has one entry because I have someone login as a test to prove that my report is not producing a false negative.

5. Review, Revise, Repeat - If you follow ITIL then Monitoring should have a seat at the table for the Change Advisory Board. Monitoring should be represented within Enterprise Architecture and during the early stages of every project, IT and non-IT. Because let's face it, everything touches IT one way or another. And there will be a critical process defined and that process will need to be monitored.

Level 21

I really like #2!  All too often I see really important projects fail because folks are trying to take on too much and boil the ocean all at once.

MVP
MVP

Number 5 is right on the money. Monitoring is always evolving.

Level 11

Number three, definitely. No piece of your environment should be irreplaceable, human, kit, service provider, or otherwise. In addition to the inherent vulnerabilities that creates for you, it ensures that you will stagnate, since those parts can't change or evolve naturally as the rest of your environment does. And as we all know, stagnation is just slow death.

Level 13

I can't tell you how important number 1 is. I've had staff come to me with "hey, look at this, how about this", and I'm like "so what? how does that impact our business units?"

Level 14

Right to the point!!! Excellent job here!

Points.... #1 It's about the business

#5 and things change all the time.... your monitoring efforts need to adjust as well....

Level 13

I like it short and sweet

Level 14

Well said, straight forward and to the point.

Level 15

interesting

Level 13

how about an article on addressing Network Manager challenges...:-)

About the Author
Shaun Neal is a Solution Architect with enterprise networking, security and mobility expertise. Additionally, Shaun is engaged in wireless product development, deployment, integration and go to market strategies. His experience aligns information technology and the organizational mission to create service orientated architecture design and see it through implementation.