As federal technology environments become more complex, the processes and practices used to monitor those environments must evolve to stay ahead of -- and mitigate -- potential risks and challenges.
Network monitoring is one of the core IT management processes that demands focus and attention in order to be effective. In fact, there are five characteristics of advanced network monitoring that signal a forward-looking, sophisticated solution:
Dependency-aware network monitoring
Intelligent alerting systems
Dynamic network mapping
Application-aware network performance
It might be time to start thinking about evolving your monitoring solution to keep up.
1. Dependency-aware network monitoring
Network monitoring is a relatively basic function, sending status pings from devices on your agency’s network so you know they’re operational. Some solutions offer a little bit more with the ability to see connectivity -- which devices are connected to each other.
A sophisticated network monitoring system, however, provides all dependency information: what’s connected, network topology, device dependencies and routing protocols. This type of solution then takes that dependency information and builds a theoretical picture of the health of your agency’s network to help you effectively prioritize network alerts.
2. Intelligent alerting system
The key to implementing an advanced network monitoring solution is having an intelligent alerting system that triggers alerts based on dynamic baselines calculated from historical data. An alerting system that understands the dependencies among devices can significantly reduce the number of alerts being escalated.
Intelligent alerting will also allow an organization to “tune” alerts so that admins get only one ticket when there is a storm of similar events, or that alerts are sent only after a condition has persisted for a significant period of time.
3. Capacity forecasting
An agency wide view of utilization for key metrics, including bandwidth, disk space, CPU and RAM, plays two very important roles in capacity forecasting:
1. When you have a baseline, you can see how far above or below normal the network is functioning; you can see trends over time and can be prepared for changes on your network.
2. Because procurement can be a lengthy process, having the ability to forecast capacity requirements months in advance allows you to have a solution in place when the capacity is needed.
4. Dynamic network mapping
Dynamic network mapping allows you to take dependency information one step further and display it on a single screen, with interactive, dynamic maps that can display link utilization, device performance metrics, automated geolocation and wireless heat maps.
5. Application-aware network performance
Users often blame the application, but is it really the application? Application-aware network performance monitoring collects information on individual applications as well as network data and correlates the two to determine what is causing an issue. You’ll be able to see if it is the application itself causing the issue or if there is a problem on the network.
As I mentioned, federal technology environments are getting more complex; at the same time, budgets remain tight. Evolving your network monitoring solution will help with both of these challenges -- it will keep you ahead of the technology curve and help meet budget and forecasting challenges.
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