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Network Management stops finger pointing..

Network management is good, but there are some benefits that are not so apparent at first. It gives you the proof you need when that person calls the help desk and says “the network is slow..” at this point you have to clarify the issue with the user and find out exactly what the problem is. Once you have obtained the details, you can then check your NMS, to find out if there is an issue, one of three things is going to happen, you find a problem and you can correct it, or you don’t find a problem and prove the user is incorrect.

The thing you wont have is “ I don’t know if there is a problem“ and that is the one that will drive you crazy. Because the user is sure there is a problem and unless you can offer authoritative proof the finger pointing cycle will begin, and this is a place no one wants to be. You know there is not a problem with the network, but the user needs proof, Solarwinds Orion is what gives you this proof, that can be taken to the client and say, its not my opinion,  that the network is not slow , here are  the facts.. circuit xyz has a utilization of 20% and is nowhere near being saturated.

I had a user call into the help desk and claim the network was slow, he placed a ticket that his mission critical system was slow and this was causing a production problem. The help desk created a high priority ticket and sent it over to my team. I looked at the ticket and checked my Orion server , for the problem area that was reported I saw no issues,  I created a report to backup my findings. I called the user and explained that based on the facts I have obtained , there was no problem.

The user told me , that there was indeed a problem , he had just moved from building 3  to building 1 and when he was in building one he ran a speedtest from speed test.net and it was five times faster in his old building. He even showed me some print screens of his findings.

In reality , there was no problem, but if I didn’t have the facts to back me up, the finger pointing would start and it would just spiral out of control and at that point nobody would be happy . like they always say “the truth shall set you free”  and it sure did in this case.  

Orion, has saved so much time and frustration, and I sleep better at night knowing that yes there will still be network problems, but I will be able to answer that question, Is there a problem? If yes, then I fix it , if not I can prove it. but I never have to deal with I don’t know, and that my friends is a wonderful thing. Bye, bye  finger pointing hello productive day. How much is your time worth?

10 Comments
Level 12

Thanks Craig... My time is worth more than finger pointing.... ill share this

Level 10

This is an interesting thought process. It pointed out that from a support standpoint I've always taken that the system that I'm supporting is innocent until proven guilty. If a user reports an issue the response given is all systems are functioning fine, what are you doing that you're encountering this problem? At that point the troubleshooting begins and my bias has always been to assume user induced error just because of how common it usually is. A more polite way to put it is "Trust but verify". Trust what the user is telling you is accurate but always verify the accuracy. I agree though having the metrics polled from the Orion server to stand on definitely makes it easier to dismiss user accusations "that the system is slow". As for finger pointing I use the good ole stand by scape goat of, "Yeah there's an issue with the flux capacitor. It ran out of frequency grease, but don't worry we ordered some more and it should be fixed by tomorrow."

Level 9

Thank a lot for this

Level 8

It's always nice to have facts to backup what you are saying.

Level 9

You didn't tell us why the other building was quicker than the one he just moved to?

Level 12

Hmmh....

Level 13

We've run through that exact same situation here many times.  Having our data to show has literally saved us man-days worth of time.

Level 10

In reality , there was no problem, but if I didn’t have the facts to back me up, the finger pointing would start and it would just spiral out of control and at that point nobody would be happy . like they always say “the truth shall set you free”  and it sure did in this case. 

Orion, has saved so much time and frustration, and I sleep better at night knowing that yes there will still be network problems, but I will be able to answer that question, Is there a problem? If yes, then I fix it , if not I can prove it. but I never have to deal with I don’t know, and that my friends is a wonderful thing. Bye, bye  finger pointing hello productive day.

Thank you Craig, for taken us back the days when network monitoring was hell. Is it completely true that the inability to provide proof at the time always almost render the IT department useless.

Level 10

I so wished I had the tools I have today back in my NetWare 3.x and NT 4 support days!

This is so true.  Everytime there is an issue with someone data process they immediately inquire the "Network Guru's".  The more I have the network documented, optimized and monitored the more I can reply to the user the network is within parameters and have you tired X, Y, Z troubleshooting options.

They never come back......