By Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant at Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
With user demand increasing at a rapid rate businesses are spending more and more time and money keeping their networks running and highly available. Investment is now consistently made in redundancy everywhere. Two or more of everything in the network is now normal practice; dual routers, dual firewalls, stacked switches, dual ISP’s, multiple application server, dual power inputs etcetera. All this redundancy will no doubt keep the network uptime high, but will it necessarily keep things running smoothly?
Here are 4 tips worth considering:
- Optimum Use of Resources
What is the point of having huge bandwidth, the fastest network with great big servers everywhere if you cannot make the best use of them? Allowing ALL types of traffic/users/applications (the good, the bad and the ugly) through your network without any visibility, policing or prioritisation of business critical services and applications, essentially amounts to a waste of all that investment that you’ve put into providing the robust network in the first place. There are good and bad users as well as good and bad applications both inside and outside of your network and they will always seek to utilise or take advantage of any open, free or unpoliced resources they can get hold of. As C-level executives, IT Managers, Network Managers or IT Administrators, it is your responsibility to make sure you can make the best use of your network resources to provide the best user experience, while preventing malicious usage and controlling the usage of unimportant (low priority) application/traffic.
- A Proactive Network
Historically network management has always been very reactive in its approach to dealing with network problems and network traffic utilisation. In general, until there’s a problem (usually reported by users) to investigate, everything is considered to be working and traffic is considered to be “normal”. Ever thought of a “learning network”? A network that can monitor the types of traffic coming in and going out, identify applications and users where applicable and even inform you about changes in the types of applications passing through your network when compared to what is normal (i.e. the baseline). A network that can monitor applications and server response times then proactively alert you based on a traffic light system “Red-Amber-Green” highlighting potential issues. A network that can provide you with recommendations on optimum policies to apply to your network based on your traffic and not just wait for you to figure it out (usually only after there is an issue to troubleshoot). It might sound a bit futuristic, but the good news is, it’s not. All of these elements that make up “a proactive network”, already exist in the Exinda Network Orchestrator solutions.
- Application Performance Monitoring
Almost everything within a network today comes down to two thing; applications and services. All the infrastructure that underpins everything boils down to providing some sort of application and or service to a user somewhere. Therefore it can be said that keeping the user experience good and ultimately the user happy comes down to making sure the application or service is performing optimally. To do this you first need to have complete visibility of all applications running through your network. Then you need to be able monitor the most critical applications to your business (usually productivity applications) and establish a baseline of what can be considered “normal”. You then need to be able to observe when these applications start not performing optimally and very quickly figure out why that is the case. Scrolling through pages of log data will not speed up this process, so most importantly you need something that can do all of this for you easily and provide that information back to you in simple (ideally) graphical format.
- Speedy Troubleshooting
By making sure your network resources are used optimally and your network proactively informs you of the performance and utilisation of your network applications; you will already have decreased the time it takes to troubleshoot network issues. Having done all this however, it is important to have a monitoring tool available to you that can instantly provide real time analysis of traffic passing through your network as well as being able to look instantly at historic utilisation data for comparison. This will inevitably speed up troubleshooting and reduce downtime.
Want to know more? Please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re responsible for managing your company network bandwidth we would like to personally invite you to join our free half day technical workshop on Wednesday 3rd December 2014 at the National Space Centre, Leicester, UK. For more information and to sign up visit: http://www.netutils.com/exindaSpace.php
As Senior Technical Presales Consultant at Netutils Malcolm consults and advises on specialist IT Networking, Security and Service Management requirements.