For an up and running IT infrastructure it’s necessary to have an effective Network Management Software (NMS) in place. With a fully-fledged network management software, the business can instantly spot and fix issues related to switches, servers, security cameras, VoIP phones, and more. But, how to assure that all the essential network components and devices are working efficiently. Doesn’t matter if you have been in the industry for more than a decade or have just entered the world of business, you need to keep a check on your network.
Well-defined scope of network monitoring activities is essential and with policies, it’s easier to do that, as they keep everyone involved in a loop. A few examples of guidelines are given below:
2. Recognize the devices that need attention on your network
Check if there is any server that is vital for any of your mission-critical applications. Let’s take an example; due to a fault in a switch the entire network is affected and this makes it impossible for a customer support team to do their jobs without proper functioning VoIP phones. In this, a particular switch is a critical device that is responsible for the smooth functioning of the network. You need to fund such devices in your network and take special care of them. Just look for devices that provide support to the primary business functions or run applications that are majorly used.
3. Configure SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) on network devices
SNMP is known to offer beneficial data related to the status of various network devices. Network switches, hubs, routers and printers generally use SNMP, but it might be possible that it is disabled by default. If this is the case with you, then you can enable SNMP by setting the community string that is nothing else just a password.
Let’s take an example of a Cisco switch; to enable SNMP on this you have to define a community string on the device. To reflect the changes you made you also have to update the network. There are various applications too that you can use for debugging like SNMP walk; it provides detailed information about the device you want to reach.
4. Configure SSH (Secure Socket Shell) and WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) on Linux and Windows servers.
By setting up a server to work with SSH and WMI, the network can easily pull in-depth data about the Linux or Windows systems to keep you informed. Nevertheless, to get access to data like disk utilization, CPU memory, you need access credentials. Generally, this task is very easy to do, as it only needs you to provide a username with a password via Active Directory or LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). But sometimes firewall or authentication issues might occur. If this happens with you, you can just open a port in the firewall or re-configure the anti-virus. On Windows devices troubleshooting authentication or verifying the SSH credentials can help.
5. Set up notifications and personalise threshold levels
With a high-quality Network Management Software, businesses can simplify workflows by getting the data and notifications required for decision making. For example, an alert is automatically generated when there is any unusual packet loss in a switch or when there is low space on a disk. Businesses want alerts that can inform them about any potential issues in the network before time. But they don’t want to get overwhelmed by the routine events notifications that are useless and might lead to alert fatigue even when things are running fine. The issue is that excessive notifications would make the executives ignore the alerts that are critical to attend to the emergencies (if you have heard the story about the boy who cried for the wolf). So, false positive and false alarms are of no use and just waste time when you can utilize them for other important tasks. You can try tweaking the thresholds and aligning them with baselines you have set to receive only the relevant notifications. For example; if you have set a limit on your CPU utilization to 50% on a specific server and there’s a sudden jump in it to 90%, then you will get an email alerting you to check the server for any potential network issue.
Another technique to decrease alert fatigue is to disable some specific types of default alerts that are of no use to you. Like if you are utilizing different tools to monitor your storage, checking the network activity isn’t included in your task list or some other professional is assigned to respond to the server alerts. Then, you don’t have to take care of all the activities not included in your job; it’s better to leave all that to the network admin.
6. Put a baseline for the network performance
Baselines help in figuring out what is normal for a network and what is not by defining and determining typical ranges for device resource utilization. To know if due to a particular activity some device is experiencing anything unusual or if that’s expected, it’s good to measure memory usage, CPU, connectivity and disk utilization and other key network metrics. You can even do this by taking a mental model of the usual behavior of the network. You must also consider the exceptional cases where there’s expected or regular changes that occur in the network.
Apart from the above-given ways, there’s one more thing you can do which is consult a professional. Our team of experts at Echelon Edge can help you with all this. Contact us to know more.
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