Network monitoring to your CxO would mean being able to ensure that your enterprise IT infrastructure
(consisting of departments, locations and services) is performing optimally.
To the Network Manager it would mean be managing the details that
constitute this high-level definition. Typically, at this level, network monitoring
translates, in the simplest terms, into managing fault and performance across
applications, servers and networks.
Network Monitoring Protocols
There are several protocols in use today, to communicate with the routers, servers or applications in order to do network monitoring such as:
Simple Network Monitoring Protocol (SNMP)
The most commonly used protocol and widely adopted especially in the network switch and router world.
Windows Monitoring Instrumentation (WMI)
Only available on Windows platforms, this is an implementation of the newer Distributed Monitoring Interface (DMI) standard and allows agentless monitoring on Windows platforms.
A new protocol for monitoring at the application level (mainly java enterprise applications)
Web-Based Enterprise Monitoring (WBEM) is a set of monitoring and Internet standard technologies developed to unify the monitoring of distributed computing environments. WBEM provides the ability for the industry to deliver a well-integrated set of standard-based monitoring tools, facilitating the exchange of data across otherwise disparate technologies and platforms.
Network Monitoring Software Today
New Network Monitoring software systems must be able to support a number of monitoring protocols for today's hybrid IT networks. Traditionally Network Monitoring
Systems (NMS) always had a clear separation between “fault monitoring” - whether
something is up or down, and “performance” which is a measure of how well something
is working. The immediate need of an operations group is always whether a network
device or server is up or down, but as the need matures from a reactive component
to a proactive one, the next requirement is typically “how is the system performing”.
These enterprise requirements have forced a convergence between network monitoring
and performance monitoring tools.
Key considerations in
selecting an Network Monitoring Product
Choosing a network monitoring system
typically involves understanding the following issues:
Does my system need to have fault monitoring only do I need true performance
monitoring from my network monitoring system?
Are deployment and training time important for my network monitoring system?
(products with higher out-of-the-box functionality can translate into significant
savings and implementation and usage success)
Is flexibility and ease of extension (open API) for custom requirements
Do we need an XML compatible product?
Is it worth paying for real-time performance?
Do we need to correlate data across network, servers, apps and relation
to service or is a spreadsheet good enough?
Do we need a generic reporting model (customizable) or are canned reports
Do we need to see trend reports or are snapshot reports good enough?
Do we need a network monitoring system with distributed architecture?
Do we need a single user system or a multi-user system?
Do we need to organize my reports by users, departments, locations, services
What kind of network monitoring do we need if we are using it to offer managed
Is the system easy enough for use by a CxO?
How do we set network monitoring thresholds?
What type of alarms/messages need to be configured?
How does the system distinguish between minor and major alarms and then
how does it suppress false alarms/transient alarms?
What will be the topology of the system and does that affect our options
in choosing a system?
How do Firewalls affect a specific system?
What kind of interface will the system have with our trouble ticketing and
Do we need a system that can run on multiple environments (Solaris,
NT or other)?
Is return on investment (ROI) a key consideration in our network monitoring
How can a network monitoring systems deliver ROI?
How important is it to have fault and performance monitoring in a single
Do you have a requirement to manage non-standard custom devices?
Can you adequately support the growth in the number of devices (scalability)?