Network Monitoring Network Monitoring

So good they named it twice. Actually I was trying to think of a sexy title for network monitoring but I couldn’t. Network monitoring is the unsung hero of a communications business. A network has to have monitoring in place to allow staff to keep an eye its health but it isn’t what might be called an exciting product.

You would of course expect an ISP to monitor its network. Perhaps less expected would be for a normal business to do this. However as a business grows, so does its network and the truth is that the network is increasingly likely to become mission critical.

Monitoring individual nodes on a public network has been standard practice for a long time. However when it comes to a private network then traditionally this has been done from a device (monitoring server) within the network. This is fine but if that network is purely private with no external access then it can be difficult for a network operator to provide support. 

A neat solution is via virtual server which is what Timico does for private networks requiring ongoing monitoring. A virtual server sits logically inside a customer’s private network but is accessible via secure command line from the Network Operation Centre.

This a hugely more cost effective solution than providing a standalone network monitoring server for each private network. It is also easier to provide resilience to the service by providing two separate virtual machines on two geographically separated bits of hardware.

And what gets monitored?  The list is endless but here are a few ideas

  • Bandwidth usage on a link – have you provided enough connectivity to a location
  • Router temperature – anticipate a failure
  • UPS battery voltage – does it need replacing?
  • Ping response times – is there a quality issue in the network?
  • server hard drive usage – forecast capacity requirements
  • remote router up or down? minimise downtime with speedy replacement.

There isn’t one single ideal solution for network monitoring. Best practice involves amalgamating a number of tools and providing suitable alert mechanisms. 

What is done with the alert also needs to be considered in the light of the needs of an individual business. Some might get away with a next day fix and others might need a speedier solution particularly where health and safety is concerned or when downtime means loss of revenue.

If you need advice on network monitoring drop me a line at Timico.

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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