Chris Booth, Solution Architect at KedronUK, considers how organisations and enterprises can get the most out of their Network Monitoring/Management System.
As an enterprise management consultancy, we might be biased, but we believe that for large or enterprise-size organisations, network monitoring is critical. A Network Management/Monitoring System (NMS) needs to provide functions such as pro-active altering, metrics to aid troubleshooting (e.g. root cause analysis), configuration management and reporting. When considering what tool to purchase, important factors such as functionality, cost and scalability will often drive the decision-making process.
However, it is important to also consider who will monitor and manage the NMS. This could be in the form of general administration and day-to-day support to ensure it is available and performing as expected. There is little point in having an NMS which isn’t working properly and thus unable to deliver timely alerts about infrastructure problems – the initial investment in the NMS has effectively been wasted.
The NMS might also have some form of High Availability (HA), so data replication and integrity need to be monitored so that it can correctly fail-over to an alternative DC when needed. On a more irregular basis, this could be upgraded to the NMS and it’s supporting infrastructure (e.g. an SQL database back-end). To answer the title of this post, the answer is KedronUK’s Technical Team.
We monitor and manage the NMS for a number of our customers, removing this workload from the IT operations team and making use of our extensive product knowledge.
We know that to ensure a smooth upgrade, a particular version upgrade needs to be staged via an intermediate point release. In fact, we monitor the products we provide to our customers with the same products! Each service/support package is bespoke to the customer’s requirements, but typically includes system governance and our Technical Team holding regular calls to offer advice on best practice or to discuss any open support tickets. A contracted package from KedronUK helps fix the TCO and maximise the ROI for the NMS.
The quality of the data in the NMS can also become a challenge. When multiple team members can add, edit or remove devices, the adherence to standards can become somewhat variable. For instance, when a new network switch is on-boarded, is it named correctly and tagged with a location to help identify the datacentre, rack or office location?
In response to this, KedronUK has developed a bespoke web portal which integrates with the NMS tools we offer such as Infosim StableNet and SolarWinds. The portal provides data validation rules and drop-down choices to remove free-form text input and the impact that has on the data. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is also supported, allowing a junior team member to onboard but not delete devices. Thus, administrative tasks can be controlled, ensuring the NMS data is meeting the defined standards.
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