There’s no shortage of Network Management Software in today’s marketplace – whether you’re managing a large-scale enterprise WAN or just looking to get a better handle on the networking environment in your office, there’s practically enough to try out a new software suite every week until you find the one that works best for you.
As you probably already know, though, not all Network Management Software is created equal. In fact, some of them come pretty close to being unusable. So, with that in mind, what constitutes good Network Management Software, and what should you look for when deciding which software suite to opt for?
The most important metric you need is context
If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s that no two networking environments will be exactly the same. In this respect, it’s difficult to say which NMS suite is ‘better’ – it often comes down to how well a particular piece of software works within the unique context of your environment. There’s no point sticking with a software suite you’ve heard good things about if it isn’t making the management and monitoring of your environment easier, more reliable and more insightful. Ultimately, your NMS should be able to solve the specific problems that exist on your network in the most efficient way possible. It’s worth taking the time to experiment with different Network Management Software to see which works and which doesn’t – with the abundance of open source network management software available at the moment, it’s literally as simple as just uninstalling if it doesn’t meet your needs.
Active and passive monitoring techniques are equally valuable – make sure you get both.
There are two ways to go about monitoring your network environment: passive monitoring collects historic data, which allows you to analyse the past performance of your environment over time and predict the kinds of changes that might be necessary by extrapolating the information it draws from your environment. Real-time monitoring, as its name suggests, pulls information from your environment in real-time, for much more granular, but also much more accurate data. The important thing to realise here is that one isn’t better than the other – active and passive monitoring both have their pros and cons, but a good network management strategy involves making use of both.
Choose a Network Management System that respects your resources
Finding your perfect fit when it comes to Network Management Software is a complex task, and there are many things you’ll need to bear in mind. Essentially, though, it comes down to two factors: the intensity of management, monitoring and reporting you need, and the amount of strain you’re willing to put on your network. Generally speaking, Network Management Software that pulls more data from your network will be more taxing on your resources, but software that doesn’t comb through your network data as thoroughly is unlikely to have much of an impact on performance. Knowledge is power, and there’s a lot to be said for knowing the ins and outs of your network environment as and when they happen, but if it means you can’t get normal service from your network whenever your NMS is running, you should probably consider a less intensive management procedure.
IRIS Network Systems provides Network Management Software that is lightweight, responsive and uniquely scalable. With 20 years’ experience in the IT and ISP markets, we understand the need for a balanced Network Management System that delivers all the features it should, without undermining the performance of your network. To find out more, download our Network Manager’s Guide to a Stable and Highly Available Network.
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