Based on an industry survey by Gartner, network downtime for enterprises costs around $5,600 per minute, which is well over $300 thousand per hour on average.
With the increase in the number of organizations that have a sizable network infrastructure, the need for a network monitor also increases substantially. With properly established network monitoring protocols in place, organizations can work more efficiently, have more visibility over their network devices, and avoid unexpected downtimes and network issues.
Why a network monitor is essential
With small enterprises, network monitoring needs are often overlooked or ignored altogether. But any organization that has its own network infrastructure, especially networks that are growing in size, is advised to have a network monitoring solution in place. This is a good network practice and will help admins easily scale these monitoring capabilities as the network expands, maintaining the best possible network health.
Below are some of the important reasons a network monitor is needed in an enterprise network:
To improve visibility: Network admins will have better visibility over the health and performance of the devices in the infrastructure.
To stay updated about the status of devices: This one is self-explanatory; monitoring device statuses is crucial to react quickly in times of network issues.
To understand growing network needs: By implementing a network monitor in the organization, network admins can identify when additional resources need to be added to the network to ensure the best performance.
To detect and prevent network downtimes and issues well in advance: Not only is it useful to identify and resolve downtime-related issues, but network monitors can also be used to help you detect an underlying network issue and resolve it before it has any effect on end users.
What are the challenges faced with implementing network monitoring?
While it might be essential to set up a network monitoring application in your infrastructure, it is not exactly an elementary process—especially during the remote work era, during which a lot of us have been working from the confines of our homes.
When implementing network monitoring, these are the most common challenges and setbacks experienced by network admins:
Having to use multiple monitoring tools: One of the biggest issues network admins face is having to use too many monitoring tools. Most vendors provide their own monitoring tools, and an organization with a vendor-agnostic network will struggle with enabling integrated monitoring for its infrastructure.
Scalability: One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a network monitor is how quickly it can scale to a larger, or in some cases, smaller number of devices. This should always be kept in mind, because choosing a poorly scalable solution might have a highly negative impact when your network size changes.
Lack of custom monitoring functions: Most network monitors only support a set of vendors and devices, and networks that use any unsupported devices will have to resort to using the vendor-provided monitoring tools. This is where custom monitoring functions come into play by providing the facility to monitor other devices using default monitoring protocols (SNMP, WMI, and CLI). Only a few network monitoring solutions provide this by default, and the job of admins can get quite messy in multi-vendor networks.
Lack of distributed monitoring capabilities: In large organizations, networks might span across cities, countries, or even continents. In these cases, the admins might have to monitor their devices using an individual installation of the network monitor at each of these locations, which will just add to the complexity of the process.
If your network monitoring application supports distributed monitoring, all these complications can be easily avoided. Distributed monitoring is where a central or primary server has multiple probes or secondary servers, with these probes being located at each of these locations. These probes function as an extension of the central server, reducing the number of monitoring-related complications and ensuring higher visibility of all the elements across these locations, since they are essentially being monitored under one main server.
What features should an ideal network monitoring application have?
Choosing the right network monitor can be paramount to establish a proper monitoring protocol, and it has the power to make or break your network. Here are a few things you should have in mind when evaluating network monitor choices:
Easily scalable: Scalability is always an important factor to consider in a growing enterprise network. If your organization has plans to add more devices in the future, it is better to plan in advance and purchase a solution that has adequate scalability. If the usability and the performance is not majorly affected with drastic changes in the device count, it is an indicator of a network monitor with good scalability potential.
Supported devices, metrics, and vendors: With so many recent advances in network management technology, multi-vendor support has almost become the norm with network monitoring solutions. This can save a lot of time and resources, since the need to use multiple monitoring tools will be eliminated. Similarly, the more metrics the solution supports, the easier the monitoring process will be.
Alerts and notifications: Alerts are one of the most important features when it comes to network monitoring. Whenever a device goes down or experiences issues, the network admin must be notified about it as soon as possible in order to reduce the impact of the issue. In addition to this, notifications being sent to other service desk apps or to personal channels like email or SMS is an added advantage.
Automation capabilities: A relatively new area in network monitoring, network automation lets you eliminate manual intervention for menial or repetitive tasks, such as shutting down, restarting, or pinging devices. Being able to automate these low-level tasks helps network admins focus on other critical aspects.
Usage and performance insights: Although real-time monitoring helps with quicker resolution of issues and reduction of downtime, understanding your overall network behavior is equally important. Using reports and advanced analytics, network monitors can help you understand which part of your network is underperforming, so you can work on network performance at the macro level.
Security and integrity: This is one of the most basic expectations from a network monitoring application: it must be secure. In addition to the risks of a network breach, a network monitor that is not fully secure basically puts the data of the employees and end users in danger. It is never advisable to use network monitors that do not have strong security protocols in place.
Is OpManager the best network monitor for my infrastructure?
OpManager is an integrated network monitor solution that offers extensive network and server monitoring capabilities. With OpManager, you can monitor your devices and servers in real-time and ensure your network maintains the best possible health. With a highly useful arsenal of features, here’s how OpManager can meet all of your network monitoring needs:
Discover hundreds of devices with a few clicks, and start monitoring them instantly on discovery.
Gain full visibility on your devices’ performance with more than 500 default monitors and out-of-the-box support for over 400 device vendors.
Automate minor tasks with OpManager’s Workflows and reduce human intervention, saving both time and resources.
Use over 80 default dashboards and customizable Business Views in order to gain maximum visibility into your network’s real-time performance.
Leverage more than 80 out-of-the-box reports to help you understand your network on a higher level and plan for improvements to enhance network performance.
Get notified in real-time over a medium of your choice—email, SMS and other service-desk-based integrations—and make sure you stay up to date on your network.
Download a 30-day, fully functional trial of ManageEngine OpManager. To learn more about how OpManager can be used to monitor your enterprise network, talk to one of our product experts now by availing a free, personalized demo.