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Enterprise-Class Network Management in the Mid-Atlantic Region

What are the enterprise-class network management options for a company located in the Mid-Atlantic region? Take a look at them here.  

If you are considering network management, then you are looking to lower risk, eliminate slowdowns and downtime, minimize variability and actively support business expansion. In today’s business market, the number of businesses that don’t rely on network management are decreasing. Having a good network management system is indispensable for protection against slowdowns and outages which significantly impact the bottom line. The next step is deciding what type of network management product you need. Has your network grown to the point of needing enterprise-class features? And if it has, what does an optimal enterprise system look like for your company?

Network Management Options

Free Tools

Free tools are available, often the basic version of SMB solutions. These generally require loading devices into the system manually with basic level SNMP polling or pinging. They rarely provide elemental performance data, but may offer rudimentary events including up/down device status. These free tools are a good fit for small networks of under 30 devices.

Intermediate SMB Solutions

Next level solutions range from low end to intermediate programs. Like some framework solutions, multiple products and add-ons require some integration. The beginning fees are minimal including areas such as inventory, discovery, events and for intermediate solutions, performance, auto-discovery, flow, graphing capabilities and technical reporting. Collected data by these solutions isn’t as thorough as for enterprise-class products. You can extend them through additional programming. While effective for smaller networks, these tend to create bottlenecks as networks scale.

Enterprise-Class Solutions

Enterprise-class solutions allow you to manage the newest devices and technologies. They provide features for all required network monitoring activity which include inventory, detailed discovery, and auto-discovery, deep elemental and flow monitoring, events root cause analysis, performance, configuration, topology and business and technical-focused reports and dashboards. This includes legacy framework solutions comprising multiple point products that are individually integrated and maintained. Included also are all-in-one solutions where most functionality is embedded in one software stream, with simpler scaling. Enterprise solutions offer unlimited scalability.

Evaluate Network Management Options

It helps to have a strategy when evaluating network management products in order to understand all the options in the mix of free tools, intermediate SMB products and enterprise-class solutions. In order to make a choice, you have to know what functions you require for your company to operate efficiently and effectively.

To help determine whether the enterprise-class solutions are the right fit for your business, you should consider the size of your network. If your network consists of a dozen devices all stored in one room, you probably don’t need an enterprise solution. However, if you need to have your network running 24/7, but can’t fit your network structure on a whiteboard, or have a network consisting of hundreds of devices, then an enterprise solution will help you manage it. There is a list of fundamental functions expected in an enterprise class network. Here is a breakdown of those capabilities.

Discovery of Device Inventory and Topology

It’s impossible to load all the devices in a network manually and do it without errors. That’s why continuous auto-discovery of devices and topology is needed. SMB solutions rarely offer this function.

Root Cause Analysis

Lower-end tools offer a green light/red light listing, showing what devices are up or down. That works fine with a shortlist of devices, but when there are hundreds or thousands of devices, it’s not helpful at all. A better tool tells you that a device is down and where it has happened.

Performance

If your network isn’t performing well, users become frustrated. An enterprise-class system monitors the performance level and application flow.

Reporting

IT departments need to be able to justify performance to management. Other users want to see data to understand how their work is affecting performance. An enterprise management solution allows easily customizable data presentations via dashboards and reports.

Service-Level Monitoring

Managing all the components in a complex network is critical. This is especially true for large networks with hundreds or thousands of devices. Monitoring all the devices as sub-components working together prevents the issue and helps increase efficiency.

Proactive Management

An enterprise-class network management system sends a warning about problems before they become major issues. It’s crucial for you to know if a failing fan on a switch will cause the temperature to become a problem before it happens.

Intelligent Event Management

A large network produces more data than any network engineer can handle, potentially becoming an overwhelming problem. Since all this data is needed as well as categorization of the data, enterprise management reduces the data to a manageable volume, showing only what needs to be reviewed so the engineer can identify the important issues.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is the next generation of technologies that will assist the network engineer to manage the enterprise network. The capacity to manage ever-increasing flows of data will require machine learning capabilities. With machine learning, network management will move to prescriptive analytics, prescribing actions after examining multiple future outcomes.

Technology-Friendly

Growth in network size and distribution will cause increasing sophistication of technology and protocols to keep the network operational. Enterprise-scale network management solutions offer the solution to scaling and resourcing such as flow, NBAR, SDN and the cloud and more.

Automation and Device Support

Automation is the key factor when scaling network management into hundreds and thousands of devices. Your network management system needs to be able to function automatically in order to grow and adapt to your company.