Today, I was reading two articles related to network monitoring. The first one enumerated the main benefits of network monitoring, the second gave me an interesting point of view about a network monitor. After reading those articles, I understood why network monitoring is so important and how it can benefit any organization (mainly medium and large corporations). However, I know that choosing the right tool is always a tricky and complicated job, therefore, I would like to mention the main capabilities you should check before choosing a network monitor.
It's never easy choosing the right monitoring system; do you want to produce visual reports for management? Do you have time to work them up yourself in Excel, or do you need the tool to be able to do it automatically? Is bandwidth usage your chief concern? Or business application monitoring to ensure a fluid user experience? Hopefully, this article is going to help you avoid taking the wrong decision. What are the central pillars of network monitoring? There are seven, and like the deadly sins in that film with Brad Pitt: 'What's in the box?'
1. Alerts: The more configurable the better; alerts should be multi-platform, multi-channel, SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, even your smart TV, in some cases.
2. High usability: Network monitoring can be divided into three broad categories; web visuals, client application visuals and console. Here, in this case, my personal recommendation, and many experts back me up, is to choose a network monitor in possession of a web console, to do the admin work, plus management tasks and data visualization. Terminal-based tools require a technician to drag the data out and organize it manually, and, moreover, you may find it problematic to update or access client-side applications.
3. Automatic detection: Inventorizing your network gives you essential information about how many devices you have running, but also helps you decide where to renew or expand.
4. Scaling: A not-to-be-overlooked feature, rather an essential one for planning the future of your infrastructure. The fourth pillar of network monitoring is, thus, scalability; the ability to grow your network as circumstances demand, incorporating new servers and applications as required.
5. Compatibility with the widest range of protocols possible: SNMP, TCP. UDP, IP, RADIUS, LDAP, POP3, http, DNS, DHCP, or any other acronym of mystery to come in the future.
6. Cloud monitoring: The Cloud is fashionable and more firms are migrating their business there. Your network monitor needs to be compatible.
7. Integrate with virtual machines: Indispensable in terms of cost and infrastructure-space savings. In any server, there may be various virtual machines running and you need to be able to monitor all of them.
Hopefully this article has given a few pointers for those wanting to install monitoring software. It's important that your company gets one, but getting the right one is just as crucial.