Network performance monitoring has easily become a full-time effort for businesses everywhere. Growing enterprises—especially those on a fast-track growth curve—have the additional task of finding monitoring solutions that scale and give a single view of their rapidly growing network that may have to accommodate thousands of mobile users as well as legacy users tied to desktop and laptop devices.
This article takes a look at five issues that tend to keep IT departments in growing organizations up at night as they try to watch over far-flung users, applications, cloud services, and their on-premise hardware infrastructure.
Unique Performance Monitoring Challenges Facing Enterprise Organizations
High Availability and Scalability
As new hardware, software, and services are added to the network, a set of monitoring tools that served well last year may no longer be sufficient to prevent downtime and performance issues. The functionality of the legacy monitoring tools often don't provide insight into the newest network enhancements.
Case in point: Today's enterprise networks often support data, voice, phone, and video, which gives users more options than just a few years ago. But this also means IT departments need to adjust their IT service management (ITSM) functions to accommodate a multitude of applications.
In turn, that adjustment requires monitoring tools that, ideally, offer a single “window pane” into the entire network and all its components parts. When such best-case monitoring tools aren't in place, teams across the IT department each tend to develop their own unique ways of monitoring the specific network features for which they're responsible. Such piecemeal approaches to network performance monitoring are inefficient. They don’t scale, and they can't assure the high availability users expect. Overall performance begins to suffer.
Using an outsourced NOC gives you the scalability you need as your network grows. A NOC can stay on top of alerts to minimize false positives and create a more stable and reliable network.
Enterprise businesses with offices spread across the nation and the world face another problem. Their servers, network devices, IoT devices, appliances, and personnel are spread out over vast geographies and time zones. They often connect to a variety of cloud service organizations as well. It's not uncommon for headquarters to give teams at remote locations the authority to manage their local network segments.
Having dozens of disparate monitoring teams (made worse if multiple monitoring tools are in use) makes it extremely difficult to correlate data that's meaningful to the enterprise as a whole. What may seem to be acceptable network performance to the team in, say, Chicago, may be wholly unacceptable to the team in London that relies on databases hosted in Chicago.
Further, as various teams solve problems in their respective areas, their experience and knowledge may not be shared with other teams. A team chasing down a problem may have to re-discover the solution that another team has already found.
The costs of downtime while trying to solve the problem, performance bottlenecks, and duplicated effort are all avoidable when an outsourced NOC handles the monitoring. A NOC can collect and retain data in a centralized location if there’s an interruption in network connectivity anywhere in the organization. Knowledge can be shared, downtime and duplicated effort can be avoided, and more strategic IT decisions can be made.
The Problem with Performance Monitoring Portals
IT monitoring tools all strive to give you a single view into your entire network. Some do, while many do not. For those that give you the “big picture,” or even most of it, it's not uncommon for the IT monitoring team to look at a screen that shows numerous alerts at once.
With thousands of systems and devices on the network, it can happen that the whole screen “turns red” with alerts. Teams dealing with so many alerts can struggle to identify the root cause of performance problems and the impact they have on users.
They need more specific information and a way to prioritize the problems. Without that, the monitoring team or its management may declare that all the alerts have equal priority. Such a decision can paralyze the efforts to resolve those that are truly the most serious.
A NOC can customize a portal to tailor the visibility for team members by their role so they can focus on metrics and the meaning and status of critical systems they manage. This eliminates the “red screen” and lets the IT department return the network to its proper level of performance.
Customization: The Multiple Tools Problem
IT departments often look for monitoring tools that give them the ability to watch over specific aspects of network health and performance. However, that approach can lead to the use of multiple tools when new services or infrastructure are added, each needing yet another “special case” monitoring tool.
The drive to cover every aspect of network operations can spawn a dizzying array of monitoring tools—each requiring their own unique logins and each presenting their findings in different formats. As the IT department moves to new monitoring products and services, the wheel is reinvented over and over which is inefficient and expensive.
A NOC solution can be customized to meet the needs of a growing enterprise so that the entire network can be monitored in a consolidated fashion, and can adjust as new technology, devices, and services are added.
The Reporting Problem
Enterprise organizations, especially those in a high-growth market, need advanced reporting capabilities to provide a broader and deeper view into network performance. KPIs and metrics that form the basis for SLAs need to be tracked on a regular basis to provide trends and to allow analysis that provides a true understanding of their network's health and performance.
A NOC solution can report on such trends and offer analysis that gives you a true understanding of your complete enterprise network, no matter how large and far-flung it may be.
iGLASS solutions are developed with the specialized requirements of our clients in mind. Contact us to see how we can provide a flexible and scalable IT performance monitoring solution that addresses all the issues growing organizations face.