As part of your decision-making process to outsource your NOC services, factor in the process of deploying the monitoring solution. How long will it take? How much time and effort should your organization expect to invest as you phase in the outsourcing and turn over your network monitoring to the professionals?
The quick answers to those questions are:
- After you execute the service agreement, it generally takes about three weeks to fully deploy your outsourced NOC monitoring.
- The speed and ease of transitioning to NOC outsourcing depends on your commitment and active participation with your NOC partner.
But there are some things to keep in mind to help the process go smoothly, including:
Consider the Hardware Requirements
An outsourced NOC runs on a model similar to Software as a Service. All services (hardware, software, maintenance, and NOC services) are included. Typically, monitoring your infrastructure will require:
- an onsite monitoring server (provided by the NOC partner)
- firewall configuration
- rack space in your datacenter
Some NOCs, like iGLASS, will build their monitoring server and ship it to you at no added cost along with instructions on how to install the server to get your monitoring started. At your request, your NOC partner may also deploy its monitoring on a cloud host or VM in your virtual environment.
Designate a Qualified Point Person
After you sign on to the NOC service, it is a good idea to designate a qualified person in your organization to serve as a project manager or point person for the onboarding process. With the right qualifications and attention to detail, your rep can keep you moving forward on your end. The point person can ensure continuity in the process and prevent requests from your NOC from going unanswered.
Gather the Information You Need to Provide the NOC
Your NOC provider will need to collect a certain amount of information before the monitoring can begin, including:
- a list of IP addresses/devices and metrics to monitor
- access credentials such as SNMP community strings
- identifying ACL/firewall rules that may need to be modified to allow access
- your organization’s contact/alert preferences
- user contact information for those requiring access to your monitoring portal
A Step-by-Step Approach
With your point person in place and the NOC armed with the data you provided, the process begins. Generally, the NOC will follow these steps:
- The NOC will configure a monitoring server or VM. If you use the NOCs server hardware, factor in the shipping time (iGLASS uses FedEx 2-day delivery). When the hardware arrives, you are responsible for the installation of the equipment.
- The NOC will configure their monitoring platform with the initial list of hosts and metrics, notification groups, locations, etc. you provided.
- The NOC will provide initial and follow-up training on their monitoring platform.
- Once the system is up, the portal will be available for you to review.
- The NOC will enable alerting when you are ready.
- If the NOC partner will provide Tier-1 Outage Remediation, they will collaborate with you to develop your runbook(s), which will enable your NOC partner to troubleshoot and resolve most common outages.
You want a stable network, but you must attend to your business and not worry about the bells and whistles. Now that you have decided to outsource, it’s time to commit to the process. Set aside 2-3 weeks, designate a key person, and keep in contact with your NOC partner throughout onboarding.