The writing on the wall is bold: The role of the network team is changing.
From a business perspective, the network is a vital component for delivering application services. Therefore, monitoring and management of the network should be driven by business objectives and organizational priorities. According to a recent Enterprise Management Associate survey, the key business initiatives and organizational priorities that drive network monitoring, management, and applications are operational savings, compliance initiatives, organizational consolidation and improved global collaboration.
Network teams are not only held responsible for network availability, but performance of the network, applications, cloud services, VoIP, video, and virtual desktop/VDI. In fact, most of the new end-user technologies currently deployed require the network. While availability issues have decreased, performance issues have increased due to the complexity and convergence of new applications. Network management must evolve from device-centric network availability to device-centric network performance and application-aware network performance.
Traditional approaches to monitoring and troubleshooting problems are singular in nature and are ineffective in the new converged environment. Challenges in selecting effective management solutions in today’s network environment include:
With different types of services and applications supported in the converged environment, it is important to have relevant data for effective monitoring and troubleshooting. This should take into account visibility required for key locations and types of data for root cause analysis.
In a converged environment, the management solution not only needs to enable the network team to reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR), but also enable them to collaborate problem solving with their peers in application support and the server group.
Understanding the total cost of product ownership used to manage the converged environment is important to determine the correct approach. A lower cost solution purchased today may not address the network expansion needs of tomorrow. Best of breed approaches with multiple products may increase training time and not be able to view all information in a cohesive format thus slowing down problem isolation.
At the rate new applications and services are added to the network infrastructure, the management approach and solution should not add to the growing complexity. This includes configuration of the solution, the root cause and problem isolation countermeasure process, expertise required for troubleshooting, and daily maintenance of the management solution.
Network teams should expect to see a flurry of products on the market to address the new challenges. They should develop their own requirements for the "four Cs" to evaluate new solutions.
Belinda Yung-Rubke is Director of Field Marketing for Fluke Networks.