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How do I plan a network management strategy for multiple tools?

Many IT teams deal with a bevy of network management tools, which complicates data integration and leads to errors. A network management strategy that focuses on coordination can help.

As enterprises become more distributed, virtualized and complex, the associated proliferation of network monitoring and management tools puts IT teams in the difficult position of having to navigate between multiple screens to cobble together essential data. A swivel-chair network management strategy induces headaches and is highly inefficient. It also typically involves a fair amount of manual data entry -- a practice that can easily lead to errors. 

But perhaps the biggest problem associated with piecing together data from multiple sources is the limited perspective IT managers get of their network. This lack of visibility can obscure serious performance problems.

One of the underlying issues that created this network monitoring tool sprawl is siloed investment planning. Individual groups make buying decisions without consulting and coordinating with adjacent teams. This can lead to issues of functional redundancy across tools. It can also result in duplicate efforts that come from importing data from multiple sources.

In some cases, IT organizations can rationalize or reduce the number of tools that significantly overlap. To enforce a network management strategy without overlap, it is critical for individual teams to work together to assess IT monitoring and management needs during the budgeting process and before technology acquisition.

Some organizations decide to invest in a consolidated systems management platform that consumes and correlates network management data from multiple sources. This kind of integrated network management strategy can help eliminate many of the manual tasks that drag operations and potentially lead to errors. A centralized integrated management system can also make it easier for IT managers to get a true end-to-end operational view.

Image of too many network tools
Data integration and network visibility can be tricky with so many network monitoring tools.

To get the optimal results from a centralized systems management platform, IT teams from across the organization need to collaborate on best practices and standardize how they use all of their tools. This is the best way to reduce duplicative efforts and improve overall operational efficacy. 

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