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Consider these 5 FAQs for network monitoring best practices

New technologies are transforming how organizations plan network management and monitoring, introducing questions about legacy system upgrades and the number of tools required.

A new era of networking has begun, thanks to advanced technologies such as IoT, software-defined networking and cloud services. This era brings forth more efficiency and virtualized functions yet also adds new layers of complexity network teams aren't yet equipped to handle.

These technologies require new network monitoring processes, which can create many new questions for teams. Network monitoring best practices must evolve to include integration processes with legacy architectures, understanding how advanced technologies affect management and knowing what tools can benefit network visibility. Teams must have a historical understanding of their network performance in order to apply network monitoring best practices to their operations.

The following five questions explore the effect of technologies such as cloud services, IoT and virtualized functions on legacy networks and how teams can update their systems to enable proper, end-to-end network monitoring.

Can network teams integrate legacy network monitoring and analytics?

Organizations may struggle to integrate new network monitoring and analytics tools with legacy services and infrastructure due to the analytics tools' inability to monitor proprietary environments. The inability to integrate properly can hinder network performance monitoring and data analysis, according to Amy Larsen DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis.

Many of these integrations rely on APIs or error-prone manual processes for data transfers and analysis, but the goal of integrations is to quickly alleviate performance problems, not to add complexity. Organizations should consider updated software and tools as replacements for legacy network monitoring platforms, DeCarlo said. Then, the network monitoring platforms and network analytics can work together to enhance network performance.

Learn more about legacy monitoring and network analytics integration.

What network monitoring best practices can benefit management strategies?

One network monitoring best practice involves the question of whether an organization requires one network monitoring tool or multiple in its network management strategy. The answer lies with whichever is the most practical for the organization, according to John Burke, principal analyst and CIO of Nemertes Research Group.

To determine the most practical option, teams should weigh network monitoring tools against three criteria: how easy the tool is to use, what it costs and if it functions properly with the organization's needs. Yet, even if an organization decides on a single tool, advanced technologies may force organizations to adopt multiple tools to keep up with transformation, Burke said.

Read more management and network monitoring best practices.

How do network teams plan network management strategies for multiple tools?

The downsides of using multiple network monitoring tools include a potential lack of network visibility and the inability for teams to gather data in one location. This can force teams into the error-prone process of manual data entry, DeCarlo said. Collaboration and coordination throughout the organization can prevent or alleviate these issues, however.

Silos within an organization can cause teams to adopt too many network monitoring tools, according to DeCarlo. All teams must communicate with one another so everyone understands what tools they need, what functions those tools should have and whether the organization already adopted tools with similar functions. This can eliminate redundancy and prevent potential overlap, so organizations adopt proper monitoring services and enable teams to create network monitoring best practices together.

Dive deeper into the pros and cons of multiple monitoring tools.

What are network monitoring best practices for provisioning?

A fine line exists between underprovisioning and overprovisioning network monitoring resources. Organizations don't want to waste money on services they don't need, yet they also want to deploy more services than they immediately need to save future time and money, according to Andrew Froehlich, president of West Gate Networks. However, a clear understanding of network performance can help organizations decide the best route to take.

To avoid too much or too little provisioning in network monitoring, teams should focus on best practices that revolve around data insights, changes in past performance and potential goals for the organization's future. Teams can gather historic and holistic data from their network monitoring platform to see how much network performance transformed over time, which helps teams consider what the changes mean for the future. Organizations should also remain aware of potential risks in provisioning, as these risks exist regardless of business strategy.

Discover more network monitoring best practices for provisioning and planning.

What visibility challenges do modern networks have?

The advanced technologies of modern networks, including cloud services and IoT, add to network complexity, which, in turn, hinders teams' visibility into network performance and makes data collection a challenge. New technologies are a blessing and a curse, according to Froehlich, as the technologies can make networks more efficient despite added complexity.

The advent of cloud environments also contributes to cloudy end-to-end network visibility. Teams may struggle with data migration among networks and environments, as legacy tools and infrastructures might not play well with more advanced technologies, Froehlich said. However, teams should prioritize network visibility because it enables them to see issues as they arise, which also enables quick troubleshooting processes. Visibility also provides insight into how network issues affect data, traffic and network security.

Explore more about end-to-end network visibility's importance.

Next Steps

Explore this glossary of key network management and monitoring terms

This was last published in December 2019

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