According to Matt Davies Stockton, network monitoring is the process of monitoring and mapping a business or organization’s network to avoid security and performance issues and cost overheads. Let’s figure out how you can effectively monitor your network.
- Establish a baseline behavior – The first step to effective network monitoring starts with establishing a baseline network behavior. Create a document that highlights and certifies normal network behavior, has an acceptable range of values for all the monitored parameters, and lists the devices that are connected.
The baseline network behavior should also detail how the network interacts with services and devices outside the network. This kind of information forms the building blocks of your network monitoring strategy and helps you make better decisions. It creates a solid foundation.
- Make sure the monitoring system is always available – Network monitoring tools are often hosted within the same network they monitor. While this keeps costs low, all the tools and your entire network monitoring system goes down when your network slows down or goes off. This makes it impossible to analyze collected data.
That’s why monitoring tools need to be deployed outside the network. This ensures high availability and failover options are reduced. You’ll need an independent data center to make this work. That way, even if existing network monitoring tools fail, it can trigger the installation of another network monitor.
- Eliminate tool sprawl – Most enterprises have DevOps teams looking into automation and validation of development tasks while NetOps teams focus on network operations. Network monitoring responsibility falls on the latter. After scaling up for a few years, NetOps teams may need to deploy tool sprawls with around ten tools at a time.
Unfortunately, tool sprawls are very inefficient. Instead, it’s better to deploy monitoring solutions that can be scaled and tuned to interface with new or existing tools seamlessly. Even if the number of tools operating at any time can’t be brought down to one, they need to be interoperable.
- Alert storms – Similar to the petals of a daisy flower, daisy chain topology is a layout with identical components connected in a series. Switches are a common daisy chain component in large enterprises. If one switch fails, it sets off alerts for all the other switches in the chain and creates an alert storm.
Alert storms are common in enterprises that don’t place alerts without thorough analysis and put them in non-strategic locations. If there are alert storms with too many irrelevant alerts, you and the rest of the NetOps team would be exhausted and fail to notice real alerts. Moreover, alert storms distract you and other people in the organization from performing critical tasks.
Matt Davies Stockton suggests that you use the above-mentioned tips to effectively monitor your network. Make sure to look out for alert storms and ensure that monitoring is done with configuration management ties. To get a complete picture, you’ll need to collect data from multiple network devices.