The advantages of monitoring a network are undeniable. However, when it comes to choosing your weapons for monitoring a network, native protocols are a wise choice.
Using native protocols can make a huge difference in the way network performance monitoring is carried out in your company. This method of network monitoring utilizes the embedded capabilities supported by the monitored server or device. Unlike other methods of monitoring a network, there is no requirement of installing proprietary agent on the target system. Therefore, this method is also referred to as agentless monitoring.
For monitoring a network without the dependency of a proprietary agent, you can choose from native protocols such as PowerShell, SNMP, JMX, SSH, JDBC, WMI and HTTP/HTTPS to name a few.
The very nature of agentless network performance monitoring brings several advantages. Let’s see some of the significant advantages of using native protocols for monitoring a network.
Enables cost efficiency
When you use native protocols, you are making use of what is already present in your IT environment. No extra investments, which means, you can have robust network performance monitoring tools while still staying within the budget of your IT department. This is one of the reasons why you will see native protocols like SNMP on IT pro’s computers.
Apart from investing in proprietary agent-based solutions, there is more that adds to the total cost of using such tools. Agent-based tools require you to install them, and for doing so, you need to account for the required manpower. Therefore, you have a resource cost to it too. Obviously, you will not require a resource for just installing agents, but the point is that it requires efforts from your resources, which could be put to use for other IT administrative tasks.
This way, if you have native protocols in place, you can use the investments required for proprietary agent-based protocols for other important things. Moreover, as a network administrator, it is important to choose a solution that minimizes costs and maximizes value by making use of the already available tools in your environment.
Makes managing monitoring network easy
In contrast to native protocols, agent-based tools require efforts for installation, configuration, and maintenance. Agent-based monitoring requires you to deploy the agents on each server. You need to take and extra step to get started with your tool for network performance monitoring. Therefore, when you do not choose a native protocol for network monitoring, you are essentially adding more things to your already never-ending task list as a system administrator. Here’s the clear maths – the more the number of servers you have, the more you will need to spent time into installing and configuring the agent on the servers.
By using native protocols, you can save the time and efforts required into doing the repetitive task, and focus on the more important stuff. It allows you to completely remove the operational and maintenance tasks that are associated with deploying and configuring an agent. As the initial procedures of testing, certifying and deploying new agents are totally eliminated; you can straight away have clear visibility and capability into the network performance.
Moreover, most native tools, such as PowerShell and SNMP, can cover a broad or complete range of devices on your IT infrastructure for monitoring purpose. Thereby leaving hardly any need for installing intrusive, third party agent-based tools on the monitored system.
Keeps security intact
Native protocols utilize the in-built capabilities for monitoring network performance. On the other hand, using a third-party proprietary agent can bring with itself a host of security concerns. Most agent-based monitoring tools require you to open a particular port to communicate with the agent for monitory the system. The open port can lead to significant security risk. This leaves your infrastructure vulnerable to data flowing out of the open port. Sometime the agent can bypass the network security polices meant for protecting sensitive information such as event log records, log files, and others.
The problem does not end here. Installing agent on remote machines require you to allow it administrative privileges to perform its operations. When installing agents on remote machines, it leaves the machines to potential security risk. In this case, your network security is dependent on the security standards with which the third-party agent is developed.
In the times when you already have the threat of dreaded malware and ransomware constantly trying to intrude into your network security, one thing less to worry about is certainly a relief. Therefore, the big benefit of using native protocols for network performance monitoring is that you are playing by your standards of security. You can be sure that nothing is lurking around that can break through your firewall rules and other security measures.
To sum it all up
The cost saving, efficiency and security advantages of using native protocol for network monitoring are clear. However, just like most business decisions, you need to look at the larger picture in order to make a truly rewarding decision. Native protocols and agent-based solutions satisfy the needs of different users.
Choice of native protocols is effective when, for example, you largely operate on public cloud environments, If you are leveraging monitoring service from the provider then you often run into common problems such as visibility to limited metrics, no support for native data etc. Using agent-less monitoring system that do not require agents to be installed on the cloud instances and also supports monitoring this infra natively.
While keeping these advantages in perspective, your choice of network performance monitoring protocol should also consider the resources in your IT infrastructure and the requirements to be fulfilled. In today’s complex IT ecosystem, most companies end up having a combination of both, native and agent-based network monitoring protocols.