A latest network monitoring report from Markets & Markets states “The network monitoring market is expected to reach from USD 1.82 billion in 2018 to USD 2.93 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 9.9% from 2018 to 2023”. The network monitoring market is booming with many solutions which offers a range of capabilities and features to choose from. But understanding and relating those capabilities with your own needs & evaluating the best of the available tools from the niche market is of utmost importance.

As they say “if the shoe fits, wear it”, in this blog we’ll be unveiling the general expectation as compared to reality for network monitoring to help you quickly come to a conclusion. The focus is to cut down the marketing hype and talk about the day-to-day needs vs offerings.

The goal of network monitoring tools is not just to alert or notify the IT admins whenever there’s trouble brewing in the network, but it is to show trends in the performance of IT network and help them meet SLAs.

The usual challenge is to decipher the meaningful information that matters the most. Some tools have a dashboard which is pretty difficult to comprehend, as there is too much of information available which is overwhelming. You’d want to have your focus on important metrics & find the needle from the haystack.

1) Expectation: Network monitoring solutions independently take the pain out of your routine to put the information together or filter the reports out in the form of actionable information.

Reality: Some network monitoring solutions offer basic reporting functionality while some come along with pre-defined, easy-to-use templates, but it will still be up to the IT administrator to make the chosen tool useful.

What might really work?

Customize or fine tune the monitoring solution based on the IT processes and network architecture of your organisation. Sometimes IT teams have to even learn the software to get the desired output from it. They also need to spare good amount of time to understand how the devices from different vendors or different applications integrate with the network monitoring tool.

2) Expectation: NMS will support any device type from any vendor on the network.

Reality: While technically this statement holds true as most of the tools use SNMP to pass on the performance status of various network devices (switches, routers).

What might really work?

The tools need to report the issues the device might be facing, along with the health and performance stats. As numerous potential traps emerge from every network device that is being monitored, the level of notifications can reach a point where the important messages get lost in the stream of useless noise. It makes it next to impossible for the tools to pinpoint important issues and convey meaningful information to the user. Hence, try to find out a solution which supports devices from different vendors and supports multiple protocols.

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3) Expectation: Real time network event notification and historical data analysis from one tool

Reality: IT admins need to be familiar with the offerings included in the package you’ve opted for. Usually the tools process and then archives the IT data collected from different devices. Many solution providers nowadays have the ability to assess the status of the network device in real-time along with simultaneously maintaining historical data. In a few cases, just a subset of monitored elements can be monitored in real-time, driving the customers to come to a point where they need to decide which elements are mission-critical and should be prioritized. The tools which primarily focus on network monitoring alerts and notifications typically compress the historical machine data.

What might really work?

The vendor’s understanding the needs of the client and the requirements, they wish to fulfil with this tool is the key. The CIO would want to look at a different dashboard to get an overview of SLAs status, while the IT admins would want to deep dive into the health and performance metrics. Custom tailoring the solution as per the client’s infrastructure and the needs will yield better outcome & improved network performance.

Network monitoring has become the backbone of any organization these days, the key is to get the desired uptime, improved visibility over IT infrastructure, historical analysis of past security events & mitigating possible downtime in future. Setting the expectations right with the vendor initially may help you meet your KRAs & KPIs associated with network management.

After all, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker

This is where Motadata closely works with your team to clearly define the user requirements from different departments to offer you a solution that is customized for your business needs.