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Network Management Components - The Basics of an Effective Management Strategy

Overview:

This article will define a network management strategy for managing the network. It is necessary to define how the equipment is going to be monitored and determine if the current management strategy is adequate or if new applications, equipment, protocols and processes must be identified. Management components are then integrated with infrastructure and security. These primary elements comprise any well-defined management strategy and should be considered when developing your strategy.

Network Management Strategy

Network Management Groups
SNMP Applications
Monitored Devices and Events

Network Management Groups

Fault
Performance
Device
Security
Change
Configuration
Implementation

Fault Management

This describes the pro-active monitoring of devices, circuits and servers for errors. It specifies what events are monitored and thresholds for generating alarms. Once the alarms are generated, there is an escalation process for addressing any errors. It could be a circuit problem, a router interface or a server link. Service level agreements with local loop providers and long distance IXC for circuit repair are important as is vendor equipment repair contracts. Out-of-band router management allows troubleshooting and configuration of routers with an attached modem.

The support technician doesn't rely on the primary circuit to reach the router. They will utilize a separate analog dial line with a modem connected to the auxiliary port at the router. Escalation support processes are defined that are used by the network operations center (NOC) employees for effective problem resolution. These are some typical support activities:

Established Tier support levels with job responsibilities well defined for each Tier group
Defined severity levels and what Tier group is responsible
Defined response times for severity levels
Applications for trouble tickets
Established troubleshooting procedures for employees
Root Cause Analysis
Survey support groups for skill levels, identify deficiencies and plan for training programs to address that.

Performance Management

This describes the pro-active monitoring of device, circuit and server performance levels. That translates to monitoring and reporting on trends with device CPU, memory and link utilization, circuit bandwidth utilization, server CPU, memory and disk input⁄output rate. As well campus segments and device interfaces should be monitored for collisions, CRC errors and packet drops. Bandwidth capacity planning is an on-going process of monitoring bandwidth utilization trends for the enterprise network and consideration of business growth estimates.

That information is utilized for developing a provisioning strategy addressing company bandwidth capacity needs. The dynamic nature of an enterprise network is such that new locations, employees and application deployments will increase network traffic and utilize available bandwidth. Trend monitoring tools are typically run from the network operations center and focus on enterprise traffic patterns and performance of circuits, routers and switches.

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