Network administrators have a tough task: they must meet the demands of users who require both stability and reliability while they are using their machines. For those who are running a smaller network that is growing or just need a quick refresher, here are the top three ways to make sure that your network is up to snuff in terms of network reliability.
Performing regular baselines of your network is imperative to getting measurable results. The most efficient and successful networking organizations spend their time every month and sometimes even every week working on consistent baseline procedures. This includes a regular base lining schedule and analyzing the results.
Then, when you are making changes or performance improvements to your network, you are then able to have comparative results to measure those changes. After you have made your configuration changes you’ll be able to run another baseline and find out if what you have done really has actionable results.
Regardless of what equipment vendor you use, they all have a variety of flow for you to utilize. NetFlow, jFlow or NetStream – it doesn’t matter as long as you are utilizing the technology already inside your equipment.
What’s really beneficial to using flow is how you are able to break down your traffic metrics inside the network. You are able to go in and see via a flow graph exactly where all the traffic is being used. Depending on how you decide to configure this protocol, you can break down this information into IP protocols, UDP ports and even user IDs or IP addresses.
Although the previous two points are important, they really aren’t worth a whole lot unless you know how to use the data that is derived from them. That’s why using network performance management (commonly known as NPM) can help you to better analyze the data. NPM is comprised of software-based tools that can take metrics from both your baseline analysis, flow data and information that can come directly from your network devices to give you a complete picture of your network.
All of this information bit by bit can be confusing, so NPM puts this all together for you. That way, you can really see how good the performance of your network is, hence the name.
In summary, network reliability is no doubt important. If you’re not using these three methods to ensure network reliability, you really aren’t doing enough to ensure that your network is healthy. Maybe it will take a serious problem in order for you to remedy this, but hopefully you’ll take some preemptive steps in enabling a solid and reliable network for yourself and your users.