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SoftwareMedia Blog | April 23, 2014

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What Is IT Network And Application Monitoring?

What Is IT Network And Application Monitoring?

According to Webopedia, “Network monitoring is the phrase used to describe a system that continuously monitors a network and notifies a network administrator through messaging systems (usually e-mail) when a device fails or an outage occurs.”

Why Do You Need IT Network and Application Monitoring?

It’s the 21st Century, all companies and businesses – no matter if they have 5 or 50000 employees – rely on a variety of IT systems, including servers, switches, VoIP phone systems, email, databases, etc. Since all of these IT systems run on an IT infrastructure, it’s necessary to have an IT network and application monitoring system to ensure that infrastructure runs smoothly.

Where Can I Get IT Network and Application Monitoring?

The type of network IT monitoring system you buy will certainly depend on your budget. Fortunately, IT network and application monitoring comes in a wide variety of  sizes and budgetary levels, from freeware (or shareware) IT monitoring tools to open source software to fully-licensed proprietary enterprise network monitoring software tools.

Freeware or shareware is generally fine for personal use at home but when it comes to your business, you don’t want to expose your IT infrastructure to the possibility of bugs or viruses.  Open source software systems offer a large amount of versatility and a huge development pool to draw from (typically there will be thousands of other people/businesses out there using the same product as you).

However, the downside of using open source software usually means you will need quite a lot of tech expertise to install and maintain the system, as you will be relying on forums for support.

Last but not least, commercially-licensed proprietary software will generally give you the most peace-of-mind. However, it comes at a cost – not only will you pay for the initial software installation/download, but you may find yourself ‘roped in’ to paying for updates, IT support, etc.

IT Network and Application Monitoring

What Should I Look For in Terms of IT Network and Application Monitoring?

Dashboards

Network monitoring software requires an IT administrator, and an IT administrator’s job seems like a never-ending task these days. However, with the upgraded capabilities of monitoring dashboards, an IT administrator can easily view an overall summary of the entire network infrastructure all within one easy-to-view page. The best IT network and application monitoring software will offer dashboards that can be customized to your specific needs and requirements, allowing you to specify which graphs, networks, and infrastructure devices you view as well as its placement within your dashboard.

Reporting

Reporting for your IT network and application monitoring can help you easily keep track of what’s happening in your IT infrastructure. Allowing you to generate regular reports and send them to key decision makers in your organization are essential capabilities that should be included in your IT network and application monitoring system.

Ease of Installation/Set-up

Some network monitoring solutions can be extraordinarily difficult to install and set up, thereby taking up a lot of your time and resources. Any IT network and application monitoring system that can eliminate the need for manual configuration will help to speed up installation as well as reduce possible configuration errors and make your sysadmins life a whole lot easier!

Integration

Needless to say, the IT network and application monitoring system of your choosing should easily integrate with other systems within your IT infrastructure. This is probably one of the things IT administrators overlook most, but it should actually be what you look at first. There is no use choosing software that will require you to update all of the other tools in your system.

Cost

Many companies and businesses fail to monitor their networks properly due to cost concerns. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t implement a quality IT network and application monitoring system. A proper IT network monitoring tool should be versatile in terms of cost, and should be flexible enough to grow with your company.

Scalability

Although today you may be interested in monitoring just 25 servers, what if your company grows? You must ensure that as your business grows and demand for additional server resources increase, your IT network and application monitoring system is able to handle any additional servers without any technical issues.

Process Mapping

A good IT network and application monitoring system should allow for process mapping, which lets you quickly and easily see what’s happening and what systems may be impacted by an outage. Ideally you should be able to upload network topology maps which you can then overlay with meaningful labels that represent devices or systems within your business.

Technical Support

When you’re attempting to pick out an IT network and application monitoring system, you need to decide whether you will go with a supported or unsupported option. Money is often the deciding factor, but considering how important IT and network monitoring can be to your business, knowing that you can get rapid fixes and technical support can be extremely reassuring (the more important IT is to your business, the more essential IT monitoring becomes). Choosing a supported network solution gives you the peace of mind that if you hit any problems you can turn to the vendor for help.

Brian writes about application and network monitoring software for Opsview Ltd. He’s been working in the IT industry for over 15 years with experience in networking, hardware, software and information management.  He regularly writes content for the Opsview website and other industry blogs.

Comments

  1. Organizations rely on their IT infrastructure to conduct all aspects of business today. If the network isn’t working properly it affects performance and productivity. Even just a small amount of downtime can have a negative impact, which is why a monitoring solution is always recommended.

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