Illustration of Network Monitoring

Network Monitoring

 

Network Monitoring is a term that is widespread throughout the IT industry.  It is critical for keeping computer systems running optimally and safe from cyberattack.

But what is network monitoring?

Network monitoring, which is part of network management, is a critical IT process in which all networking components like routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and VMs are monitored for fault and performance and are continuously evaluated to maintain and optimize their availability. All companies should be proactive, not reactive, where network monitoring is concerned.

While an intrusion detection system monitors network threats from the outside, a network monitoring system monitors the network for problems caused by overloaded or crashed servers, network connections, or other devices. The idea is to ward off problems before they even happen.

4 Steps to Effective Network Monitoring

Step 1:  Identify devices that need to be monitored

Continuous monitoring of networks and related devices is essential.  Identify the devices and the related performance metrics to be monitored.

Step 2:  Determine network monitoring frequency

Devices like desktops and printers are not critical and do not require frequent monitoring.  Servers, routers, and switches, on the other hand, perform mission/business-critical tasks and have specific parameters that can be selectively monitored.

Step 3:  Choose the right network monitoring protocols

When monitoring a network and its devices, it is good practice to adopt a secure, non-bandwidth-consuming network management protocol to minimize the impact it has on network performance.

Site monitoring services can check HTTP pages, HTTPS, SNMP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, DNS, SSH, TELNET, SSL, TCP, ICMP, SIP, UDP, media streaming and a range of other ports with a variety of check intervals ranging from every four hours to every one minute. Typically, most network monitoring services test your server anywhere between once-per-hour to once-per-minute.

For monitoring network performance, most tools use protocols like SNMP, NetFlow, Packet Sniffing, or WMI.

Step 4:  Configure meaningful network monitoring thresholds

The key challenge in real-time network monitoring is to proactively identify performance bottlenecks. This is where thresholds play a major role in network monitoring. Threshold limits vary from device to device, based on the business-use case. Configuring thresholds helps businesses proactively monitor the resources and services running on servers and network devices. Each device can have an interval or threshold value set based on user preference and need.

A multi-level threshold can assist in classifying and breaking down any fault encountered. Utilizing thresholds, network monitoring alerts can be raised before the device goes down or reaches critical condition.

Internet Server Monitoring

Monitoring an internet server means that the server owner always knows if one or all of his services go down. Server monitoring may be internal (i.e. – web server software checks its status and notifies the owner if some services go down) or external (i.e. – some web server monitoring companies check the status of the service with a certain frequency).

Server monitoring can encompass a check of system metrics, such as CPU usage, memory usage, network performance, and disk space. It can also include application monitoring, such as checking the processes of programs such as Apache HTTP server, MySQL, Nginx, Postgres, and others.

External monitoring is more reliable, as it keeps on working when the server completely goes down. Good server monitoring tools also have performance benchmarking, alerting capabilities, and the ability to link certain thresholds with automated server jobs, such as provisioning more memory or performing a backup.

Failover and Failback: Two Network Monitoring “Musts”

Failover and failback functionality ensures an always-monitored network environment by utilizing a secondary standby server. If a failure occurs in the primary server, the secondary server is readily available to take over so the database stays secure.  Automated, seamless switching between the primary server to the standby server, and vice versa, ensures 100% network and device uptime.  It’s one of the ways in which we keep EZnet Scheduler® 100%reliable 100% of the time.

EZnet Scheduler screen shots
EZnet Scheduler is accessible on all devices, Windows/Android or Apple.

 

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