Unified Management of Network
Networks are getting complex with every passing year and today enterprises are finding it difficult to get a clear view on how the network is performing when there are so many devices deployed from multiple vendors. Each device is coming with its own management platform, thus creating nightmare for system and network engineer. In order to overcome this hurdle, a comprehensive unified network management platform is required for the management of devices from multiple vendors for topology management, fault management, performance management, WLAN management, VPN management, and management of 3rd party devices.
Characteristics of Unified Network Management Platform
A user reports that Wi-Fi Internet connectivity on his tablet is not operational in the hotel lobby. Network engineer at the helpdesk looks into wireless network management system and finds everything is okay. But this is not the complete picture. Network engineer is unaware that one of the network cables of the wired network got snapped while maintenance work was in progress. In this use case, if unified network management platform was in place, network engineer would have known that issue was between wired and wireless network connectivity and saved a lot of time and effort.
Unified network management platform offers single interface from where network engineer can view, configure, monitor, modify and troubleshoot issues in the wired and wireless network.
Key characteristics include – device monitoring and reporting of faults, configuration management, traffic analysis, automated service provisioning and delivery, network performance monitoring and reporting & analytics.
Benefits of Unified Network Management Platform
Enterprise should envision for following benefits while making purchase decision for unified network management platform:
- Support multiple functions: Unified network management platform should not only be limited to monitoring or fault reporting. It should also include configuration and performance management.
- Cost reduction: Through product consolidation and retirement of legacy solutions, enterprise would reduce a lot of investments into purchase of new or maintenance of end point management systems.
- Support multi-vendors and multi-network: Today enterprise has heterogeneous network environments (wired, wireless and virtualized). Unified network management platform should be able to provide support across multiple device/ equipment types from various vendors.
- Advanced reporting: Platform should be able provide advanced reporting and analytics of network performance. Reporting should be relevant to business functions that CTO’s can leverage to make better infrastructure investment decisions. Further using management platform enterprise can reduce mean time to resolutions (MTTR) through improved root cause analysis (RCA).
- Looking beyond routers and switches: Mature platform should be able to provide information beyond routers and switches. This means that key application servers, gateway firewall/ UTM, network security solution, bandwidth load balancer should also become a composite part of overall network management approach.
The unified network management platform presents a new approach for addressing the needs of network and security functions. A centralized management system available through unified console is a more efficient, intelligent and cost-effective way to ensure that IT infrastructure is available round the clock.
Effectiveness of enterprise network management will get measured by whether IT department can guarantee end users have fast, reliable and secure access to the business resources they need to do their jobs successfully. And in the era where online all the time is the rule, end users have zero tolerance for downtime.