Series: Issues facing today's IT operations and maintenance teams
[Part 2] Network monitoring
[ Dec 14, 2017 ]
3 Trends that enhance the importance of network management operations
For many companies, the burden of daily operations and incident support interferes with important IT strategy planning. In the second part of this series, we review network management operations and seek alternative operational approaches that reduce the workload for network managers.
Reviewing current network management operations
It is common for corporations to leave IT strategy to the IT division, trusting that proposals will reflect the business policies of the company. However, daily responsibilities not only prevent staff from pursuing strategy goals but also take time away from necessary improvements to operational procedures. There are many steps and procedures involved in network management operations, and this overwhelming workload creates problems for the IT division.
- Networks are not centrally managed.
- Issues must be determined and broken down before contacting vendors.
- Enterprise-scale audit logs are not maintained.
- Security measures are inadequate.
Daily IT management operations can be split into two categories: operations and management. Operations refers to the various procedures involved in running IT services and minimizing system and network downtime. Management tasks are services that support the smooth running of daily operations.
- Daily operations: system launch and exit, monitoring, data collection.
- Incident operations: data gathering, prioritizing issues, preventing diffusion, alerting affected business users, root cause analysis, recovery, recording.
- Maintenance operations: planning, research, maintenance of equipment and configurations, applying configuration changes.
- Environment management: managing equipment and configurations.
- Incident management: detecting issues, managing issue resolution, recording.
- Performance management: maintaining service levels, sustaining system performance, performance tuning.
- Equipment management: managing system-related equipment and facilities.
- Security management: system protection, data leakage prevention, maintaining audit logs.
Network management operations tasks are identified, planned, and organized in manuals that give staff the necessary instructions for running the systems. The level of planning depends on the scale of network operations. In recent years, three trending themes have been observed.
- Expanding networks
- Increasing complexity
- Diversifying usage
The scale of corporate networks is increasing every year. This growth needs to be taken into consideration when planning management operations.
In the past, IT environments were often built around products from one or two vendors. Today, multi-vendor environments are the norm, and this has resulted in more complex network architectures and networking environments.
Networks are now used not only to communicate between computers, but also to transmit a wide range of data types to a wide variety of data consumers. Examples include networked storage (IP-SAN) and multimedia data, including telecommunications (VoIP, IP phones) and video data (conference calls).
These trends clearly illustrate the growing importance of network operations and of network operations management. Network failures can be catastrophic for the entire system, and it is critical to recover networks as soon as possible after an outage.
To minimize downtime and ensure fast recovery from failures, networks must be monitored 24-hours a day, every day of the year. This is often a huge burden for the IT division, and is the reason why networking staff are overwhelmed by day-to-day operations.
24x7x365 around-the-clock monitoring services for enterprise networks
NTT Communications network management services can help ensure networks receive the highest quality operations management. One customer of NTT Communications signed up for around-the-clock network monitoring and incident response operations featuring the following services:
- Service desk as single point of contact
- 24x7 monitoring and operations
- Incident reporting
- Service manager (option)
- Monthly report (option)
- Network migration (using existing carrier)
NTT Communications monitors the customer's networks and related IT equipment from a network operations center (NOC). Onsite maintenance and vendor management operations are also managed and support engineers respond to incidents.
Adopting the NTT Communications network management service liberated the customer's IT division from around-the-clock shifts and having to sort out networking issues. The network management service not only mitigated the workload of the IT division but also improved risk prevention and reduced system downtime through enhanced security. “By integrating NTT Communications network management service, we achieved a major reduction in operations management workload which resulted in cost reductions including labor costs and other indirect costs.” said the company's IT manager.
IT infrastructure, especially network connectivity and security, are vital for business, so even infrequent crashes can cause tremendous damage to a company. Moreover, the digital era is in the high competition, so the enterprises require the professional IT monitoring service to manage and monitor the system to prevent the system damage and protect their business.
Comment from Masatoshi Tsuboi, Vice President and COO of Strategy, Product & Service, Data Center Department at NTT Communications (Thailand)
"Our Managed Monitoring Service provides full-cycle network monitoring for customers of NTT Com's Data Center, Enterprise Cloud or Networking services, specifically helping them to minimize the interruption of running network servers and applications. Our Managed Monitoring Service enables company to avoid this risk by managing their network systems efficiently."
How was the article? Next time let's look into another topic.
[Part 3] Server migration
Issues facing today's IT operations and maintenance teams