This week, reports emerged about the theft of U.S. military secrets by hackers from China, including advanced weapons systems.  Ironically, emerging technologies in big data architecture and network systems are making it harder for IT personnel to monitor their systems.  Network performance management is a significant issue for organizations that must reconcile emerging technologies with legacy infrastructure, incompatible devices, and ineffective software.

A 2012 survey by SevOne found that 90 percent of IT managers “do not have confidence in themselves to find problems before users are impacted”.  The findings found that the vast majority of IT departments have an inability to quickly detect problems in their network systems.

Additionally, 30 percent said they do not have a way to proactively detect problems, and 12 percent don’t have any idea how many critical issues they have per month.  The widespread problem could fuel business opportunities for vendors who can provide sophisticated analytics.

Credit: Commons/Flickr
Credit: Commons/Flickr

Network management software often includes performance-monitoring capability.  Ideally, such dashboards should monitor the health of the various devices which form a local area and wide area network.  There are many root causes of problems such as when a server stops responding, or a WAN circuit fails, or a LAN segment goes offline.

Enigma NMS, a product by Australia-based NETSAS, is one of the few solutions that provide scalability in the area of network monitoring.  It’s a “Noc in the Box” appliance that can be built on any hardware or VM and provide visibility, monitoring and management capabilities of entire enterprise network infrastructure.  When network outage occurs, Enigma advises its clients of the details of connected carriage, according to the company.

There are three key steps to ensure the dependability of a network system:

  1. Verify compatibility between devices
  2. Properly configure the monitoring tool
  3. Establish baseline performance so that an IT staff can detect when there’s a potential problem with the network
  4. Monitor network trends such as performance over a period of time

“Enigma NMS was first deployed in the Queensland Department of Main Roads [Australia] . . . and proved to be a real success,” said NETSAS CEO Mikhail Chelomanov in a recent interview.  “It was an effective and comprehensive monitoring and management system for the entire network infrastructure.”

His company installed a bill validation module which reduced errors for thousands of customers.  “Validating telecommunications bills is a specialized, labor intensive, tedious and error-prone activity.  If the client doesn’t have the time, resources and tools to validate telecommunications bills, they are just being paid,” said Chelomanov.

Customers are beginning to demand that network monitoring solutions should provide actionable information.  Organizations want to resolve network problems, not look at massive amounts of data delivered by a software tool.  Thus, the marketplace is creating products designed to help organizations discover actionable information.

An effective monitoring tool empowers technicians to conduct periodic checks on network devices and to review their performance. The main purpose of a network system is to facilitate data flow within and between organizations.  As IT departments update their legacy systems, network security and monitoring will be crucial aspects of a sophisticated data infrastructure.