Research Hub > What Network Admins Should Look For in Network Management and Monitoring Tools

September 15, 2023

3 min

What Network Admins Should Look For in Network Management and Monitoring Tools

Learn what factors to consider when evaluating network management and monitoring tools so you can make an informed decision that meets your organization’s business requirements.

When it comes to managing and monitoring networks, network administrators need powerful tools that can keep pace with the ever-evolving technology landscape.

The network landscape has changed drastically over the years and people are now relying heavily on public cloud. This phenomenon has created more complexity for network administrators to bridge the gaps between the disparate groups operating in cloud and on-premises data centers. Multiple groups monitoring different environments often results in multiple monitoring tools. Additionally, the transition has brought other challenges such as gathering valuable data and pinpointing problems at their core.

The transition to multicloud and hybrid infrastructures has created a need to enhance the capabilities of network tools to improve the user experience.

Given that vendors are targeting hybrid environments, there are numerous options available for network administrators; however, it’s crucial to ensure that you select the appropriate network management and monitoring tools for your organization especially since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

In this article, we will explore the key factors that network administrators should consider when choosing these essential tools.

Consider Tools That Help You Extract Valuable Data To Improve Problem-Solving Processes

As networks continue to expand in size and complexity, network administrators are placing more emphasis on monitoring user experiences and application performance while still focusing on the status of individual devices. In the past, determining if a network was functioning properly or not relied heavily on manual efforts using monitoring tools as key indicators.

For instance, if the main circuit for one location goes down and the monitoring tool loses connectivity with 15 devices behind it, complications arise. This can result in a situation where there are numerous alarms displayed on the board — potentially creating hundreds or thousands of alarms. At this point, the biggest challenge becomes how to get through all that noise and identify the root cause.

By shifting focus toward user experiences and application performance monitoring, network administrators can extract valuable data to proactively detect issues with the service providers and public cloud. This approach allows for more proactive problem-solving processes by pinpointing problems at their core while being able to quickly validate the end-user experience.

Tools That Incorporate Automation

Because of the rise of hybrid and multicloud infrastructure, network monitoring tools must be more powerful than ever. Network admins must monitor and manage within the infrastructure and bridge the gaps between the disparate groups operating in on-premises and cloud data centers.

One way to address these challenges is through automation and machine learning. Some vendors are creating their own tools using this functionality to not only alarm, but to also run playbooks to restore outages. Automation gives network admins assurance with real-time visibility into network performance. Additionally, tools that make use of machine learning can identify bottlenecks and detect anomalies in real time, which has been a manual and time-consuming process.

Look For Tools That Allow for Capacity Planning

As networks grow in size and complexity, it is essential for network management tools to be scalable and accommodate future growth, so consider tools that allow for capacity planning.

Understanding the impact on existing production is crucial in this context. For example, let's consider a data center fabric with multiple ports. If there is a need to accommodate 50 percent growth, it becomes essential to assess whether the infrastructure can handle such an expansion. By utilizing these tools, one can predict if the fabric and network are capable of supporting increased demands. This type of planning becomes increasingly significant when dealing with moves, additions and changes within an environment.

By leveraging these tools that provide valuable insights for capacity planning and incorporating them into your decision-making process, you can confidently navigate potential challenges while optimizing performance and reliability across your network environment.

Identify Your Security Objectives

Applications can exhibit variations in behavior, and it is crucial to ensure that only authorized individuals with the necessary resources have access to a specific application, such as Application A. For example, some manufacturers offer security capabilities that associate users with specific groups and grant access to various objects or resources within the network. Understanding your goals for the business and how you want your users to access applications can ultimately create an improved user experience.

Not All Tools Are Created Equal

If you are struggling with finding the right network management and monitoring solutions for your organization, CDW can help. We know that it’s important to recognize that not all tools are equal, which is why we offer assessments, planning and consultation services to help you select the most appropriate tool that aligns with your business requirements. We will also assist in establishing a baseline network behavior that allows you to understand the normal functioning of your network as well as how your applications and end users interact with it.

Furthermore, through our managed services, CDW will work in tandem with you to resolve networking problems and provide regular reports to help you understand the health and performance of the network and to identify any areas that might need attention.

Discover how CDW can assist you in evaluating network management and monitoring solutions that align with your business goals. This will enable you to extract valuable data from your network and ultimately enhance user experiences and performance monitoring. 

Chris Weinert

CDW Expert
Chris Weinert is a principal field solution architect at CDW.
Rick McGee

Rick McGee

CDW Expert
Rick McGee is a principal field solution architect at CDW. He specializes in CISCO ACI and VMware NSX environments, enterprise networking architecture with Cisco architecture, network analytics tools from Cisco Tetration to VMware Network Insight, as well as facilitation, training and public speaking.