How to monitor networks: a brief and needed approach for all of us

Ok, so you own a company, now what? All right, then one of the million things to keep in mind, in addition to the plant that you are going to buy for your office, is learning how to monitor networks.

Think that if your computerized network stops working properly (for any reason) and the data that normally flows through it does not, the company is not functional anymore, during the whole time the disaster lasts. Apart from evolving into a big headache for your company and for the guys who invest money in it, this could also piss off your customers. However, if this happens more than once… customers may take their loyalty, pack it and leave to make other brands happy.

Therefore, learning how to monitor networks is important. Today we will take the Dummy way (which is my favorite), to make an approach to this concept. We will learn that the ultimate goal of a good system administrator is keeping the networks in perfect condition, day and night, whether it might rain or not.

First and foremost you must choose a good network monitoring tool, for example, Pandora FMS. It will help you in your quest for findinding possible latent problems before things gets out of hand and a network failure ends up ensuing.

But first things first, let us see two dummy concepts, in case someone suddenly asks you: “Aren’t network monitoring and network management kind of the same thing?” The answer is an absolute and ironic “nope”. While network monitoring means analyzing and verifying your network status, network management enables you to take a stand, take action and solve problems at your own risk, of course taking a global approach to the network.

For basic-as-dummy network monitoring, you need to know basic concepts such as syslog messages and bandwidth control.

How to monitor networks: syslog messages

Although “syslog” sounds like Klingon it is much more simpler than what it seems like. They are small messages generated by the communication equipment itself and sent to a central server in charge of storing them. “They usually contain information about the security of the system, although they can also storage any kind of information. The date and time of the shipment are included together with each message.”

How can these messages be helpful? Well, you just have to check the messages from the same server, analyze them, and set an alarm. You can find out that something is not right and change it when necessary the moment you receive any kind of alarm. For example, if there have been 10 failed accesses to your website in a minute, you can set an alarm when this happens and fix it.

How to monitor networks: bandwidth

All of us think about the concept of bandwidth more or less as the armed robbery by Internet and mobile companies that try to get you tangled up in their promotions. You know, it’s “the amount of information that goes through a network link in a certain period of time.” This information can go through wifi or fiberglass, for example. According to what they have managed to sell you, of course. When measured in bits per second, they allow you, in bandwidth monitoring, to know how busy your networks are.

With a good monitoring software, such as, I do not know, Pandora FMS for example, you can monitor the bandwidth and keep a close eye on its progress and performance, know when the links are full or who is overloading them. You already know that if a network exceeds 90% of its bandwidth usage, it can start to cause some problems.

Just by having learned what these two concepts mean, that is the syslog messages and bandwidth control, and knowing how the heck they work, you will be able to learn how to monitor networks, at least the simplest way, for dummies. Syslog messages and bandwidth control are two of the most important tools of basic network monitoring. They capture, measure, analyze and alert. Although they do not have the ability to manage networks itself, which is different, as we have already discussed. And by not “managing”, making decisions and solving problems by themselves, they do not provide a network overall view, preventing you from taking advantage of it at all.

There is no doubt that bandwidth and syslog messages help you have a knowledge of the state of your network, which will make your company be on the safe side, but if you need something else… you will have to go up a notch within the network field.

How to monitor networks: points to consider

Going beyond what could be considered strictly dummie, have you had time to think about the features that you think should be included in a good network monitoring software? Here we are going to give you certain key points that will help you and which you should reflect on or look them up to find out more about them, if you finally decide to get a hold of a network monitoring software. Note them down:

  • Alerting.
  • Integrations with external servers.
  • Usability and panel data display.
  • Flexibility when adapting to particular tools or software.
  • API access from external systems.
  • Automatic device detection.
  • Integrations with Databases.
  • Multi-device.
  • Scaling.
  • Support of the largest number of data acquisition protocols possible.
  • Security.
  • Integration with virtual machines.
  • Hardware integrations.
  • Remote control.
  • Hardware and software inventory.
  • Geo-localization.
  • Cloud monitoring.

If you are still craving for more, because, of course, thanks to this article you have left your position as a dummy to become a network monitoring alpha, you can ask for help to Pandora FMS team.

Do you still not know what Pandora FMS is? Even after having left you dozens of clues throughout the article! Find out now!

Pandora FMS is a flexible monitoring system, capable of monitoring devices, infrastructures, applications, services and business processes.

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