Networks are complicated animals and, with each passing day, they grow more complex. One of the challenges faced by network administrators is maintaining and monitoring the performance of the network being used. It is an essential function in order to keep things running smoothly and optimally. Network performance monitoring has become one of the primary responsibilities of those expected to manage the system.
What exactly is involved in monitoring the performance of a network? With mixed networks, it entails managing the links between devices, workstations, servers, virtual devices, and mobile devices on the network. In order to understand if the network is operating properly, the performance monitoring software gathers metrics from the servers and all the linked devices. It then involves analyzing the data to determine where there are bottlenecks and congestion, as well as ways to maximize or maintain throughput. This type of software also looks for security issues from both internal and external sources.
There are two basic protocols used for facilitating network management: Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). SNMP is widely used because many manufacturers produce devices with this protocol enabled. WMI is a Microsoft product and is used primarily for gathering data and monitoring performance for Windows-based machines.
Software designed to help network administrators perform effectively also allows for the production of meaningful reports and creates alerts when issues arise. Network performance monitoring allows admins to not only monitor but also adequately manage by identifying trends, issues, and risks. It allows admins to address issues before they become problems.