Which Network Monitoring Solution Should I Choose?

February 1st, 2010 (Guest) Leave a comment
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Network Monitoring

If you are running an e-commerce or high traffic site that generates money – it is imperative to have a reliable network monitoring system whose job is to proactively check the health of every single component that makes up the site and report on any failures. Every minute of downtime counts in this case and you better know immediately when things break…. and they will! There is a number of products today, both proprietary and open source that offer you a monitoring solution that does that. Just pick either one? Well, not really!

Here are the things you have to think about when trying to select the right network monitoring solution for your business:

  1. Does it do what you want it to do? Understand what technical resources you plan to monitor? Is it systems and network devices only, or databases and your application? I have yet to see a monitoring solution that does it all. Most likely you will have a product that is either system or application centric for example and will have to take that into account.
  2. Time. How much time do you have on-hand to support and develop new features? If most of your time is spent on other business related tasks, consider getting a proprietary solution that will do that for you. If you have in-house resources to do that – open source might be the right direction.
  3. Scalability. Whatever product you go with, make sure it will be able to support your current network size and anticipated size many years later. The last thing you want to do is migrate from one product to a new one down the road, just because your original product is not able to support more then a thousand servers.
  4. Extensibility. One of the key things with any product is ability to easily extend it via custom plugins. Given that there is not a single product that does it all, being able to develop your own additional plugins is a must.
  5. Configuration management. For large size networks it is crucial to have highly regarded configuration management mechanism. You should be able to add new resources into any monitoring system within minutes. There are proprietary products out there that still don’t get this. Why? Because their product managers are not thinking of saving you time adding resources into the monitoring system. In small startups where product managers are the developers who write the code, that is even more of an issue.
  6. Cost. Do not go with open source just because it’s free! The time you will need to spend on figuring out problems and bugs might be well spent on something else that generates revenue for your business.

Remember, picking a monitoring solution for your business is not a simple task and requires some logical thinking. Make sure you understand how your business operates and what technical resources it depends on. Then work your way out to find the solution that best matches your requirements.

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About Boris Tulman

Boris is our resident Networking guru. He works as a Network Architect designing and implementing network technologies in ISP, e-commerce and social networking site environments. Boris holds M.S. in Software Engineering, B.S. in Computer Science and a handful of industry certifications. He teaches Networking courses at LearnComputer.