Planning a network management system: Six easy steps

By planning your system, you'll avoid spending hours of fruitless time trying to manage it later.

What information do you want from your network management system? Who should get it? When?

If you take the time to plan for your system, you'll have those questions answered before you spend hours of fruitless time on your system, and your experience won't devolve into too-much-data hell.

Glynn Meek, president and CEO of TriActive, Inc., suggests using a six-step planning process before to keep things on an even keel.

  1. Find out what you have. Many network administrators don't know, and without knowing what's out there on the other end of your cabling, you can't even begin to know what you want to monitor. Auto discovery modules do this easily.
  2. Set monitoring limits. Do you want to monitor everything on the network? Probably not, so limit your monitoring to those events that will have an impact on the business or on user productivity. Determine this at the business level.
  3. Find the drivers on the critical business path. If something is happening off the critical path, it's not nearly as important as something that will affect, say, the processing of an online order.
  4. Determine how often to monitor. You have to set the polling frequency to one that will not bog down your network with management traffic but that will still allow you to know what's happening.
  5. Determine which IT people to send alerts to. Alert only those who need to deal with the problem, not the whole IT staff. And at the same time, determine who should be in the escalation path. (If Bob can't solve the problem, we escalate to Jim.)
  6. Set up report reviews on a regular basis. By reviewing your reports, particularly with an eye to spotting trends, you can determine where problems are about to happen and nip them in the bud.


About the author: David Gabel is executive technology editor for TechTarget.
This was first published in April 2002

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