Stopping the choke: Detecting bottle necks on your network.
Slow performance - either on desktops or across your network - can be both frustrating and costly to your business in terms of staff motivation and customer service. Online retail businesses and others with customer-facing IT can be affected in particular, especially if website and ordering systems grind to a halt.
There are many reasons why slow-downs occur; sometimes theyâ€™re the result of a combination of different hardware and software issues. Small scale slow-downs can often be attributed to an issue with the applications or PC being used; however, if the issues are being experienced by a number of team members, the fault is most likely network related. Low bandwidth and delayed packets throttle the ability of your applications to run properly; in the worst case scenario they can result in severe instability and cause systems to crash.
The issue of course is that a reduction in network performance is hard to spot and diagnose; often only becoming apparent when it starts to cause issues for users or customers. Furthermore, diagnosis of the issue within an ever evolving corporate network is hard. With hundreds of physical and virtual devices running multiple configurations on the average network, how do you catch the issue early, determine where slow-downs are occurring and understand what is causing them?
Monitoring is the solution
Whatever the issue, a monitoring solution such as Mutiny can help you to keep an eye on all your devices and watch the flow of information around your network. Monitoring helps you to identify devices that are struggling, running out of storage or memory, or those that are starting to fail. This allows you to swap out or adjust their configuration before they create serious problems.
With the correct monitoring solution you can also track the bandwidth between your devices, sites and across your network as a whole. When the first signs of slow-downs occur, automated alerting systems flag issues to your tech team and detailed dashboards allow your engineers to drill into devices across your network and diagnose where congestion is occurring.
How does it work?
Monitoring solutions can use a number of different techniques to keep an eye on your bandwidth, from vendor specific, in-built technology to industry standard, vendor agnostic techniques.
Whilst you can gain a lot of information from the vendor specific flow technologies such as jFlow (Juniper) and NetFlow (Cisco), the relative cost to support all of these different vendors is greater than using non-vendor specific techniques or operating system centric ones such as WMI.
Our preferred monitoring method is via SNMP. SNMP allows for the monitoring of bandwidth of routers and switches on a port-by-port basis. SNMP is easy to configure, and requires negligible bandwidth and CPU cycles compared to other methods such as flows, packet sniffing or WMI. SNMP is also easily scalable to monitor larger networks with hundreds or even thousands of sensors.
Monitoring for trends
Sometimes bandwidth issues are intermittent. Where this is the case, long-term trend analysis can be used to identify peaks in your network traffic. You can then configure your devices to cope with these peaks, re-routing or switching operational configuration at those times to cope with these spikes.
Long term trend analysis can also allow you to see growing bandwidth requirements and understand at what point action will be required in terms of configuration, hardware and software changes. Trend analysis allows you to plan more effectively for the future of your network and provide a robust, reliable and high performing solution for your business, its teams and customers.
If you would like more information about Mutinyâ€™s network bandwidth monitoring and configuration technologies then get in touch.