Best Practices

Network Troubleshooting Tips

Detect the root cause of network issues to improve the health of your networks, applications and servers.

The more tools the slower your troubleshooting process.

If you are using different tools to monitor network devices, servers, virtual environments and applications, it can be a nightmare to try to quickly locate the root cause of a problem.

With disparate monitoring solutions, you lack visibility into your complex, interdependent network, applications and servers. This makes the process of finding the root cause of performance issues slow and painful.

So, when there is a problem, users put up with delays and difficulties for far longer than they are prepared to tolerate. Complaints escalate, and management gets frustrated… and involved.

Of course, your IT team may be alerted to the issue in nanoseconds. That’s not the problem. But because you can’t detect dependencies using multiple silo-specific tools, your IT team has difficulty understanding where to start the troubleshooting process.

Aggravating alarm storms hound your IT team.

Sure, there’s just one failure. But with loads of false alarms pouring in to your IT personnel via panicked phone calls and e-mails, it becomes impossible to separate the real failure from all the decoys that are thrown in your path. Your team sifts through reports and error messages from each tool, but finds that takes them nowhere. Hours pass, and the only conclusion that comes through loud and clear is this: No one in your organization can find the root causes of problems quickly, easily or confidently. Productivity and SLAs are threatened.

You need a consolidated view of your infrastructure.

To detect the root causes of problems with speed and efficiency, you need better visibility than your current collection of disparate monitoring solutions can deliver. Collections of tools make it hard to monitor the increasingly complex and interrelated systems of today. Unless you can see your environment end-to-end, including dependencies, you are always going to spend 75% of your time searching for the right troubleshooting path to go start on.

Six Tips for Troubleshooting Your Network

Tip #1: Trust 1 Version of the Truth

Variety in life may be a good thing – variety in performance monitoring tools isn’t. If you have multiple systems, each of your team members get a different view of a problem. This requires them to compare, contrast and make guesses as to root cause. Your first step is to look for a single, integrated monitoring system that’s got you covered for wired and wireless, physical and virtual – anything and everything that is “network aware.” This guarantees you a comprehensive, all-in-one view of your entire network – a “single version of the truth.”

You’ll also want to be able to generate drill-down and historical dashboards. Your IT team will find these tools invaluable in helping them get ahead of the game – fixing problems before users are impacted, and before the hunt for root cause ever becomes an issue.

Tip #2: Leverage Automatic Layer 2/3 Discovery and Mapping for Complete Visualization

Visualizing your entire infrastructure is essential. Fortunately, there are advanced, easy-to-use solutions that automate the whole process and enable you to see everything… and miss nothing. It’s a rapid process that discovers and maps every device on your network, a vital prerequisite for narrowing the search for root cause and zeroing in on its precise location

Tip #3: Know You Can Depend on a Monitoring Solution That Is Dependency Aware

Not only do you need to see all the devices on your network, you need to see all the interconnectedness and dependencies. You want this taken care of automatically, so IT personnel don’t spend countless hours creating each, individual dependency. With automatic dependency awareness, IT will be freed from the persistence and wasted time of alarm storms. Your team will only receive an alarm from the faulted device, not every device that’s dependent (and is working just fine).

Tip #4: Lower TCO with Flexible Licensing

It’s difficult to see why anyone would choose to by separate products each with their own licensing model. Flexible licensing is a new approach that allows you to monitor up to a defined number of devices, applications, NetFlow collectors, etc.. With port-based pricing you end up paying for each port on a device that you want to monitor. With flexible licensing, you don’t need to worry about how many ports you monitor – you pay by the number of devices.

When you use disparate tools, even if they come from the same vendor, you have different licensing counts for each product. This results in large numbers of unused licenses. With flexible licensing you buy say 100 licenses. You use 70 for network devices (which could cover thousands of ports) and say 30 for Netflow collectors and applications.

Tip #5: Don’t Let Problems Fester. Get Production Ready Quickly in Just One Hour

Your solution shouldn’t leave you waiting around. Check to see if it will automatically discover all devices on your network, discover and map all dependencies, generate alert policies, apply alert thresholds, and generate multiple dashboards quickly (like in one hour).

Tip #6: Get a Scalable That Is Also Designed to Fit Your Current Needs

All of these tips lead you to Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold. It is, quite simply, the only solution available today that offers end-to-end monitoring of networks, servers, applications, virtual and wireless environments, network traffic analysis and configuration management all in one easy-to-use product, while remaining budget-friendly to the already stretched IT team.

Monitor Everything in Your Network

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