Best Practices

Resolve Poor Network Performance

To fix network performance and availability challenges, you need a monitoring solution that offers seven key capabilities.

Slow systems? Can’t easily find the root cause of problems? Tired of being in the dark?

Consider a single, integrated solution that ensures the availability and performance of your network, applications and servers.

Like IT professionals everywhere, you contend with monitoring and performance headaches every day—often with limited visibility and control that can leave you “in the dark,” with no clear way out. For example…

Slow is the new down —and that leads to more user complaints.

Habitually slow systems can undermine productivity throughout your organization. They can drain any user’s patience—and yours. But when problems are intermittent, it can be even more maddening, due to the apparent random nature of the occurrence, the seeming impossibility of reproducing all the conditions necessary to isolate the problem, and the sheer complexity of the applications and dependencies involved.

But where do you start when you’re trying to pinpoint the performance issues that are plaguing increasingly complex and interconnected systems? You really don’t want to spin your wheels analyzing event logs or creating test scripts. Those can take days or weeks—and might not even succeed.

Fact is, most of today’s disparate, out-of-the-box monitoring systems usually don’t get you quickly to the root cause of the issue. The origins of intermittent performance problems can remain a mystery long after user frustration has boiled over.

Tired of being reactive?

You may also lack the visibility to anticipate network, application and server faults before they happen, putting you at the disadvantage of always being in a defensive, reactive mode. You’re unable to proactively get ahead of problems prior to their occurrence.

There’s a great deal of data out there suggesting all too frequently you and your colleagues are being forced to make assumptions about the root cause of problems—in well over 50% of the cases. This can lead to misdiagnosis on your part, hours of lost time, and further reduction of availability.

This problem is made worse when false positives result in alarm storms (when you receive alarms from every device that’s dependent on a single point of failure), because you can’t tell major problems from minor ones, or when there are none at all. You’re forced to sift through hundreds of unnecessary alarms or alerts, and painstakingly attempt to isolate faults and prioritize tasks because you can’t separate real failures from non-existent ones. All of which can lead to even more mistakes when you’re trying to recommend the right solution.

Fortunately, there is an easier and better way to monitor the performance, health and availability of networks, application and servers. To help fix the network performance and availability challenges we’ve outlined, you need a monitoring solution that offers you 7 key capabilities.

7 Capabilities for Rapidly Improving Visibility and Control

Find a solution that includes both device and dependency awareness (and rapid discovery and mapping).

If your network monitoring solution doesn’t account for dependencies between devices on your network, you’re often forced to put up with a disruptive wave of alarms—for example, when a router failure cascades to a switch failure, and that, in turn, cascades to server failures.

You need an integrated performance monitoring solution that not only knows which devices are on your network, but how they’re all connected. So, taking our example one step further, you’d have a dependency aware monitoring solution that can see all the connectivity between the router, switches and servers. So you’d get only a single alert for the router, and alerts for all the other connected devices would be suppressed.

Think of the time you would save. And the relative ease with which you’d be able to isolate, prioritize and resolve real network problems, leading to vastly improved performance and availability.

Of course, one way to achieve dependency awareness is to create it manually. That requires you to create a network map to visualize the network, a labor- intensive task that could take days. Then you would need to individually create the dependencies between devices—often hundreds of them—which could consume weeks on end. Or maybe monitor just a portion of the network, only to find the switch you thought wasn’t critical had become critical after all.

The alternative: Rely on a solution that has dependency awareness and layer 2/3 mapping and discovery designed into it—and requires NO manual effort on your part. It’s all handled automatically for you. So you can quickly discover and map dependencies—and introduce unprecedented efficiency into your operation—absolute essentials for maximizing performance and availability levels.

Additionally, your monitoring solution not only needs to discover and map dependencies, it also needs to be able to continue to do so—automatically— as your network configurations change and your operations grow. By providing you with sufficient scalability, it will continue to give you the bandwidth you need.

Put real-time alerts and historical/drill-down dashboards to work for you.

Here’s where you gain visibility into your systems. If your solution features real-time alerts that are threshold based, you’ll get an early warning of

application, server and network performance problems. Drill-down dashboards would enable you to quickly pinpoint root causes. And historical dashboards could identify trends and intermittent performance problems, so you can act proactively to ensure consistent, predictable and improved performance.

The bottom line: You will be able to solve problems before they impact users and operations while generating comprehensive reports to keep management informed.

Take “solve it in advance” capabilities one step further—by automating them.

In addition to real-time alerts via email or text, you’ll want a solution enabling you to use Active Scripts, PowerShell scripts and embedded action to restart services, reboot network devices and services, and initiate malware scans. So if you’re facing a problem you already know how to correct, you’ll find the fix is made automatically, in the precise manner you want, without you having to initiate it. So you will always be ahead of the game, instead of playing catch-up.

Insist on end-to-end integrated monitoring.

Your increasingly complex and integrated systems need a solution to do it all—wired and wireless networks, physical and virtual servers, applications, and databases. Your solution needs to support SNMP, WMI, SSH, SQL Query and Scripting, too, so you can monitor almost any device and application in your IT infrastructure. Above all, it needs to coordinate everything as a “single version of the truth” (as opposed to multiple reports), so you can quickly isolate and resolve the service issues that negatively impact network performance and availability. Quite simply, you’ll get a comprehensive, unified, all-in-one picture view—” that will simplify your IT operations and your life.

Be sure your solution is quickly “production ready” (how about in an hour?)

You’ll want to seamlessly transition from evaluation to production, and quickly be up-and-running with production-ready monitoring featuring dependency awareness, and rapid discovery and mapping. For most, with the right system, you can be up and production ready in under an hour. But, be cautious of many competitive solutions making claims of speedy follow-on discovery— what they’re saying isn’t necessarily true. They may be sending you down a path where you don’t have all dependencies mapped, resulting in enormous expenditures of time and money as you continually remap to keep up with network evolution and expansion. This will add to the massive, sunken costs the vendor has already forced you to make.

Insist on transparent device-based pricing

Important tip: Lock in device-based pricing as opposed to the port-based- pricing that drives up Total Cost of Ownership. Wouldn’t you rather be charged for a single device than for each of the 48 ports? Don’t be fooled by predatory pricing practices resulting from a potential vendor under-configuring during evaluation, only to drive up the costs with expensive upgrades after installation. Plus, as cited, there are all those extra hours of remapping, driving up costs even further.

Combine the best of single, integrated performance monitoring with the rich experience and expertise of a proven industry leader.

Go with WhatsUp Gold, the solution that sets the industry standard for superior performance monitoring. We offer enterprise capabilities for today’s SMB—something no one else can legitimately say. When you do business with us, you’re working with a seasoned and accomplished pioneer in the monitoring space that now provides network, application and server monitoring software for more than 150,000 networks worldwide.

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