Guarantee Network Uptime with Network Uptime Monitoring

Network downtime is no fun for anyone. End users (tied to their computing devices) don’t know what to do, customers and partners can’t do business with you and IT pulls out more hair than a barber shop floor.

Network downtime leads to lost productivity, business and precious IT time. Here are a few uptime facts to consider:

  • Downtime costs enterprises 26.5 billion dollars in revenue each year.
  • Downtime costs customers. When your systems are down, customer frustration goes up. While some customers return, many move to your competitor whose network was available.
  • Website availability is key to search rankings. Google prizes consistent and available systems and dings systems that suffer from downtime.

The answer to all these ills is to avoid network downtime in the first place by ensuring the opposite: network uptime. IT infrastructure monitoring, also commonly known as network monitoring, is critical to keeping your network and is the only way to achieve the much vaunted “Five Nines” of network availability.

The Cost of Network Downtime

The costs of network time are ever increasing. “Some 44% of firms indicate that hourly downtime costs exceed $1 million to over $5 million, exclusive of any legal fees, fines or penalties,” says a piece from Techchannel. “Additionally, 91% of organizations said a single hour of downtime that takes mission-critical server hardware and applications offline, averages over $300,000 due to lost business, productivity disruptions and remediation efforts. Meanwhile, only 1% of organizations—mainly very small businesses with 50 or fewer employees—estimate that hourly downtime costs less than $100,000.”

These results from ITIC’s Hourly Cost of Downtime Survey also show that enterprises are aiming to increase network uptime. In fact, 89% of organizations polled now demand at least 99.99% availability, with 35% aiming for 99.999% uptime.

Network Uptime and SLAs

Today’s enterprises don’t just want high network uptime. They demand it, often through availability SLAs. “Many IT teams must follow high availability guidelines and an SLA at the ‘4 nines’ level. That translates to 99.99% uptime, or just over 52 minutes of downtime a year. Other teams are committed to an SLA set at the “5 nines” (or 99.999% uptime). This leaves very little time for unplanned downtime at about 26 minutes per year,” argued the WhatsUp Gold How to Meet Your SLA and Get 30 Minutes Back a Day blog.

Tracking Uptime Data Leads to More Uptime

IT cannot know its network downtime issues without tracking, analyzing and responding to uptime data. “There’s a lot more to data on uptime, downtime, service time, and miscellaneous time than meets the eye. Moreover, there is no limit to the amount of information a company can generate from uptime data. Among other benefits of network monitoring, an uptime report can say a lot about your customer experience, data security, revenue loss, and savings potential,” the WhatsUpGold Uptime blog explained. “Uptime data helps systems anticipate downtimes, track performance, and catch issues when they are still minor and easy to fix.”

At the most basic level, uptime reports show whether the network itself, or portions therein, are up. “A unified management screen helps maintain uptime because it will uncover the downtime culprit in the chain of technologies linked to any particular application. When the speed of access to applications starts to crawl, a unified system can identify the traffic jam by gathering information from every point on the network -- including virtual, physical, and private cloud environments. Imagine identifying the root cause of a problem in minutes instead of ours and fixing it quickly enough that your users' experience remains unchanged,” the Uptime blog said.

At a deeper level the Device Uptime report show the uptime status of network devices for the selected interval, and reveals:

  • Device. Name of the device.
  • Address. IP address of the device.
  • Up. Percentage of time device was in an "Up" state.
  • Maintenance. Percentage of time device was in Maintenance mode.
  • Unknown. Percentage of time in an undetermined stated.
  • Down. Percentage of time in a "Down" state.

Network Uptime Case in Point: Getting to Five Nines

How do you get to Five Nines network uptime? With network monitoring, that’s how.

Take the case of a major transportation firm and its new IT director who walked in already knowing the network issues they were facing. This company supplies cargo containers for used ships, trucks and trains. To keep all these pieces, the company’s 12-person IT team built and ran a sprawling network of desktops, with virtual and physical servers spread across 12 locations. All total, there were over 90 network devices, watched over by 150 active monitors and passive (SNMP trap) monitors.

“An early meeting on the first day with his staff made it clear that the IT team didn’t use or have access to network monitoring tools. That meant they would only hear of a problem causing network downtime when user complaints began pouring in. Staff members would scramble to find a way to handle the problem, but they were doomed to repeat the process when the same problem arose again. Fortunately, he had used Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold network monitoring software at two prior jobs and installed the product and several integrated plug-ins,” the Network Monitoring Moves Transportation Firm to 99.999% Uptime case study detailed.

To visualize the network, the team built a dynamic topology map showing in detail everything on the network. They then used an out-of-the-box network status report showing issues such as wiring issues, network loops, unmanaged switches and network overloaded devices. With this information, the team ripped and replaced all the weak of failing parts of the network.

“A year later, network uptime had improved from a baseline they never wanted to measure to 99.999%, in part because they were now able to use network monitoring to solve for root causes rather than treating symptoms. This helped ensure that problems are now more likely to stay solved. As a result, only two staff members are needed to maintain the network. ‘Once WhatsUp Gold is set up, it runs itself, the director explained. This has freed the rest of the staff to carry out proactive work that’s helped raise overall IT service levels to new highs,” the blog concluded.

How WhatsUp Gold Delivers the Uptime Goods

WhatsUp Gold can ensure high availability through Network and Network Device Monitoring.

View All of The ABCs of Infrastructure Monitoring

Looking to start on the basics of IT infrastructure monitoring? Our alphabetized index is an excellent place to begin or extend your education. View all of our current topics.




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