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Network Monitoring

The definition of network monitoring has changed over time and even today there can be huge differences between the network monitoring service provided by different companies. At one point, network monitoring was limited to watching a company's communication interfaces and receiving notification if they were down. Network monitoring now can be much broader in scope and involve the proactive performance measurement of computer hardware and communication pipelines to ensure they operate within a specified range.

Basic Network Monitoring

In its most basic form network monitoring is limited to notification that something is no longer working or is not available. This method of network monitoring includes ping, port, URL and most web site monitoring. The notification is reactive in nature and allows you to know that something needs to be fixed. The is an acceptable network monitoring technique for companies that can afford to have their computer system down while repairs are made.

Advanced Network Monitoring

For companies that want to avoid system or network outages, network monitoring becomes much more proactive. Network monitoring would involve taking performance measurements of such things as CPU usage, server load, disk utilization, and memory usage. It might include the SNMP polling of every piece of equipment on the company's LAN or WAN. Network monitoring could even measure the response time of transactions and applications that are critical to the company or its bandwidth utilization. If any of these measurement was outside of preset boundaries the network monitoring system would send an alert so corrective action could be taken before the situation became critical. All the performance measurements taken by this network monitoring methodology also are stored in a database for trend analysis and capacity planning.

The best network monitoring systems include a trouble ticket system that automatically generates a trouble ticket when an alert is sent. This creates an audit trail, ensures that network monitoring alerts are not ignored, and provides administrative control of the process.

Network monitoring is well worth the investment and is something you should ask your hosting company to provide.

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