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