Are Performance Monitoring Scaling Issues Putting a Damper on Your Network Visibility?

Network Device Summary

There was a time not too long ago when the industry standard for monitoring the performance of networks was to collect metrics via SNMP from key points of the network every 5 minutes. Why was 5 minutes picked? Well, that was basically the low limit, minimum amount of time required for legacy network performance monitoring (NPM) solutions to scale their collection, analysis, reporting and long-term storage functions for leading enterprise networks. That was the reality “back in the day”.

Even at that 5-minute collection interval, legacy NPM solutions quickly reached choking points. Why? The answer is rather straightforward. Networks grow and evolve over time. They grow in the number and types of devices they encompass and that therefore need to be monitored. Networks also evolve in terms of the complexity of how network performance data needs to be collected.

For example, one household-name vendor’s NPM’s default device polling period for network interface performance data collection is every 9 minutes. Yes, that’s nearly double the old industry standard. But wait, it gets worse.

We recently worked with a North American-based enterprise that ran into a major operational challenge that stemmed directly from scalability limits imposed by their legacy NPM solution. They were forced to lengthen the collection interval on the critical WAN that connects their corporate sites to their 1500+ remote locations, bumping it up to every 15 minutes. That’s triple the old industry standard. But wait again…it gets even worse.

This enterprise was also looking to move to SD-WAN so they could both scale their network environment much faster than before, and be more responsive in adapting their network to stay aligned with changing business conditions and their operational needs. But gathering performance metrics from next-generation SD-WAN deployments can’t be done via SNMP. It required the use of a vendor-specific API that their legacy NPM system did not support.

As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what you can’t see.” With network visibility issues like this, these once popular – and now legacy – NPM systems are limiting network performance visibility. By doing so, they’re forcing IT and NetOps teams to fly blind.

That’s not what’s needed in the heterogeneous environments that so many organizations are running today, with both next-gen and legacy networking resources now in production.

Logic dictates that effective operation of today’s highly dynamic and mixed IT environments requires monitoring and management capabilities that are just as powerful and dynamic as the networks themselves.

Another key requirement is the ability to tailor monitoring efforts to an organization’s specific requirements and the needs of its IT and NetOps team. Some organizations have gone all in with a fully modernized network. Others are ‘Cisco network shops’ and need certain capabilities that are specific to monitoring Cisco environments. Many other companies have upgraded certain segments of their networks, and now need more effective monitoring of their new SD-WAN or enterprise Wi-Fi segments. Or maybe teams want to be able to take deeper dives by monitoring NetFlow in more detail, to wrap server monitoring into the performance monitoring regimen. Still others may want to broaden their use of network performance monitoring in new ways, like using performance data to inform network capacity planning decisions, or using performance data in anomaly detection and other purposes.

To operationalize these types of network performance management activities, teams need next-gen performance monitoring capabilities to collect, analyze and report on all their network performance data, such as those provided by our SevOne Network Data Platform.

The bottom line is that no matter what type of environment your organization is running – modernized, mixed, or traditional – you don’t want your network operations to be hobbled by inadequate network performance monitoring. From speed and flexibility, to data collection and analytics, to integrating all the data with the rest of your IT operations, you need performance monitoring that’s 100% capable of handling the changing roster of monitoring-related jobs that need to get done.

No platform does all those jobs as well as the SevOne Network Data Platform. It would certainly be worth your while to check it out – and contact us if you have questions or want proof. We’d love to talk with you.