Developing Network Management


Network Management.  The typical four major overall goals for network management are in the following list.
  • Connectivity
  • Security
  • Cost Optimization
  • Manageable Growth

Network users need to have thorough, up-to-date knowledge of the configuration and behavior of their networks.

The following table contains what are seen as the major processes and objectives.


Design and Optimize Implement and Change Monitor and Diagnose
Data collection definition Installation Defining thresholds
Baseline creation Configuration Monitoring exceptions
Trend analysis Address management Isolating problems
Response time analysis Adds, moves and changes Validating problems
Capacity planning Security management Troubleshooting problems
Procurement Accounting and billing Bypassing and resolving problems
Topology design Assets and inventory management  
  User management  
  Data management  


Most network management is reactive, though many industries are moving towards a proactive approach.

Proactive Network Management.  Proactive network management requires monitoring the network even when it isn't having any problems.  Teare defines proactive network management as having the following characteristics.

  • Collecting statistics and watching trends
  • Conducting routine tests, such as response time measurements
  • Allocating time at least once a month to compile statistics and write a baseline report that describes the current status of the network.
  • Defining service goals for the network: for example, acceptable downtime, response time, throughput, ease of use, and scalability.
  • Writing reports on the quality of service that has been delivered in the last month.

Many corporations have network operation centers that include equipment, software and stuff that are dedicated to monitoring the health of the network.  This staff may include help desk personnel and technicians who work on problems, as well as engineers and planners who develop long-term strategies to keep the network functioning.

When developing one's network management approach

  • Determine network service goals
  • Define metrics for measuring whether goals have been met
  • Define processes for data collection and reporting
  • Implement network management systems
  • Collect performance data and record trends
  • Analyze results and write reports
  • Locate network irregularities and bottlenecks
  • Plan and implement

Considering the diversity of networking equipment it is totally important to have network management systems that traverse this diversity of multi-platforms.  In this vein, the next web page will be about SMNP - Simple Management Network Protocol.

Remote Monitoring.  The SNMP Remote Monitoring - RMON standard allows for monitoring packet and traffic.  RMON tracks the following items:

  • Number of packets
  • Packet sizes
  • Broadcasts
  • Network utilization
  • Errors and conditions, such as Ethernet collisions
  • Statistics for hosts, including errors generated by hosts, the busiest hosts and which hosts talk to which hosts

The administrator should be able to get historical views of RMON statistics based on user defined sample intervals, alarms based on user defined thresholds, and packet capture based on user defined filters.

The RMON specification comprises nine groups of managed objects.  RMON agents can implement some or all of the following groups.

  • Statistics
  • History
  • Alarms
  • Hosts
  • Hosts Top N
  • Traffic Matrix
  • Filters
  • Packet Capture
  • Events

The Token Ring MIB adds enhancements for gathering data on specific Token Ring information, such as source route, ring configuration and ring station.

When used as agents on routers, RMON enables customers to view traffic events and alarms for the network segments that the router is on.  By using a network management console, network managers can detect problems and gather information for developing a baseline understanding of the health of the network.  Switches are also capable of implementing RMON.