Why your NMS should be your first consideration, not your last
I often wonder why a network management system (NMS) is not given more consideration when purchasing networking equipment. We all know the value of switches. However, how to configure them is a personal preference as whether one uses a CLI, a web-based interface or a network wide configuration tool. The problem is that it’s quite cumbersome going from switch to switch to configure them, whereas an NMS not only solves that problem but provides so much more.
No two networks are alike
Networks are changing in terms of the demands placed on them and technologies used. We have all heard of virtualization, but virtualization has many shapes. It can be just your compute (servers), it can be your network (switches and routers). Heck, it can be your firewalls or other functions with network functions virtualization (NFV). Applications can be local, remote or even in the cloud. I don’t believe any two medium or two large networks look alike any more.
BYOD demands administrator visibility
On top of that, users are bringing their own devices and applications. Visibility is critical for any network administrator to see what is really happening in your network. Without it, it’s like driving in the dark without any headlights. Network management must have a dashboard similar to that of a car or a plane. The dashboard needs to provide device level information as well as application and network view aggregated data. Errors happen; we are human, but with a management station that has a user friendly dashboard interface, errors and an administrator’s burden can be reduced.
Dashboards must be customizable
There are a number of must haves for any dashboard. It must be customizable so each administrator can view what’s important to them. It must give visibility to device status, applications running in the network, and of course the users. And it is a dashboard that gives you quick indicator for drill down capability. In my opinion, anything less is not worth it.