Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, SDN Journal, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Network Device Management | @CloudExpo #BigData #SDN #IoT #M2M #API

This list will help you employ a strategy that makes sense for organizations today and tomorrow

Network Device Management for Today and Tomorrow - a Do and Don't Guide

Today, "network device management" means different things to different people, and the reality is that IT organizations do it, or at least do what they consider network device management to be, to vastly varying degrees, including some who do none at all (hopefully this isn't you).

At least part of the reason network device management has become such an ambiguous thing is because what we consider to be a network device is constantly evolving. At one point, network devices were largely just routers and switches. Back then, even if one added end-user workstations into the mix, things were fairly simple.

Then things started to get interesting. Wireless introduced a few more devices and, when BYOD started springing up, all you-know-what seemed to break loose. Now the Internet of Things (IoT) and other trends and dangers such as software defined networking (SDN) and shadow IT, respectively, are only complicating things even further.

I previously went into greater detail on these trends and more, and how to create a sensible network roadmap that breaks down what network administrators should be focused on today, and what we should be preparing for tomorrow and beyond. The reality is that network device management, no matter how you currently define it, is a major part of all three phases - today, tomorrow and beyond. On the heels of that write-up, here I attempt to better define the scope of network device management and provide a list of network device management do's and don'ts that will help you employ a strategy that makes sense for organizations today and tomorrow.

I submit that network device management can be divided into three areas, applicable across almost all organizations: configuration management, device monitoring and automation. These are the most essential elements of effective network monitoring and have stood the test of time.

With this framework in mind, here are several key best practices for getting a handle on network device management.

Configuration Management

  • DO: Systematic backups. You should have ongoing, automatic backups of network device configurations - not when you remember to run them, or when you start to get worried, but always. That also includes a system that triggers ad hoc device configuration backups in response to any significant configuration change. This will not only help ensure your network performs well, but will also aid in ongoing configuration management and identifying security or compliance issues.
  • DON'T: Forget to save. Network devices typically have two different configurations: running and saved. It's all too common for network administrators to make a change to a device, which changes the running configuration, but then never save it, resulting in the configuration changes disappearing when the device reboots. Backing up both configurations and then triggering an alert when they don't match is another handy tip.

Device Monitoring

  • DO: Truly understand your network. This goes beyond understanding the architecture diagram. It includes making sure you understand what "normal" looks like on your network and what "healthy" is for the devices in your environment even if you have too many devices to count. It means knowing - or knowing how to find out - what the patterns of usage are day by day, hour by hour, and at different points in the month. Basically, it means treating monitoring - the regular, consistent, ongoing collection of data from devices - as its own discipline and not just "the thing that creates all those tickets" or an item on your to-do list.
  • DON'T: Just sit there. Ticketing is the happy bi-product of monitoring, but it's not the end of the story. Work with the people who receive and respond to those tickets to fine-tune the alerts for greater insight. Also understand all the monitoring, alerting and automation techniques at your disposal. From SNMP to syslog, and from traps to configuration comparison, look at each capability as the treasure trove it is and leverage it for all you are worth.

Automation

  • DO: Be lazy! Okay, don't actually be lazy, but find ways to let the computer respond at 2 a.m. and if the problem clears up, let sleeping humans lie. Ask the fine people who make up your IT team, "What will you do once you get this ticket?" If they tell you something that can be automated, then you automate it.
  • DON'T: Be lazy! Meaning being the kind of monitoring professional who has a "set it and forget it" mentality when it comes to monitoring and alerting.

While network device management can seem daunting, following these do's and don'ts can help you ensure that you've got a grasp on it, not only for today's networks and associated challenges, but those to come as well.

More Stories By Leon Adato

Leon Adato is a Head Geek and technical evangelist at SolarWinds and is a Cisco® Certified Network Associate (CCNA), MCSE and SolarWinds Certified Professional (he was once a customer, after all). His 25 years of network management experience spans financial, healthcare, food and beverage, and other industries.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in development and launches of disruptive technologies to create new market opportunities as well as enhance enterprise product portfolios with emerging technologies. His most recent venture was Octoblu, a cross-protocol Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network platform, acquired by Citrix. Prior to co-founding Octoblu, Chris was founder of Nodester, an open-source Node.JS PaaS which was acquired by AppFog and ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...