Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Carmen Gonzalez, 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
Never mind that we might not know what the future holds for cryptocurrencies and how much values will fluctuate or even how the process of mining a coin could cost as much as the value of the coin itself - cryptocurrency mining is a hot industry and shows no signs of slowing down. However, energy consumption to mine cryptocurrency is one of the biggest issues facing this industry. Burning huge amounts of electricity isn't incidental to cryptocurrency, it's basically embedded in the core of "mini...
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...
The term "digital transformation" (DX) is being used by everyone for just about any company initiative that involves technology, the web, ecommerce, software, or even customer experience. While the term has certainly turned into a buzzword with a lot of hype, the transition to a more connected, digital world is real and comes with real challenges. In his opening keynote, Four Essentials To Become DX Hero Status Now, Jonathan Hoppe, Co-Founder and CTO of Total Uptime Technologies, shared that ...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Where many organizations get into trouble, however, is that they try to have a broad and deep knowledge in each of these areas. This is a huge blow to an organization's productivity. By automating or outsourcing some of these pieces, such as databases, infrastructure, and networks, your team can instead focus on development, testing, and deployment. Further, organizations that focus their attention on these areas can eventually move to a test-driven development structure that condenses several l...
The graph represents a network of 1,329 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained "#DevOps", or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets, taken from a data set limited to a maximum of 18,000 tweets. The network was obtained from Twitter on Thursday, 10 January 2019 at 23:50 UTC. The tweets in the network were tweeted over the 7-hour, 6-minute period from Thursday, 10 January 2019 at 16:29 UTC to Thursday, 10 January 2019 at 23:36 UTC. Additional tweets that were mentioned in this...
Over the course of two days, in addition to insightful conversations and presentations delving into the industry's current pressing challenges, there was considerable buzz about digital transformation and how it is enabling global enterprises to accelerate business growth. Blockchain has been a term that people hear but don't quite understand. The most common myths about blockchain include the assumption that it is private, or that there is only one blockchain, and the idea that blockchain is...
Japan DX Pavilion at @CloudEXPO Silicon Valley