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Network and Cloud Monitoring: Why it's Important and Features to Look For

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Network and Cloud Monitoring: Why it's Important and Features to Look For

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A 2008 study by The Aberdeen Group entitled “The Performance of Web Applications: Customers are Won or Lost in One Second.” was a wake-up call to many web companies.  In that study, Aberdeen found that any website or web app that wasn't available 99.8% of the time was unacceptable to customers.  Any serious web business should know what their web availability percentage is and how often downtime occurs.  A smart solution to this problem is the deployment of website or cloud platform monitoring software.  Choosing the most efficient and effective monitoring system involves an investigation of the correct criteria.  This article will offer criteria to help you find the right monitoring package.

Cloud networks and virtualized applications make it even more difficult to monitor and troubleshoot network components because they are decoupled from the hardware.  Traffic also becomes a lot 'cloudier' and tracking performance issues becomes significantly harder when an outside service provider must be involved in the search.

In complex systems, monitoring and management tools can be very helpful.  Without bringing any specific vendors into this guide, here are some of the areas for which monitoring solutions exist:

  • Servers and network hardware
  • Applications
  • Network protocols and other protocol types
  • End-user activity
  • Traffic
  • Virtual Machines
  • Cloud Platforms

For a cloud network, all of these areas must be monitored for a full picture of the network.

The advantage of a comprehensive network monitoring solution is the minimization of downtime and the ability to quickly determine whether or not the network is to blame for performance problems.  Having this kind of solution will undoubtedly solve problems before they become significant, which will make sure that an organization keeps its customers. 

Because monitoring technologies expand beyond just hardware, they can predict bottlenecks and failures before they happen.  Once an organization has this capability, the next challenge is trying to centralize monitoring operations.  IT departments that are strictly divided into specialized groups often do not share information and this causes big problems.  Issues can also arise from the complexity involved with using multiple, disparate monitoring solutions.

Here are some of the more specific features that a wholistic monitoring solution should offer:

  • Failure verification by multiple locations to prevent false alarms
  • Fast frequency monitoring from multiple locations, simultaneously
  • Customization options for setting up monitoring locations
  • On-premises server and network monitoring for CPU, Memory, Server, Bandwidth, Processes, SNMP, and telnet
  • Monitoring for firewalls, websites, email servers, VoIP, databases, Domain Name Servers, routers, and web servers from an end-user's perspective
  • Web page content checking
  • A consolidated map of servers and websites
  • Support for a wide spectrum of protocols - HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SMTP, DNS, MySQL, PING, POP3, IMAP, SSH, TCP, UDP, SIP

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