Strategic thinking is at the heart of ensuring your IT network can meet future business needs.
Your strategy should be based on two things: A comprehensive knowledge of the current state of your network, and a strong grasp on how tomorrow’s technology will impact upon it.
A network monitoring tool provides the data and information to inform both. Monitoring equips IT professionals with the up-to-the-minute intelligence they need to make the decisions that will help ensure their IT infrastructure is up to the task.
Before considering how future business needs might require a change in networking strategy, the first step is to work out exactly how well your infrastructure is currently performing. After all, you can’t form a strategy for the future without understanding what your ‘baseline’ is.
A network monitoring tool informs you on the current condition of all hardware and software on your network, and provides historic data that will help you to analyse and understand all performance issues.
Combining the two will draw attention to potential weaknesses in your infrastructure, giving you the chance to strengthen your network before a problem occurs. This background information will also be vital if and when you need to integrate new technologies.
In order to support the business as it develops and grows IT administrators must be ready for change and be able to adapt the networks and systems they are responsible for speedily. For example, rapid business expansion might lead to a sudden jump in demand for devices, the number of network users, or even new locations.
Adding new devices and users onto your network can be much smoother with the use of a network monitor because it will swiftly alert you to bottlenecks or other problems that arise as a result of the changes.
Network monitoring software can manage networks in entirely new locations by providing a single window into the entirety of a business’ IT infrastructure.
Looking ahead, you should have a pretty clear idea of what devices your business intends to add to its infrastructure in the short and medium term. They key is to understand how these new devices will change the way your network works. Armed with the information that a network monitor can provide, you can assess the opportunities and issues that new technology will create for your network.
Take network virtualisation as an example. Adopting this innovation will mean significant changes to network management. Server virtualisation brings a great number of benefits – but also challenges – for businesses.
It will increase efficiency, with the ability to share and shift resources, including disk space, from one application to another. However, since every application and huge amounts of data will be flowing across the network, delays of any length will risk creating problems for application users. As such, full network visibility, which can detect problems at an early stage to minimise problems, is vital.
Network monitoring provides this service, helping to reduce risk and aid the seamless integration of new systems into existing infrastructure.
With the business world ever changing, it is not easy to predict how your IT network will need to adapt to fit future business needs. However, what is certain is that the IT professional has an important role to play in ensuring that the organisation’s infrastructure is able to keep up with changing business needs – whatever they may be.
A network monitor is, in short, an essential tool in their armour, helping them to optimise the integration of new technology and the infrastructure as a whole.
Dirk Paessler is CEO of Paessler, a networking monitoring software developer based in Nuremburg, Germany.