Networking

The state of network management: Focus on performance before fault

In the fire-fighting day-to-day world of the network manager, the quest to find and fix networked application performance problems before end users are impacted can seem like a far-off goal. That may be changing but, according to NetQoS's State of Management survey report based on feedback from more than 300 network engineering, operations and management professionals, quite a few obstacles remain.

In the fire-fighting day-to-day world of the network manager, the quest to find and fix networked application performance problems before end users are impacted can seem like a far-off goal. That may be changing but, according to NetQoS's State of Management survey report based on feedback from more than 300 network engineering, operations and management professionals, quite a few obstacles remain.

Here are the main findings of the report:

  • 93 percent of respondents indicated their organization had either formally or informally identified a set of applications that are considered critical to the business. However, less than half of those surveyed (41%) indicated that the company's business managers were significantly involved in identifying the critical applications.
  • 75 percent of respondents said identifying the company's critical applications has led to at least a moderate change in the way they design, manage and troubleshoot the network infrastructure, while 25 percent cited only a slight change or no significant change. The most common change cited was implementation or enhancement of quality of service (QoS) policies.
  • 80 percent of respondents reported that their IT organization has mapped the supporting network infrastructure components upon which key applications depend. These organizations are far more likely to focus their monitoring efforts either exclusively or primarily on these critical components than the non-critical ones.
  • 50 percent of respondents indicated that they measure and report on the mean time to repair (MTTR) for a network or application outage. However, only 30 percent confirmed they actually measure and report on the MTTR for degraded application performance, revealing a continuing legacy of fault and availability management over performance management.

Dr. Jim Metzler, vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates, said that even though end users are more likely to notice application degradation before the IT organization, this research shows that IT professionals are focusing more on applications as a core part of their network performance management approach. He said, "However, to move to a true performance-based approach, organizations must ensure they are supporting relevant business goals, tracking the right metrics, and implementing tools and processes to quickly respond to end-user issues, ideally before they are impacted."

To read the report, click here.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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