It is necessary that managment functionality be integrated effectively to avoid duplication of costs and create efficiencies.
Network management is a term many people associate with visualization of the wide and local area network topologies. But it is more than just a pretty picture.
Managing a network should take into consideration all entities in the End-to-End communication delivery path of a given network, or indeed service.
Infrastructure hosting LAN interconnectivity at both layer 2 and 3 to WAN/MAN handoff to end-user delivery all need managing from a network management perspective.
Visualization of the End-to-End paths is essential, and understanding the operational node status of each component along the communication delivery path for system events or alarming is of equal importance.
Being able to pinpoint the root cause of a network failure, or service degradation, in a fast, accurate and timely manner is paramount to maintaining consistently high levels of service assurance.
A network configuration and change management system is NOT a suite of Perl scripts some smart engineer has coupled together that backs up the configuration of a customer’s network on a daily basis.
This approach is not only dated, but is riddled with risks around continued support and operation. NCCM is a key functionality around the control and governance of the network node configuration that resides on all of the components delivering End-to-End network services.
Having the ability to auto-discover the inventory of a given network in a vendor-agnostic way in order that you can collect key vendor component data is a prerequisite for an NCCM asset discovery inventory system.
NCCM capabilities should extend beyond the vendor-agnostic asset discovery function to include configuration backup and restoration functionality, configuration, policy compliance and governance with alarm and event notification for tracking both authorized and non-authorized configuration changes.
Configuration policy compliance and governance policing will drive high-levels of service availability through the knowledge of knowing what has been changed, where, or on what components has the change been made to, and who made the change, provides the control around the customer’s networks required to police and maintain contractual service levels.
Lifecycle management in any environment is critical to maintaining a consistent level of operation and performance however, in a managed services environment it is critical that you firstly, know the status of the managed components from a hardware and software inventory viewpoint for EOL (End-of-Life) EOS (End-of-Sale) and EOSS (End-of-Service-Support) status, and secondly, that you mitigate vulnerabilities announced by vendors in the configuration or software o/s elements to police security risks and maintain the levels of support required in the managing of customers networks.
An MSP/CSP does not want to be paying service credits on a failed network component that has gone End-of-Life and is now unsupportable from a hardware or software replacement/support viewpoint.
That is why lifecycle management is another key ingredient to the successful management of customer’s networks, customer retention, and maximization of profit margins. Lifecycle management systems must integrate with the CMDB, or asset inventory database, in order that accurate up-to-date reporting can be visualized. Auto-discovered dynamic asset management CMDBs is crucial in maintaining accuracy around the inventory database.
Performance management has always been a prerequisite for any managed services environment but enriched capabilities available today mean that the investments in legacy systems need to be re-looked at as they are no longer fit for purpose in most cases from a customer’s requirement perspective.
Network and availability performance measurements now need to be overlaid with contractual SLA metrics that report and alarm when thresholds are being breached, capacity utilization performance indicators with predictive capacity planning functionality that allows a capacity management team to visualize when capacity thresholds will be breached in the future based upon historic trending information allowing teams the time to mitigate future performance issues before they become service affecting.
Enhanced application performance with the use of IP-SLA, application awareness and usage via Netflow, and media scripting with enriched analytics and real-time reporting.
The difficulty now comes in selecting the right tools for the right silos of technology as firstly, ensuring they have the correct functionality within each tool is of key importance, and secondly ensuring the tool selected also has the capability to integrate fully with the other technology silos.
This is where StableNet® is unique because it has been designed and architected from the ground up to incorporate all of the above silos of technology in a single unified management product that makes it a compelling proposition for both MSPs and CSPs alike due to its enriched capabilities, cost-effective platform footprint, lean operating support model, and flexible deployment options.
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