Network performance is something that needs to be monitored as it can dip and cause a lot of issues.  The problem is that legacy monitoring tools are not able to cope with the new network infrastructure and this leads to incorrect monitoring.  Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can improve your network performance monitoring.

Determine What Information Is The Most Critical

There are a lot of people who do not realize that they could be collecting network performance data that they do not actually need.  When this occurs, your monitoring efficiency will be lowered and you will not actually be able to get the data that you require.  This is why one of the best ways to improve your network monitoring is to determine what information is critical then monitor and collect this.

When you are determining this, you have to look at your network infrastructure.  It is recommended that you map out the infrastructure as this will tell you where your potential operational bottlenecks are.  If you lose a core switch stack in the middle of your infrastructure, this could result in a total failure, but you might not know about this potential if you have too much data.

Once you know what information is critical to your needs, you should set up benchmark metrics.  This will help you understand the monitoring information that you get and determine if there is a problem.  It is recommended that you monitor all of your mission-critical devices to ensure that your monitoring is at optimum efficiency.

Reconsider The Schedule

If you are using a monitoring system that conducts polling to monitor network performance, you need to consider the schedule that it operates on.  In the past, it was possible to get accurate monitoring data by polling the devices in the network every 5 minutes.  This is no longer the case as there are short-lived events which could occur during this time and which could cause major problems on your network.  These short-lived events can be a precursor to larger problems on your network which your monitoring should be picking up.

Most people have heard that if an event was detected earlier something could have been done to prevent a larger breakdown.  The truth is that shifting the polling schedule used by your monitoring software will help you do this.  There are many systems that offer 1-minute polling schedules and you should use this when possible.  If your system offers shorter collection intervals, you need to select them based on the component it will poll and the critical nature of the device.

When you have a shorter collection interval, you will also get better data.  The network performance monitoring data will give you a better idea of when there are problems on the network such as overloading.  This will ensure that you are able to take the preventative measures that are needed to stop a large scale event.

Upgrade Your Core Hardware

A lot of people do not consider the impact their hardware has on the network performance monitoring that they complete.  If you have outdated hardware, it will not be able to sustain the monitoring that you want to complete and this could skew the data that you receive.  This is why you need to consider updating the core hardware that you have in your network infrastructure.

Replacing outdated hardware will generally be a better use of your time than trying to optimize it to work with the new monitoring protocols.  There are also some software updates that you might need to consider to optimize your network monitoring.  There are a few pieces of core hardware that you should focus on when you consider this.

The first is the core switches in your network infrastructure.  If the switches are outdated, they will not be able to handle the network traffic or the new monitoring protocols that you want to put into place.  This will limit the effectiveness of these protocols and you will be unable to get the correct information.

You also need to consider the routers in your network and the firewalls in place.  If these devices are not updated, you could be limited in the amount of data that you can capture.  A smaller amount of data will actually cause issues with your monitoring as you are not getting the full picture of what is happening.

Tie Together All Of The Data

Many of the newer network performance monitoring solutions on the market will leverage a number of different interfaces and protocols to provide you with the data that you need.  This is actually something that you should look into as tying all of the data together will provide you with better monitoring data and visibility.  The data that you need to look at bringing together is the flow traffic, the SNMP-based statistics and the log data.  The log data should come from all of the network devices which make up your infrastructure.

The SNMP data allows you to see how much traffic is flowing over the links in the networks, but it will not tell you which applications are using the link.  This data will come from the flow traffic which is why you need to combine them.  The log data will add to this information by telling you more about the device that accessed the network as well as when the device typically comes online.

Using a combination of all this data for your monitoring will provide you with a full picture of what is happening on the network.  You will also be able to determine exactly where the problems are and take the correct measures to prevent any major issues.  This is one of the best ways to improve your monitoring and your monitoring solution will often be able to combine this data for you.

There are a number of ways that you can improve your network performance monitoring.  Updating the hardware in your infrastructure is important as is the determining of the most critical data.  Combining data and changing the polling schedule will also help with this.