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Network and Infrastructure Monitoring – Is Every Tool the Same?

By: Jasmin young
January 30, 2023

Every organization reaches a certain size where network and infrastructure monitoring becomes a necessity. And while that “certain size” will depend on whether you’re running a private company, non-profit organization or government agency, the time to act always comes.

Network and Infrastructure Monitoring tools enable organizations to harness greater benefits from their computing infrastructures. How you use these tools can even give you a competitive advantage. However, with so many vendors clambering for your hard-earned dollars, how can you know if a vendor is the right one for you and your organization? Fortunately, there are a few things you can look for.

Won’t Every Network and Infrastructure Monitoring Tool Meet My Needs? 

Lots of organizations assume every monitoring vendor is the same. And why not? All Network and Infrastructure Monitoring tools monitor the same stuff anyway, so how could they be all that different? Admittedly, there is some truth to this thought, but it doesn’t address the whole story. There’s a pretty good chance that every vendor you look at is going to support the most recent Cisco gear. Thing is, I’ve never seen any business that relies on gear from a single vendor, not even Cisco itself. 

Let’s cover the top issues you should consider when shopping for Network and Infrastructure Monitoring tools.

Network and Infrastructure Resources You’re Monitoring

Is all my gear from a single vendor and less than 5 years old? Or do I have a heterogeneous environment with devices of varying age?

If all your infrastructure gear is from a single, popular equipment manufacturer, then the monitoring vendor you choose is likely to support your entire estate without issue. On the other hand, if you have gear from many vendors in ranging ages, you’re in a completely different situation.

Ensuring each vendor under consideration has broad support for lots of different manufacturers’ equipment is critical. In addition, infrastructures built exclusively with gear from a single vendor never last that way. Business growth will dictate IT needs that fall outside of a single vendor’s capabilities. As such, the more mature a business infrastructure, the more likely it will consist of gear from numerous vendors.

How Netreo Helps: Netreo includes fault, performance, configuration and traffic monitoring via Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Windows Service Management (WSMAN), Powershell, Secure Shell (SSH), Service checking, Syslog, Windows Event Log, Flows (sFlow, cFlow, Netflow, IPFIX), Internet Protocol Service Level Agreement (IPSLA) and various API integrations with proprietary environments. What’s more, Netreo has been around for 23 years and built an incredibly broad range of support for different manufacturers’ equipment, so Netreo will support all your existing gear and prepare you for the future.

Capacity Planning

What kind of capacity requirements do I have today and how will they change tomorrow and next year?

As you look at Network and Infrastructure Monitoring (NIM) solutions, remember that what you need from a scaling perspective today will change. While it is true that government agencies are probably more static than other industries (not a lot of M&A activity in the Department of State!) change is inevitable. Personnel are reorganized, department responsibilities are moved around, organizational structures shift. And if all goes well, your business will grow!

Ensuring the tools you are considering have the flexibility to support you today and in the future is critical. What’s more, every organization has plans for growth, and growth always impacts IT. No one wants to go through the process of reevaluating a NIM tool purchase 12, 18 even 24 months after acquisition. Even if your company goes through unexpected growth, that growth should only accelerate the plans you have in place for IT growth.

How Netreo Helps: Netreo supports environments of all sizes and scales from a few hundred devices (or fewer) to tens of thousands of devices. Increasing capacity is easy as well and generally requires just an increase in the number of devices you have licensed. Whether it’s a few devices or a few hundred devices, adding new devices is simple and does not require additional hardware or software to be purchased and deployed.

Making My Life Better

How is this tool going to make my life better?

This is perhaps the most important question to ask. There is no point in purchasing a tool that does not make things better for you. Any tool you acquire should be able to easily show you how just deploying the tool will improve your life … as an IT professional.

In addition, the days are gone when IT departments could wash their collective hands of business issues with, “the network is working fine, it’s not our problem.” IT departments today are tasked with improving business outcomes, which adds a layer to making one’s life easier.

From an IT perspective

Whether you’re looking for your company’s first NIM tool or a replacement, simplifying how you manage your IT resources is key. From onboarding devices to routine patches and regular updates, you’ll want a NIM tool that makes these redundant tasks easy.

NIM tools can help boost overall productivity, as well. The right tool will help you streamline troubleshooting and issue remediation with a combination of features. One of the biggest wastes of IT time is poor root cause analysis, which can lead to the wrong team being notified, or worse, 2 IT teams working on the same issue from different directions.

How Netreo Helps: Netreo includes a host of features for making the life of an IT user better, including:

  • Automated device onboarding and configuration. No need to manually add or configure devices, as Netreo auto-configuration automatically identifies and configures new devices, plus adds similar devices to existing dashboards and reports.
  • Advanced incident management. Netreo features intelligent alerts, which not only helps you identify which alerts, but also expedites root cause detection and MRRT. Identifying which alerts are important and which are not is one thing Netreo does exceedingly well. Netreo intelligent alerts go to the right IT team responsible for each fix, tell you what the real problems are and help you solve them.
  • AIOps: Autopilot. How much time do you want to spend tuning your tool? Probably not much. After all, you have more important things to do. Netreo’s advanced AIOps: Autopilot automatically tunes your Netreo platform for optimum performance and efficiency. Instead of spending hours tweaking every little setting, AIOps: Autopilot tunes ensures you get the most out of our platform.

From a business perspective

Beyond simplifying ongoing IT responsibilities and tasks, your chosen NIM tool should make things better for business leadership, too. When it comes to the data extracted from your infrastructure, helping business leaders is a mixed bag.

Does the tool capture complete and accurate performance metrics for all IT resources in a timely manner? While the question sounds technical, having a single source of truth for your IT resources has significant implications for business results. Can the tool generate reports that give business leaders the data they want most in a format they can easily consume? The quality of your infrastructure performance impacts customer retention, operating margins, sales and more. Time is money, and leveraging a single source of data enables IT to streamline data collection and generate useful, accurate reports in a timely manner. And with the right data in the right format, you can easily demonstrate to leadership that IT is driving improved business results.

How Netreo Helps: Netreo leverages more than 23 years of infrastructure monitoring data from actual customers to support overall business objectives. How? Netreo learns patterns in your organization and can provide suggestions for process improvements based on the success of other Netreo customers. Automated onboarding adds new devices to existing dashboards and reports on similar devices. This means existing reports to business leaders always include timely and accurate information. Netreo can automatically adjust resource capacity to meet customer needs. This is especially important for cloud users, where Netreo can dramatically improve the efficiencies of your cloud costs by dynamically adjusting resource use to meet demand.

In Conclusion

Avoid the notion that all NIM tools are the same, but don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to pay a premium price for high-end services. Understand that your choice of NIM tool is directly tied to the specific needs of your business. Always include your growth plans in the selection of your NIM tool, because change is constant. Make sure your chosen tool simplifies the overall process and tasks of infrastructure monitoring. And above all, simplify the overall process of selecting the right NIM tool by scheduling your Netreo demo today!

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