Network management is an important part of any enterprise’s overall business strategy, and IT managers need to have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the latest developments. An excellent article by Larry Zulch over at Network World identifies the six key trends shaping the future of network performance management, backed up by some compelling statistics from a recent Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) study.
These six trends are:
New types of IT initiatives are determining network management priorities
According to EMA, while 49 percent of IT managers previously cited server virtualization as the main factor influencing network management choices, cloud adoption is now propelling these decisions instead.
Cloud services are flooding enterprise networks, leading to monitoring challenges
Although 60 percent of EMA’s respondents said that almost half of their network traffic volume originated in the external cloud, only 15 percent felt able to manage cloud networks with their existing solutions alone. Because most network management solutions aren’t cloud-friendly, 60 percent said that they need additional tools and 14 percent admitted that they’re still looking for a suitable solution.
Patchwork management solutions are too prevalent
Fragmented management solutions result in in the use of too many different tools. In the EMA survey, nearly one-third of IT departments said that they use 11 or more tools to manage their networks, while 49 percent put that figure at between four and ten. Unfortunately, this patchwork style of coverage means that network problems may not be detected – until it’s too late.
NetOps and IT security functions are converging
In the EMA survey, 40 percent of respondents said that their organizations had merged their network management and IT security branches. Furthermore, 35 percent of enterprises now view security risk reduction as a benchmark for judging network management success. Network management tools need to straddle these two different but complementary roles.
Data sources for network management are changing
The EMA survey found that the most popular data sources used in network availability and performance monitoring today are network test traffic, management system APIs and packet inspection. When it comes to troubleshooting tasks, the most common data sources are management system APIs and packet inspection. This means that high-level coordination across data sources is vital for acquiring actionable network insights.
Businesses are outsourcing network management
EMA’s research revealed that 58 percent of enterprises are currently outsourcing at least some elements of their network management. Accurate and in-depth data about network performance is needed to make the right outsourcing decisions.
Taken together, these six themes highlight the importance of knowing exactly what is happening on a network and being able to act right away whenever issues arise.
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