A sudden technical problem in an organisation, especially during business hours, can cause havoc for an IT department as it is not usually prepared for it, nor does it immediately know what the exact cause of the disruption may be.
This is according to Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, an authorised distributor of NETSCOUT solutions throughout Africa. Jacobsz says, “There is no value, in such a crisis, in having the IT department internally trying to apportion blame between the network engineer versus the network technician or service provider. Instead, the IT department should have a system in place that avoids such ‘finger pointing’ and enables seamless and continuous operation, as well as effective preparation in the case of a crisis.”
Visibility for network engineers
Jacobsz says that network engineers need to be aware of as many touch points to the data as possible, especially with applications that are hosted in the Cloud. Data sources throughout the network need to be leveraged to provide an overall picture of how services and applications are performing. NetFlow, SNMP, stream to disk packet capture, automated data mining and application performance alerting need to be used system wide to stay on top of performance and security threats, while providing IT professionals with actionable data in the event of a problem. There are simply too many changing technologies for the network engineer to keep up with at an expert level. In view of this, the network engineer needs to rely on automated analysis tools to provide direction on problem alerting, isolation, and root cause resolution.
In order to validate, troubleshoot, and restore these systems, network engineers require visibility to take the right action in the right place, which ultimately saves the company money and prevents downtime.
Monitoring and analysis by network operators/ technicians
Before a new system goes live, it should be monitored and analysed by network operators using management and monitoring systems and tools. There are major benefits to implementing these management systems – first, technicians will be able to keep step with a highly dynamic network environment, which places greater demands on their role. These demands include application problem resolution and analysis of network components, which cannot be accessed in the Cloud. In today’s critical network environments, technicians cannot continue to lean on legacy systems that only display up/ down status and ping response times. This data cannot facilitate finding the root cause of slow application response and often does not allow the problem to be isolated and resolved.
Preparation by service providers
This is a key to success, in addition to constant skill updates and the ability to be flexible and adaptable. Service providers need to establish and execute on some critical best practices to keep ahead of the complexity and to provide the highest level of service and support to their clients.
Key areas to focus on for best practice execution include:
· Pre-deployment assessment;
· Installation and test; and
· Documentation and reporting.
Service provider field teams can improve project scoping and estimates, reduce call-backs and issues, and ensure satisfaction that results in prompt payment, additional service opportunities and referral business, by focusing on these three areas.
“It is important that IT divisions within the region’s enterprises are as efficient as possible in order for them to not only compete on a global scale, but to also, ultimately, have a bigger impact on the local economy. We are proud to have this kind of real-time service assurance and cybersecurity solution available to the African market, “ concludes Jacobsz.
NETSCOUT Systems, is a provider of real-time service assurance and cybersecurity solutions for service provider, enterprise and government networks. NETSCOUT`s Adaptive Service Intelligence (ASI) technology continuously monitors the service delivery threats, helping teams to quickly resolve issues that can cause business disruptions or impact user experience.
Networks Unlimited is a value-added distributor, offering latest solutions within the converged technology, data centre, networking, and security landscapes. The company distributes products, including Arbor Networks, Fortinet, F5, HyperGrid, Mellanox, NETSCOUT, ProLabs, PhishMe, Rackmount, RSA, Rubrik, SevOne, Silver Peak, Thales, Tintri and Uplogix. The product portfolio provides solutions from the edge to the data centre, and addresses key areas such as cloud networking and integration, WAN optimisation, application performance management, application delivery networking, Wi-Fi-, mobile- and networking security, load balancing, data centre in-a-box, and storage for virtual machines. The firm formed in 1994.