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Chapter 1: Network Management EssentialsThis chapter introduces the concepts and terms of network management. These concepts and terms are designed to help build a proper foundation for the rest of the book, which explains how to use the applications of CiscoWorks 2000 Resource Manager Essentials. The information in this chapter will help you properly understand some of the decisions made in the design, use, and implementation of the applications.
Why Conduct Network Management?
In an ideal world, network management would be unnecessary. Networks would be able to detect potential problems and instantaneously send a fix over the LAN or WAN. Continual advances in technology, however, have not eliminated the need for critical network management. Rather, the complexity and size of today's networks have greatly increased the necessity for expert network managers.
As a network administrator, you may take a "wait and see" attitude toward your network, or you may prefer to avoid problems in advance. Often network managers are not given the appropriate tools to do their job as efficiently as possible. A lack of tools gives the network administrator no opportunity for preventative action. Rather, an administrator practicing "wait and see" finds him or herself always putting out the fire and never preventing one in the first place.
If given the right tools, however, taking a proactive approach to network management and foreseeing a problem before one arises is easy. So let's study why properly managing an enterprise network is crucial to a successful network operation. By examining the need for network management, the financial investment required for network management, and the solutions provided by network management products, the benefits of a properly managed enterprise network become apparent.
The first issue to address is the need for network management. Understanding the need for network management illuminates the dangers of doing without it. The evolution of networks has often occurred without a distinct plan. Through the years, users were probably added to the network based on any available connection and not according to their function or intended network use. As problems started to occur, the usual solution was to simply add more bandwidth. Although adding more bandwidth served as an intermediate solution, the reasons for such high-link utilization were not addressed.
In today's society the network has become a vital part of business. The network has evolved into an indispensable business resource. Unfortunately, the tools needed to properly manage a network have not kept pace with both the growth of the network itself and the users' ever-increasing dependency on it. The network manager faces a seemingly neverending uphill battle of network management.
The IS department faces a number of obstacles: Technology advancing more quickly than skill level of management team
- The ever-increasing number of management tasks
- Wide choices of incompatible tools
- Limited time, staff, and expertise
Without proper network management, a network faces a number of dangers. These dangers are typically encountered because of a lack of information about the current state of network resources.
Lack of Consistent Service
In the Enterprise Service Provider arena, network downtime can mean the loss of many customer connections. The deciding factor in many service contracts today is not only price but also a guaranteed level of service. An administrative team with the proper monitoring and management tools can anticipate bandwidth and other resource needs in a proactive fashion.
Without the proper tools, an organization will ultimately experience network down time. An extended network outage can have significant side effects. An industry study of Fortune 100 companies' networks revealed:
An average of 23 failures per year Five hours downtime per failure Cost = $3.5 million per company
The financial industry relies heavily on networks for money transfers. Financial companies cannot afford to have their network down; end-of-day postings need to take place or the Federal Trade Commission could fine the company.
Possible Loss of Life
NASA's mission critical network has a requirement of 99.98% availability. As satellites pass overhead, only a limited amount of time is available to download all the data. This information is used to support military operations abroad. The network must be ready!
The 91 1-phone system saves countless lives every day. As recently as February 1, 1999 in New York City, a small period of 911 outages created a host of life-threatening situations in which proper care was not easily obtained. Service outages such as this lead to permanent injury and loss of life.
Large enterprises are not the only ones that rely on their networks to be up and running. Any company, large or small, that has servers and printers on a network will come to a stand still if the network is down.
The benefits of network management are inherent, just as managing anything is...