Network Performance Management: Processes, Benefits and How to Accomplish It

Do you remember when guacamole broke the internet? About four years ago, Chipotle, a burrito chain, offered free guacamole on all orders placed through mobile phones and on the website. However, due to poor network management, most people encountered a “Server Not Found” message instead of free dips. Although Chipotle extended the promotion, its reputation had already suffered.

A more recent example is Taylor Swift’s album, “Midnight,” which not only shattered all records on release but also caused a global outage on Spotify. Having anticipated high traffic to its servers, Spotify was able to return to business within minutes.

Network performance management prevents situations like these from surfacing and leaving your employees or customers without access to your service. Just a few minutes of downtime can cause irreparable damage to your company and brand, resulting in significant financial loss.

What is network performance management?

The goal of network performance management is to improve the availability and efficiency of an organization’s network systems by monitoring and analyzing network performance metrics. Network performance metrics provide a window into the health of various network components.

A network is made up of several components, such as routers, cables, switches, servers, applications, protocols and operating systems, that communicate with each other to keep information flowing. The seamless flow of data between these components allows employees and customers to access a company’s resources anywhere, anytime.

The efficiency of a network depends on identifying bottlenecks, taking corrective action and optimizing resource usage. Neglecting these aspects of network management can result in unplanned outages and downtime, negatively impacting your revenue and reputation.

Why is network performance important?

Businesses must have access to smooth and seamless networks in today’s connected world. It’s only on the back of a good network that employees can collaborate and communicate to drive projects forward and provide seamless customer service.

Having to deal with slow networks or unexpected downtime can be a frustrating experience. Neglecting network performance management will undoubtedly impact your employees’ productivity and customer experience, but it can also lead to serious security risks. You can prepare your network for potential spikes in bandwidth usage or server overload through network performance management. With robust network management practices, you can instantly rectify any issue without compromising the end-user experience.

Network performance management goes beyond analyzing performance metrics to identifying patterns and trends in the network. Businesses and IT professionals gain real value when they use the data to make network changes, impacting performance and network management costs while positively impacting the overall user experience.

What is the difference between network performance management and network performance monitoring?

The difference between network performance management and network performance monitoring is the use of performance metrics for different objectives.

Network performance monitoring involves assessing and optimizing various networking infrastructure components to improve performance and usage. IT professionals use several network metrics to gauge the performance of their networks, such as latency, throughput and bandwidth. Some of the methods they use are monitoring Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) devices, flow data and packet capture.

While network monitoring focuses on maintaining network health, troubleshooting issues and ensuring everything stays in good shape, network management aims to improve the overall network infrastructure to make it more efficient. To this end, IT professionals leverage performance analytics, network simulations and predictive modeling to improve networks, upgrade configurations and prevent network disasters.

What is the network performance management process?

Depending on the network configuration, the process may differ from company to company, but the following steps are universal.

Quality data collection

Effective network performance management starts with collecting quality data, but each node on the network generates a massive amount of data that becomes hard to sift through. This is where network monitoring tools come to the rescue. Since each network is unique and designed to fulfil an organization’s specific needs, you can configure network monitoring tools to pull out only relevant data. The tool sifts through a sea of metrics, such as packet loss, network traffic, node outages, SNMP performance and bandwidth usage, to help you identify the most critical performance indicators. The technicians can either review and analyze the information themselves or, even better, they can let AI, machine learning or AIOps handle the analysis.

Comprehensive metric analysis

You can get a complete report card on the performance of your networking stack, complete with metrics and analysis, by using network performance monitoring software. But how do you know which metrics matter the most? By identifying the ones that provide the most comprehensive view of your multilayered network, you can become more aware of areas that frequently experience problems.

By using this valuable data, your IT team can create network management policies to improve productivity and user experience while mitigating any issues. Moreover, with a more precise understanding of your multilayered network, you can make more informed decisions and design more effective network management rules.

Continuous performance logging

When it comes to identifying performance issues, time is of the essence. That’s why network performance monitoring tools automatically record all performance concerns and relevant details. This includes the circumstances surrounding each issue, which can be invaluable in identifying patterns of recurring problems.

By referring to a log of past concerns, your IT team can quickly assess problem areas that require closer monitoring or more in-depth investigation. This saves time by directing your focus toward the most critical issues first.

Preventative security monitoring

Network performance management is also a security strategy. A robust network performance management tool can alert you to security threats and vulnerabilities before they become full-blown disasters. It can help detect malware, unsecured network devices and other vulnerabilities before they affect your data. If you catch these issues early, your IT team can develop protocols to prevent and manage weak points, in turn protecting your end users.

What are the benefits of network performance management?

With network performance management, you can closely monitor key metrics to address issues like slow speeds, poor connectivity and system failures. Keeping your network in good shape will ensure a seamless and efficient experience for all users.

  • Maximize network availability: Network performance management helps optimize network resources and bandwidth usage, resulting in high-quality delivery of critical services to end users and improved customer retention.
  • Minimize network downtime: Real-time alerts and insights provided by network performance management tools allow businesses to detect and troubleshoot issues before they result in expensive downtime or outages, minimizing their impact on the company.
  • Enhance network scalability: As your business and network needs evolve, IT technicians can leverage historical data and insights from the network management tools to make informed decisions for topics such as scaling or reconfiguring the network.
  • Secure network operations: Cybersecurity attacks often deplete network resources, so any significant deviation in resource usage could indicate a potential security threat. By staying vigilant and closely monitoring your network’s performance, you can help ensure the safety and security of your organization’s valuable data.
  • Optimize bandwidth usage: By monitoring the amount of data being transmitted across devices, network performance management tools can pinpoint areas of inefficient bandwidth usage and excessive network congestion, and hence help optimize network performance and efficiency.
  • Identify network performance trends: Network performance management tools leverage machine learning and AI capabilities to identify patterns in large data sets that would otherwise be impossible to discern. This data can inform decisions for future network investments and upgrades, improving resource allocation and network performance.

What are the challenges with network performance management?

Modern-day networks are complex and managing them is easier said than done. The road to a fast and reliable network presents many challenges that technicians must overcome with skill and care. Technicians often encounter challenges, such as inadequate network visibility, setting performance baselines, planning and updating capacity, configuring new devices and minimizing disruptions. They often have to do it all at the same time.

Network performance management software can act as a trusted assistant, helping IT professionals deal with all these issues and keeping networks in the pink of health. A core feature that changes how technicians manage networks is a network topology map that lets them visually see the network infrastructure and zoom in on devices and nodes for more significant insights. Features like data analytics and in-built report creation are the cherry on the cake.

What is network performance management software?

A network performance management tool is an advanced program that lets IT professionals view the various components of their network infrastructure on an interactive dashboard. IT professionals should be able to configure the tool to monitor the performance of any IP-based device and get the metrics even remotely. We will reiterate that a good tool should be easy to deploy and provide a network visualization map that gives a comprehensive view and insights into the health and status of the network.

When choosing a tool, make sure it integrates with core IT tools, like remote monitoring and management and documentation solutions, and has automation capabilities so that technicians can devote more time to essential business tasks instead of mundane tasks.

Monitor and manage network performance with Kaseya

Network performance monitoring is a challenging and complex task.

Kaseya’s network performance monitoring tool, Traverse, lets you easily monitor and manage your networks and data centers, whether private or hybrid clouds, virtualized or distributed. Traverse is super easy to deploy and will help you stay on top of your game with network alerts, trend analysis and machine learning features. Moreover, you can leverage its predictive analytics feature to identify problems before they impact critical services. Traverse also easily integrates with essential IT solutions like documentation, messaging and BI tools.

It’s a complete package designed to meet all your networking needs on a budget. If you are facing a persistent networking challenge that you can’t find a workaround for, then schedule a demo of Traverse today.

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