- 18 December 2012 11:02
How network managers can do more with less
By Brian Jacobs, Senior Product Manager, Ipswitch, Inc.*
It’s a rare network manager indeed who is not familiar with budget constraints. But reduced spending – or static spending when the network is expanding – need not lead to slower networks, more devices dropping out, or increasing downtime.
For stressed out network managers, or IT departments under fire, here are five ways to stretch the budget:
Tip #1 Simplicity all around
From download to user experience to licensing, your IT management experience should be simple all around. Solutions that provide an integrated application with access to everything across your IT infrastructure from a single, intuitive Web console can save your IT department time and resources. There’s no need to buy separate solutions to manage your environment or to log into multiple consoles to get your job done.
Tip #2 Consider moving to an internal cloud!
Ipswitch has not bought a single piece of hardware in the years since we’ve moved to the internal cloud. Your first step in virtualisation is to decide which servers to move to the cloud. Usually, supplementary servers like DNS, domain controllers, DHCP, and file and print servers are good places to start because they don’t take full advantage of the hardware on which they exist. Web servers, mail servers and small databases are also good candidates.
More complex servers can be virtualised, but this must be planned carefully. Before virtualising any server, run a trending analysis and performance monitoring. You will need to measure processor use, memory use, storage, network traffic volume and disk I/O. Do not move an overloaded server to the cloud.
Tip #3 Find ways to troubleshoot and resolve issues faster
Industry studies show that 80 per cent of IT time and resources is spent on finding the problem, leaving only 20 per cent for fixing the issues. IT professionals who are running more than one network management solution will need to examine multiple reports and interfaces manually to correlate information across various types of metrics. This can substantially lengthen mean time to resolution (MTTR), making the job much more difficult and time consuming. Look for an infrastructure management solution that will let you discover, map, monitor and manage the network devices, servers, applications, virtual resources, port-to-port connectivity, configuration settings and network traffic from a single console.
Tip #4 Ensure 24×7 health, availability and optimal performance of infrastructure and applications
Performance monitoring should be a routine task. This seemingly unimportant activity can minimise risks and increase the likelihood that network issues and bottlenecks are discovered early. A network management solution with an all-inclusive console will make this job easier and more efficient.
Tip #5 Look for cost-effective solutions
Cost-effective solutions do exist, so IT professionals using one of the big four solutions might want to reconsider their options for the upcoming year. They can still have a solid IT management solution for a reasonable price, but might need to sacrifice the bells and whistles. Those considering open source solutions should realise that configuration can be a nightmare and the risks are high: vulnerability, scalability, liability and lack of tech support. But there is no need to panic, despite budgetary constraint. Simply weigh your options and find ways to do more with less.
* Ipswitch is represented in Australia and New Zealand by Digital Networks Australia. Contact CEO Martin Higham on +61 (0) 418 973 819. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).
- Have an incident response plan.
- Pre-define your incident response team
- Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.
- Pre-distribute call cards.
- Forensic and incident response data capture.
- Get your users on-side.
- Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement.
- Practice makes perfect.
I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.