Network Monitoring: Expertise is the key to success

By Mark Brule

It used to be that computer networks existed solely for connecting computers to allow the programs they were running to communicate. Thankfully, those days are long gone.

Today, computer networks connect many devices, sensors, surveillance equipment, printers, and more. The world has become populated with IoT devices that can sense and interact with the world in manifold unique ways. Because of the miniaturization of computer resources, we can now add automation to devices with a fraction of the power and space previously needed. This opens the door to a wide range of uses for computers and smart sensors that promise to make the 21st century the most interesting yet.

For example, digital video cameras can secure private and business premises, with a wide range of interesting video analytics attached. Temperature controls in building spaces can now be smart enough to know when employees are in the office when the temperature outside has changed, and any other information that can help make the energy use more efficient. And building management systems exist that can make business spaces more secure and efficient.

As cloud-hosting has become commonplace, many functions that required private data centers can now be purchased as a service from cloud-based providers. This approach helps drive down IT-related costs, power consumption, and personnel requirements by limiting the variety of training and expertise needed.

But all these things put more and more pressure on the network to function properly. Computer networks aren’t just for computers anymore; they help run businesses from end to end. A well-functioning network is necessary to have a well-functioning business. When your network goes down, you can experience serious impacts on your ability to conduct business and obtain revenue.

In short, businesses rely on good connectivity.

Therefore, maintaining network performance is critical for many businesses to be profitable. Knowing what’s gone wrong on the network when a problem occurs and reacting rapidly and precisely is essential for many businesses. You need to be able to quickly know what the problem is and equally quickly be able to resolve it. Even better, you would like to predict a problem before it arises and prevent it from ever occurring—this is the promise of monitoring systems and data gathering operations.

Auger is an IT infrastructure monitoring service delivered by IT professionals and backed by Allied Telesis. The problem Auger solves, having the people and expertise to manage your network and move into a proactive posture, is becoming increasingly complicated. Where IT staff used to be focused only on administering the computers and the network, now you need people with much wider-ranging specializations. Plenty of software solutions cover one part of monitoring your infrastructure but setting them up and running them efficiently is no easy task.

Many smaller businesses are just as reliant on networking technology as larger businesses but don’t have large, flexible IT staff. Although, in the past, you might have been able to get away with a single network administrator or System Administrator, if you really want to have expert control of your whole compute environment and your business automation, that requires more specialized training and more staff. Furthermore, setting up these monitoring systems is a skill in and of itself, and the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Auger: A Network Monitoring solution

Auger has two very important components. First, it is a cloud-hosted monitoring system that includes network and infrastructure monitoring, visualization tools, and dashboards to help people who know the network be able to manage it. This means being able to identify faults and quickly trace them back to root causes. The monitoring system contains data aggregation software to capture and collate all the information from your network to start being proactive about network issues.

Second, Auger is backed by experts in the infrastructure monitoring space to help you and your network to remain operating efficiently. Auger is an ecosystem of computer software and hardware, as well as team members from Allied Telesis and your local partner, all working together to keep your business humming.

How does Auger work?

The Auger team will configure and send you an appliance that acts as our on-premise proxy to gather information about your network and the faults being experienced. The proxy provides the data the support team needs to keep your business running smoothly. Auger’s dashboards help the team members diagnose and solve your problems and your employees who want to see the network status. The whole team uses the same software to gather information on the state of the network with specific visualization tools tailored to the user’s account.

The Auger appliance uses existing protocols on your network to gather its data and the latest security protocols to keep this information secure and out of the hands of people who are not authorized to see it. Then, it sends the data to a cloud server for aggregation and long-term storage, which enables analytics to learn about the network’s operating parameters and detect problems before they occur.

What makes Auger different?

There are a lot of different monitoring technologies and software components you can find on the Internet. The monitoring problem typically has many facets:

  • To monitor network devices, you need to use special protocols like SNMP.
  • Linux and Windows require different tools to monitor server health.
  • You can monitor applications, but how they operate determines how you measure them.
  • Databases and storage software often have some instrumentation built-in.
  • Software that provides Restful APIs offer yet another way to measure health.
  • Different hardware products may offer platform-specific information such as internal temperatures, fan speed, disk write failures, etc.

Constructing a full monitoring system and configuring it for your specific environment can become a large-scale project. If you just download and install some monitoring software, you can quite easily generate floods of alarms—this is the result of virtually every home-grown monitoring solution. Unfortunately, the volume of these alarm floods can be so overwhelming that you learn nothing from them because you spend so much time ruling things out when the system is healthy. Their complexity also means there’s a significant learning phase before you begin to understand the signals that your network is working efficiently. So you spend more but learn less.

Expertise is the key.

Auger was built by people who do this for a living, have lived in the networking and monitoring world for decades, and know what it takes to maintain a healthy system. More than the individual software and hardware components that we provide, the complete Auger ecosystem is unmatched in providing actionable information at an affordable price.

In addition, since we’ve done this across a wide spectrum of business types, we understand the visualization tools needed to make the right decisions. We have taken several best-of-breed visualization environments, integrated them with state-of-the-art data aggregation technologies, and married them with machine learning technologies. The result is a monitoring system that delivers what you need: a functioning network without the hassle.

So, you can run your business, while we run your network.