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Network Management: Features, Components and Benefits

  • Soumalya Bhattacharyya
  • Jul 27, 2022
Network Management: Features, Components and Benefits title banner

There are two similar ideas referred to as network management. The first step is the configuration, management, and monitoring of a network's performance. The second factor is the platform that the IT and NetOps teams utilize to carry out these continuous operations.

Network management systems have developed over the last ten years to support the increasingly flexible operations of IT teams, including sophisticated analytics, machine learning, and intelligent automation to continuously improve network performance. 


These network management solutions are widely used in hosted and cloud settings as businesses adjust to a more dispersed workforce.


What is Network Management?


Network management is the process of using a network management system to administer, manage, and operate a data network. Current network management systems continually gather and analyze data, send out configuration changes for enhancing performance, reliability, and security, and employ software and hardware to do so.


It entails setting up network components for monitoring and, if necessary, modifying them in order to achieve the best performance, the least amount of downtime, the highest level of security, accountability, and flexibility.


Network management systems gather information from client devices, switches, routers, and other associated network equipment. Additionally, they allow network managers to have precise control over how those devices function and communicate with one another.


These devices' data are used to proactively spot performance problems, keep an eye on security and segmentation, and quicken troubleshooting. LAN administration was the original purpose of many network management solutions. These management planes enhanced their support for SD-WAN, security, and IoT as company networks became more sophisticated and diverse.


The most efficient platforms integrate hardware and sensors to provide a single view of network traffic, which makes it simple for IT to not only monitor but also secure and fix performance concerns.


As more devices and applications are added to a network, the network becomes more complex. However, a complex network doesn't necessitate a complex network management system. 


The open, flexible, and software-driven network management solutions of today serve to speed up and simplify network operations while cutting costs and minimizing risk.


These technologies, which are driven by deep intelligence and integrated security, provide automation and assurance throughout the whole network, no matter how large or small, improving productivity and reducing costs while providing end-to-end visibility, automation, and insight. 


Users may improve their networks with the solutions that best meet their business objectives thanks to open APIs and standards like OpenConfig.


Features of Network Management


The following are some of the different characteristics of network management:


  1. Network automation


Network automation is one characteristic of a contemporary network management system. This process involves automating how physical and virtual devices are configured, handled, tested, deployed, and operated inside a network. 


When repetitive operations are automatically regulated and managed and daily network chores and functions are automated, network service availability rises.


  1. Network administration


Monitoring network resources, such as switches, routers, and servers, is a part of network administration. Software upgrades and performance monitoring are also part of it.


  1. Network Operation


This includes the efficient operation of the network as designed and intended, as well as careful monitoring of activity to swiftly and efficiently identify and resolve issues as they arise, ideally even before users are aware of the issue.


  1. Network assurance


Modern network management systems frequently come with network assurance features. The security, customer experience, and network performance are all enhanced by these characteristics. Network analytics, application analytics, policy analytics, together with AI and ML, are all made possible by assurance systems.


  1. Network provisioning


Network provisioning is configuring network resources to serve a certain service, such as voice features or accommodating more users.


  1. Network maintenance


Upgrades and repairs to network resources are included in network maintenance. Additionally, it entails preventive and corrective actions carried out in collaboration with network managers, such as the replacement of network hardware like routers and switches.


  1. Network analytics


Network analytics is a software application that makes practical choices for enhancing network performance by comparing incoming data to operational models that have been preprogrammed.


Also Read | What is Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) and its Benefits?


Network Management vs. Network Automation


The act of setting up, monitoring, and maintaining a dependable network—which ensures communication between hardware and the users of it or the software programmes that use it—is known as network management. 


Although there are numerous ways to define network management, in general it refers to the methods that network operations teams use to develop and maintain efficiency throughout an organization's network infrastructure. These processes include provisioning, configuration, security, and measurement.


The differences between network management and network automation are discussed below:


  1. Network automation is an evolution of network management in the same way that automation is an evolution of management. In order to manage business network resources and services, network management systems now rely on automation.


  1. The (very individualized) distinctions between management and automation are what distinguish network management from network automation. Because continuous automation does not exist, there is also no set moment at which management becomes automated. 


  1. Once a certain amount of human effort is no longer necessary to manage a set of activities, management may then be said to have automated. The ability to automate network resource and management services enables network operations teams to be more adaptable and better meet the expectations of contemporary businesses.


Benefits of Network Management


Today's networks must efficiently support high-value solutions that send and receive data, video, and voice from and to users. To do this, they must maintain excellent network service levels and infrastructure visibility. 


Due to the numerous effects of digitization, managing the corporate network has become more challenging, complex, and frustrating. Users using BYOD and those using internet-connected gadgets must be quickly onboarded.


To keep a competitive advantage, your company must use the cutting-edge digital technology it is implementing, but at the same time, cyberattacks must be stopped at every point of entry. 


Delivering a high-quality, consistent user experience must go hand in hand with all of these endeavors, and they must all be carried out precisely. The proper network management system is required for this to occur.


System administrators can be equipped with the tools required for the maintenance and upkeep of the company network without a lot of manual labor by installing a suitable network management system. 


The objective is to manage the intricate network from the data center to the network edge using integrated wired and wireless management capabilities, automatic network issue alerts, and device interoperability across several manufacturers.


Be selective while assessing the software alternatives that could meet your needs because different types of network management solutions might not necessarily offer all of these functions.

The image shows the Benefits of Network Management which include Cost control, Increased efficiency, Reduced downtime and Increased flexibility.

Benefits of Network Management


  1. Cost Control


Both technological advancements and attempting to handle the current level of IT complexity only with an internal workforce are expensive. You may frequently save a lot of money by choosing network management services to supplement your internal efforts.


  1. Increased Efficiency


By selecting network management services, employees are freed from the stress of red warnings and flashing lights so they can concentrate on cutting-edge initiatives that will change your company. 


There are a variety of services available to accelerate and fine-tune the way your company runs, depending on the network management tasks you're wanting to offload, from monitoring to upgrades.


  1. Reduced Downtime


When it comes to the expenses of downtime, we've all heard the statistics. Relying on a reputable network partner for network management operations removes the concern of network issues. You can be sure that a network outage won't result in any unforeseen costs or public relations catastrophes.


  1. Increased Flexibility


It is simpler to modify your infrastructure or solution set in reaction to changes in the company when you trust a partner with network management duties. Flexibility in service delivery characterizes a reliable partner.


Also Read | Introduction to Workforce Analytics


Key Components of Network Management


To carry out tasks, there are several key components of network management. These consist of:


  1. Endpoint Connectivity


Your network infrastructure's main goal is to link business endpoints. This can include conference room systems, lobby kiosks, and on-site workstations. It could also incorporate a distributed environment that links distant workers with several branch companies. 


Depending on the needs of the company, the endpoint type also varies. Network administration has real-time access to information about each node's performance thanks to network management, which helps guarantee that the required endpoint nodes are always connected. 


IT teams may also keep track of endpoint connection for a single interface across a variety of distant locations using centralized network monitoring technologies.


  1. Logging Systems


Logging systems are a crucial part of network management because they help keep extensive records and monitor network performance using KPIs that are accepted in the industry. 


Both network hardware appliances and software components have logging systems linked to them. The logging system will keep track of every activity when these hardware and software tools are utilized so that it may be reviewed afterwards.


  1. Network Automation


The five distinct forms of network administration need less human work thanks to network automation. Based on a preset methodology for network fault management, it can aid in auto-healing common problems. 


The provisioning of new users automatically can help with network configuration management. If specific criteria are crossed, it can aid in the automatic rollout of cost-reduction strategies for network account management.


  1. Server Connectivity


The network management system's server connectivity component monitors the connectivity of non-end user devices. For instance, these must be maintained available if your company depends on virtual machines or a network of servers that are privately hosted to power application-related tasks.


Similar to endpoints, network administration must provide maximum uptime for server devices. This can be difficult since server problems might be difficult to see and only become obvious after spreading throughout the company. For this reason, the majority of network management teams maintain and manage this component using server-specific network monitoring tools.


  1. Switch Management


Network switches are physical devices that enforce the required IT protocols while assisting in connecting endpoint devices to the main company network. Network switches at many levels, from floor switches to aggregation switches and the central switchgear, may be utilized by businesses.


  1. Network Assurance


Network assurance is a part of network management that entails enforcing policies to reduce risk, guarantee internal compliance, and ward off security threats. 


To provide all users with a secure and dependable experience is the goal of network assurance. Because of this, the proper operation of this component necessitates cooperation across the five different forms of network administration. 


Additionally, network assurance makes use of analytics as a crucial component to track dynamic risk levels and notify the required parties before a serious problem may develop.


Also Read | Intelligent Analytics: Types and Benefits


Organizations encounter a number of significant issues in the hybrid workplace of today. The difficulties include the need to quickly integrate tools for collaboration, support, and business continuity, as well as a workforce that is widely dispersed and mobile and an uneven variety of high-quality connectivity alternatives.


As a result, network management systems must be flexible, intelligent, and automated so that decision-making is facilitated and mistakes are minimized. To assist guarantee that networks and the devices connected to them are safe from the core to the edge, security must be inherent and prioritized.

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