Using KPIs to streamline Network Management tasks

Networks are created for making information available at various points (that occur in the form of computers called nodes)

The act calls for using bulk of hardware devices together with software solutions inserted into them. Drawing from this, one gets that Network Management is concerned with ensuring that all aspects of the network keep functioning in the intended manner. This basically spans four domains- operation (to have the network under control), administration (revolves around resource allocation and background chores required in the network), maintenance (relates to timely up-gradations and repairs) and provisioning (to make the further stretching of the network feasible).

By framing indicators in the appropriate sectors, one can have a means to look after the network in a "calculative" manner. This involves several technological solutions to be installed for covering domains such as "fault", "configuration", "security", "performance", "accounting" and "bandwidth".

The challenges that are to be overcome in this subject relate to choice of hardware and software options to be selected from. The loads of choices that are available demand enough knowledge to be equipped with so that a logical one is selected. Further, a constant hunt for upgrades is to be run so that the newest and most efficient solution is administered every time there emerges a need.

Another hurdle that comes in the way pertains to "allocation of resources" to the network components. Some pre-set criteria are used for deciding the fraction of resources that is to be allotted to various points.

Moving on, one requires appropriate data to manage the networks. The mechanisms that can be opted for are- agents that are installed on infrastructure, synthetic monitoring that is useful in simulation of transactions, real user monitoring to name a few. Also, load balancing shapes up another challenge of the list. Another addition is the list of practices and policies that are to be followed for managing the network accurately. One can pull all these challenges together by using a set of indicators to keep a consistent track of "where the things are going". The BSC i.e. Balanced Scorecard approach was formulated by Norton and Kaplan in 1990s to provide organizations a holistic view of the operations.

The areas whose following can serve the purpose are- Operations, Administration, Maintenance and Network Performance.

Stepping into some more details, the indicators for Operations Perspective are- Frequency of Monitoring Checks, Number of users affected on an average basis, Services smoothness Index and Expansion Probability. Moving on, Administration can be done with KPIs like "Resource Allocation Aptness", "Network Control Aspect", "Data collection mechanisms" and "Data collection mechanisms". Maintenance Perspective can be obtained with indicators like "Average Equipment Replacement time", "Device Configuration Positioning", "Performance Gauging" and "Number of Access methods used". Finally, Network Performance can be obtained by employing metrics like "Overhead Percentage", "Number of network attacks detected", "Throughput" and "Fraction of Network Bandwidth utilized". The approach has helped several organizations turn around their fortunes. Similar is the case when it comes to Network Management. < /p>

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