This is our third and final installment in the series, I would, retrospectively thinking, call: “Is this the best we can do?” This series is based on several metrics from a 2016 Enterprise Management Associates Network Management Megatrends Report and it brings to light sobering statistics.
In “The Scary 40%” we talked about why 40% of the incidents reported by users are invisible to the networking team. In “The Dreadful 37%” we talked about the average time spent by the networking team on troubleshooting issues (of which, as just mentioned, 40% are surprises). We clearly run into a case of:
“You cannot manage what you cannot see”
The intuitive conclusion would then be: Network teams just need tools to detect issues early and help solve the issues fast, they just need network management tools. Correct? Well, that brings us to the last major statistic in that study:
52% of larger enterprises use more than 16 Network and Performance Management (NPM) tools
58% of midsize enterprises use more than 10 Network and Performance Management (NPM) tools
To summarize: We spend a lot of time and money on a big set of network management tools yet we still miss 40% of user impacting incidents and it take us on average 37% of our life to troubleshoot issues. This is no longer a matter of poor choices in the way we invest in our tools, this clearly is a systemic issue, a problem with the way we all approach this problem.
Without a doubt this is a problem we built into our system over time, without even noticing it:
- Network management and network operations are done from a bottom up perspective rather than starting from the top with attempting to answer the question: “Why does the network exist in the first place?” If we start by looking at every switch and router, every interface and counter, every configuration and policy we will always try to dig ourselves out of a mountain of data we try comprehend
- Networks evolved quickly, heterogeneously so we are used with a basket of technologies and products that we figured how to manage as we deployed them
- Network management was always an afterthought in developing, testing and deploying network technologies and products. Vendors focus on the margin of the product sale, the cost of managing it was pushed onto the customer. We accepted this approach
- Network team is always busy putting out fires and rolling out the latest upgrade, it does not have time to put together a management strategy and a set of requirements that will bring in tools that help and that integrate into a common framework
The “Single Pane of Glass” might be elusive but we can change certainly simply things by looking at few but relevant metrics first, dig into details only as needed. To quote a great book: Start with the “Why”. Focus on gathering the data that help you understand how well you deliver services. Focus on User Experience (UX) and your life will be easier in all the other aspects of managing the network, all the other #1 challenges of network teams (as documented in the EMA report):
- Lack of end-to-end visibility
- Lack of visibility and control of external clouds
- Fragmented network management tools
- A lack of cross-domain visibility
This is our belief and our focus with v6Sonar: Take the UX view and automated the operational tasks. We aim to get back your time and thus enable you to take charge of your network.
Change your thinking about network management in 2017. May the force be with you! (there is no way around it for a sustainable solution)