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How to Master and Manage Data Center Complexity

By: Pam Baker | 19 July 2016

Finding and correcting network faults has always been vexing work for network managers. As data center complexity has increased over the years, however, network management has moved from vexing to near impossible for a single manager to do effectively. It's past time to move to a new network management strategy.

Data Center Complexity Grew - And Is Still Growing

In years past, data center complexity came from server sprawl and overloads. Today, it's rooted in applications that shift between servers and affect the performance of various networks. In a cloud environment - be it public, private or hybrid - throughputs between servers and data stores are affected by how many applications are sharing links as workloads shift. This is further complicated by multiple tenants, each with applications shifting to and from overloaded, faulty or failing servers.

This is just part of the complexity facing data centers that have a cloud component, which is most likely all data centers today. Other factors at play include virtualized servers, virtual LANs, overlay networks and the confusing, ever-changing growth in the number of servers and connected devices. All of these areas and more present complications in fault detection, let alone fault repair.

An Insurmountable Challenge for Network Managers

"No human network manager could sort through the avalanche of reports generated as the result of a single fault and quickly identify the root cause," explains TechTarget.

If a network manager cannot sufficiently and effectively perform, he or she becomes yet another fault in the network. If more network managers are hired, however, many of the savings gained by switching to the cloud and purchasing new data center infrastructure may be lost.

That's not to say adding skilled people to your team shouldn't be done - it may be necessary in certain situations. But a hybrid approach to network management tends to work best, and this means a balanced blend of technologies and human talent.

The Benefits in Software Automation

Network fault management software automates network fault detection while repairing and taming data center complexities. Its use frees up your IT team to focus on the organization's competitive goals rather than simply keeping the data center lights on and the network up and running. Data center and cloud fault detection are streamlined and automated, and human talent becomes available for more high-level planning and proactive support.

Network fault management software is capable of quickly and efficiently detecting a wide variety of problems, including simple network management protocol traps; servers, switches and links overloads; TL1 messages; syslog entries; and application logs. The software - provided it is kept up-to-date - can compare patterns in normal network functions and real-time network functions. It also pulls fault indications from a variety of touchpoints to rapidly identify faults and their causes in a concise report for the network manager. This enables faster and better decision-making and more rapid repair or correction response times.

In the end, the software perfectly augments the single network manager's efforts and efficiencies. That, in turn, keeps data center complexity under control in a cost-effective manner.


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