Bandwidth is not an unlimited resource. As more and users and devices consume bandwidth, availability drops and response times decline. Fall below certain thresholds and you end up with service level commitment failures that could have been avoided.
Even with bandwidth pricing continuing to fall, the solution is not to simply buy more than you need and then keep your fingers crossed that the extra capacity will keep you going for another few months. The solution is proper bandwidth management, and that requires the capability to perform bandwidth monitoring.
In addition to providing the ability to monitor and assess overall bandwidth consumption on the enterprise level, a rigorous bandwidth monitoring program enables you to identify "bandwidth hogs", whether human or otherwise, and take corrective action. This type of control can easily add up to thousands of dollars in savings each year.
Just as important, or maybe even more so, unexpected spikes in bandwidth usage could indicate an internal or external security threat such as a Denial of Service (DOS) attack.
Regardless of the underlying reasons, there's just no excuse for a professional network manager not to have an ongoing handle on bandwidth usage, and that means that there's no excuse for not having a bandwidth monitoring software program up and running.
Bandwidth monitoring allows the monitored organization to benefit from best network "grooming" practices as well. Network grooming is the act of auditing and monitoring all network-connected devices, such as switches and routers, to ensure that these devices are consuming bandwidth within expected tolerances.
Network grooming also provides the opportunity to ensure that all purchased bandwidth is available to the network and not being wasted by oversights like not adjusting circuit software settings after a circuit hardware upgrade, and the general verification of overall network performance.
When a network manager has professional bandwidth usage reports available, he or she is also able to utilize bandwidth "avoidance" or bandwidth "shifting" techniques to smooth out bandwidth demand and consumption.
This process involves analyzing network traffic to identify peak bandwidth usage, wasteful bandwidth usage, and other bandwidth inefficiencies. Once these usage patterns are determined, the network manager can work to shift some of the bandwidth usage to off-peak times. This results in smoother network performance and less bandwidth peeks. In the best cases, it can also put off the purchase of additional bandwidth until some time in the future.
The savings realized by bandwidth avoidance alone can be substantial. Microsoft recently reported saving $182,000 in monthly bandwidth costs by using these techniques.
While your organization's results may be different that those of Microsoft, most C-Level Executives appreciate cost reductions of any size and yours are sure to be noticed when your ISP stars getting a smaller check.
But why stop with just monitoring bandwidth?
Stand-alone bandwidth monitoring software is available, but all of the bandwidth monitoring capabilities that you could ever require are also found in the better network monitoring software packages.
This means for a few dollars more than a good bandwidth monitoring program costs, you can have the most wanted additional network monitoring services including these:
DNS Server (Domain Name System)
FTP Server (File Transfer Protocol)
Database Server (Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL, Sybase, etc.)
POP3 and SMTP Servers (Post Office Protocol or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
Lotus Domino Servers
Temperature and Humidity monitoring
SNMP monitoring and more.
Plus, you can have the benefit of having scripted, agentless response scenarios, flexible notifications, and a very robust report generating system.
A network monitoring software package with all of those features saves your organization, provides enhanced network security, and it raises your visibility among your peers and senior management. If bandwidth and network monitoring using advanced server and network monitoring software sounds like a no-brainer, that's because it is a no-brainer.
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"[Servers Alive] has saved us many times from a disaster in the network. Comparing it to HP openview, I'd rather stick with Servers Alive, because it is simple, straight forward, easy to operate, easy to configure and has GREAT support."