What should be monitored?

In fact, the number of issues that may be monitored on a particular network is growing day by day. Today's technological advances make it even more difficult for network administrators and security officers to follow up on the new tactics and intrusions that are born every minute.

The primary concern of almost all network administrators around the world is to ensure and detect network servers' activity throughout the day and night, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Of course this is not only a difficult task, but also an expensive one.

Surveys conducted worldwide express the need for a network monitoring tool that is not very expensive, offers a variety of ways to detect servers' inactivity, as well as an assortment of network administrators alerting methods. Our software solution, Servers Alive, offers just that.

Nowadays, networks can indeed be incredibly large in size, and encompass several storey buildings or building blocks. Therefore, network administrators no longer have the time to go up to every server and network service to check it. They need to be able to monitor the different types of servers and services from a central location and report their status. Servers Alive allows for this to happen through elaborative specified as well as general checks per service activity.

What should and could be monitored? In fact, any network administrator should ask him/ herself these questions before jumping onto the process of choosing the software and hardware to plug into his network.

Generally speaking, the following network processes and actions should and can (by most tools) be monitored:

  • Who and what exactly uses the network.
  • Which users are violating their assigned or limited tasks, or are using the network in uncustomary times - This information can be obtained from the software's screen (as alerts) or from the logs.
  • Network services status changes (or record changes easier when flapping by noting down time stamped changes)
  • Minimum and Maximum Threshold limits
    Maximum limits for: server operating system performance or processor usage, bandwidth exhausting (or traffic levels), queue sizes, number of active users (if network allows pluggable machines), etc.
    Minimum limits for: bandwidth utilization, number of active users, etc.
  • Data flow level directional changes. For instance, when the network is expected to be highly utilized during its uptime, the level of activity should always be increasing. If a sudden drop was featured, then an error must have occurred in one or more of the network services or servers, so an alert must be signaled.
  • Per Network Service or Server security related issues.
    For example, security related issues may include: the maximum number of "write" allowed users in a database server, or the maximum number of failed authentication attempts on a particular domain service.
  • Also, some companies wish to establish specific messages to be displayed on the event window in case of certain occurrences. Therefore, based on your business requirements, your company's network administrator is to define and activate specific event rulesets in order to display the desired even messages.

Network monitoring tools, such as Servers Alive, are specifically used to detect when a server or service has become unavailable. On the occasion of such a service or server's unavailability, the tool alerts the network administrator in a variety of ways. To take the issue a step further in sophistication, some software tools, including Servers Alive, may even be empowered to try to remedy the problems with pre-designed problem solving schemas, without any human intervention.


Sellens, John. System and Network Monitoring and Management with SNMP.

Test 882: IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console V3.8 Network Management Implementation. IBM website.
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