how to maintain a stable network

Posted on 2009-12-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Hi Experts,
how we can monitor our network ? i want to know what is happening to my netwrok
how i can check loops , bandwidth utalization and other threats that can harm network stability.
or what are the steps we should notice on daily basis to keep a newtork run smoothly.
my network consist on 100 of switches and  some  routers firewalls ips etc.
Question by:sportsboy
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    you could enable SNMP on your switches and routers and use openNMS to monitor.

    Otherwise there's a lot of $-software. ex:
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    Some high level steps to follow:

    1> Document the network.  Have complete drawings.  Use something like
    2> Baseline.  Use tools like MRTG, Kiwi Cattools and Kiwi Syslog daemon to collect daily configs and be
    a syslog server.  Also, enable netflow collecting too.  You'll need a server for this and if powerful enough, one can take care of all things in step 2.
    3> Maintain code levels.  Occasionally security vulnerabilities are announced by the manufacturer.  Try to uopgrade quarterly whether you need it or not.  At the very least, annually.
    4> Use strong passwords for authentication in managing the device.  Change them at least every 90

    Consider the following websites for software in helping you maintain your network:

    One exceedingly bad move companies make is they leave the network alone and hope those little black boxes keep doing what they do.

    The failing is this:

    If you ignore a server that perhaps runs your accounting system and it fails, you will certainly suffer some pain while the situation is remedied.  If you ignore the network and experience a network-wide failure all of your systems are down and the loss of productivity and real dollars can be high.

    Good luck.  I've given you some high level advice but hopefully this will get you on the right track.
    LVL 23

    Assisted Solution

    I think the first question you need to ask is... how stable does the network need to be, and how tightly do you need to manage/monitor it to achieve business objectives.   How critical is the network to the business,   and  how much is it worth to the business  to  avoid outages?

    If, for example,  a loop takes your network down, and it  takes  3 hours, to get everything back and running,  is that okay,  5 hours?   8 hours?
    How much will they cost?

    If a single outage will cost a lot,  then you can justify more expensive measures to monitor, make it redundant, ensure its stability,   and more costly measures to assist with locating a  problem as quickly as possible.

    If you have 100 switches, it may be already way too late, or it may be costly to get a handle on it.

    "Maintaining a stable network"  should be planned for from day one,  if you are serious about achieving it,  every piece  you put into the network should fit into a plan,  that includes  monitoring for that piece, and   ensuring  fault tolerance.

    If  you have 100  unmanaged switches from dozens of vendors, there is almost nothing you can do,  other than introduce monitoring points,  replacing some of your most important network points with  full managed switches,

    Or introducing new managed and redundant elements.

    If you had  well-architected network,  with 100  enterprise level "managed" switches from a vendor such as  Cisco, Foundry, Enterasys, Extreme,  then there is probably a LOT you can do.

    In the way of monitoring with SNMP, Netflow,  checking  interface statistics for errors.

    Setting up redundant links,  picking a good spanning tree root, etc.

    Documenting, and baselining are good ideas..

    Using tools such as MRTG, Cacti,  and  OpenNMS   for monitoring, are also great ideas.

    If the cost of a network outage warrants it,  and especially if the network has grown organically from unmanaged pieces,  or has had stability problems,  your  organization should seriously consider finding a good  Network Engineering consultant  to perform a  network audit,   and validate the design, configuration of the network,   that proper   network redundancy is in place  for services  your business deems to require redundancy,  internal and external  network security measures,   loop avoidance,  potential bottlenecks  or "unexpected oversubscription" points, etc,

    And they would be in a better position to recommend  the best specific equipment changes  that would best suit your org's  needs and your network,  since they'd have all the details,  including  your  budget  for  properly managing 'ensuring the network is stable'  going forward.


    Author Closing Comment

    good monitoring tools

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