Fluke helps maintain network health

Network managers need to resolve any problems that arise as quickly as possible to minimise downtime.

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Fluke helps maintain network health Reddy: A lot of organisations do not follow a standardized troubleshooting process.
By  David Ndichu Published  July 27, 2015

The IT network today is at the heart of most enterprises, supporting business-critical applications, providing the data on which business decisions are made and facilitating communications with customers, partners, suppliers and co-workers.

More than ever before, it is a strategic asset to the business, and any downtime or degradation in network or application performance will directly impact the organisation’s bottom line.

To deliver the service levels agreed with the business, the challenge is two-fold, says Ramesh Reddy, solutions manager, MEA & Turkey, Fluke Networks. One is to proactively improve and optimise performance to ensure that the network delivers what users require, and resolve any problems that arise as quickly as possible to minimise downtime.

Fluke has a range of products and solutions to keep networks in general and cabling in particular in top shape, through an end-to-end troubleshooting and performance monitoring kit.

The Versiv family of products supports copper certification, fibre loss, OTDR testing and hardware upgrades, while its copper certification and testing solutions ensure cables are installed to industry standards and enabling network technicians find faults quickly. With data centres and enterprises increasingly reliant on optical fibre cabling, Fluke Networks’ portfolio of fibre optic cable test and certification solutions are used worldwide by technicians and installers.

Nagging, intermittent problems can ‘hide’ in the network, reducing both productivity and the credibility of the IT department, observes Ramesh Reddy, solutions manager, MEA & Turkey, Fluke Networks. To investigate and resolve performance issues quickly, the engineer needs end-to-end visibility across the network, he adds.

Issues may arise from unmanaged equipment, which may have been purchased because it is less expensive but will cost more to troubleshoot when problems occur, as there is no visibility of the health of each network segment and utilisation levels cannot be monitored, Reddy says. “In contrast, with a managed switch, a network engineer can go to any switch port and see what the errors look like, view the utilisation and see who is connected to that port,” he adds.

Another common issue is with problems of the past, which only come to the engineer’s attention hours after they have occurred. “What’s needed is a means of going back in time by capturing and analysing large amounts of granular data over an extended period of time, say 24 hours, to catch intermittent issues,” Reddy explains.

The vast majority of organisations do not follow a standardized troubleshooting process, Reddy notes. Not only does this process vary within a particular organisation, but the tools used to troubleshoot problems vary substantially.

In many cases, technicians can’t resolve the problem themselves. Sometimes they need additional help with especially difficult problems. In other instances, it’s because the problem lies outside their domain of responsibility, and they need to work with a separate group inside or outside the enterprise with service providers or equipment vendors, Reddy notes.

 “There is some level of customisation that goes behind each requirement, however, the baseline product remains the same” Reddy observes, adding, “Fluke Networks can add that special touch with custom dashboards and tweaked settings.”

One of the main challenges in deploying a troubleshooting strategy is that IT support teams are typically siloed using their tool of choice, Reddy observes. “This presents a problem in that these disparate toolsets provide no correlated view into performance issues that may be present within any component across the application delivery infrastructure. Without the ability to understand how one component may be affecting another at a specific point in time it becomes difficult if not impossible to quickly understand how well the infrastructure is transporting applications, how well those applications are performing, and where the problem truly lies,” Reddy says.

According to Reddy, typical tools offered in the industry are based on SNMP polling mechanisms, which provide visibility into network problems, but cannot show service/business priority. Other tools require extensive configuration into the product to bring visibility into network problems. Both limit how enterprises can manage their borderless enterprises.

This is where Fluke Networks with its portfolio for application & networks performance monitoring brings a unified visibility across the organisation, Reddy says. “Fluke differentiates with features such as few clicks to problem resolution. We focus on end user experience while giving power to IT to connect end user response times to problem identification and isolation,” he concludes.  

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