September 23, 2016
Historically, the biggest challenge in network administration has always been visibility and monitoring. Before modern tools, it could be extremely difficult to identify when and where a bottleneck has formed in your network infrastructure. This would lead to hours and hours of manually analyzing each piece of network equipment to locate the issue.
Today, IT departments have many more options available to them. Beyond a slew of 3rd party applications to assess and analyze components of your network traffic, there are also more robust, comprehensive management platforms developed by major manufacturers. For example, Cisco offers the Cisco Prime Infrastructure, which according to their website, offers users “single view and point of control” for their network.
While monitoring is only a fraction of what the platform can do, here is an overview of the network monitoring tools in Cisco Prime.
Cisco Prime Network Monitoring Tools
To start, Cisco Prime allows the network administrator to keep tabs on all wired and wireless devices on the network as well as compute devices in the data center. Using summaries and data aggregators, administrators can survey their device performances at a very high level. Alternatively, the administrator can dig deeper into a single device to view even the component parts of that device. For example, you can access device details such as modules, ports, and interfaces.
The ability to monitor an aspect of your network at both general and granular levels is, as you will see, a recurring theme in Cisco Prime.
From Cisco Prime, the administrator can see each and every user on the network. Furthermore, they can see their current activity as well as which applications the users are accessing, but that’s not all. The network administrator can also monitor the end-user experience in a separate tab at both general and granular levels.
In a general overview, the administrator can view a summary of how well the application is performing, but the real value comes in at the granular level. Administrators gain access to session details, history, application usage, and identifications for the user.
Perhaps the most important monitoring feature in Cisco Prime is its fault reporting. Based on performance thresholds and quality assurance levels set by the IT department, applications can trigger alerts if the network is bogged down.
However, alerts are only as helpful as the rest of your visibility. When you combine these automated alerts with the detailed visibility possible for both applications and devices, discovering the root problem causing the alert is far easier.
With Cisco Prime, the network administration team can drastically reduce troubleshooting time in the event of an error.
Bonus: Integrates with Meraki Solutions
Meraki is a division of Cisco which offers cloud-managed networking equipment for SMBs and enterprise organizations alike. For many companies, Meraki proves to be a valuable and powerful networking solution, but the Meraki management dashboard lacks much of the detailed monitoring capabilities of Cisco Prime.
Cisco was clever enough to enable Prime and Meraki to integrate together. This allows your administrators to monitor and manage the entire breadth of your network, even if that network is composed of both Cisco and Meraki components.
An Extra Eye on Your Network
The network is arguably the single most important element of your IT environment. Without it, the entire company could grind to a halt. The network facilitates the work done in every department, every day, and it is paramount that your networking team can maintain its performance. That’s why tools like Cisco Prime are so valuable. They provide the insight you need to not only avoid issues but also respond to them with speed and efficiency.
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