Benefits of using OpManager for Network/Server management

by Jones David

OpManager is a network management product that accommodates a single console solution to manage the entire IT network of any organization – whether it runs on a small, medium or large scale. It provides strong performance management functionality for routers, switches, firewalls, WAN links, VoIP links, wireless access points, multi-server platforms such as Windows, Unix, Linux, HP UX, IBM AIX, HCI Nutanix, and Solaris, virtual servers (VMware ESX & ESXi/ MS Hyper-V), load balancers, printers, temperature sensors and other IT components in the network.

This system is best suited for large companies with complex multi-site networks. The remote management elements in the tool make it an ideal channel to centralize IT management in one location and save costs on running support at each site. Mid-sized companies would also benefit from using OpManager because the task automation included in the package allows a small team to support a complex network.

The tool focuses on the health of network devices, which are generic and not industry-specific, so OpManager is suitable for all industries and all types of companies that have extensive networks to manage.

Benefits of using OpManager

The main purpose of OpManager is to monitor the successful operation of a network. The tool also has server monitoring capabilities. Here are the main activities for which OpManager can be used:

Real-time network monitoring

Network monitoring is the core function of OpManager. The program does not monitor traffic flows. Instead, it monitors the statuses of network devices. The network monitor relies on the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This system is built into all network devices as an agent program. The only piece missing from the implementation of the protocol is a manager. OpManager provides that function.

SNMP enables OpManager to continuously collect device statuses. The information from these ongoing surveys is displayed in graphical and statistical formats in the tool’s dashboard. During normal operations, the manager requests status reports from all device agents. However, if the device is in trouble, the agent sends a report without waiting to be asked. This is called a “trap” and OpManager converts it into a warning or alert. These notifications allow network technicians to prevent a device failure before it happens.

By catching problems before they escalate into a disaster, OpManager can reduce the number of calls to the help desk – problems can be fixed before users notice them. This reduction in support calls saves costs and helps OpManager pay for itself.

Wireless network monitoring

OpManager’s wireless network monitoring module is a very useful tool. Many companies today use Wi-Fi in their offices, often as a separate network that employees have private access to. The network monitor shows the signal strength of all wireless access points on the premises and can also record the amount of traffic going to each wireless router. It also displays usage statistics that illustrate when wireless routers are overloaded.

The monitor is useful for capacity planning and also for detecting rogue access points within the premises that may threaten your security. The wireless network monitor stores templates for each router model. Once the operator has set up a list of required monitors for a router type, those settings are repeated for each router of the same model. Further time savings are possible through task automation and automated data collection.

Network mapping

OpManager takes full advantage of all the information SNMP provides and creates network maps from that data. First, those SNMP responses from device agents notify the administrator of the existence of those devices. This allows OpManager to create a device inventory without any human intervention.

OpManager also creates a map of this information. Both the inventory and the network topology map are updated in real-time, making it easy to see when new devices are added to the network and old devices are removed. It is even possible to see when devices are moved.

OpManager’s network topology maps are a great feature. The mapper is able to show the network as links between all devices, just the Layer 2 or Layer 3 devices, as a 3D representation of the building, and as a map with all the sites of a WAN plotted on it. Another great visualization is a view of each server rack with all the devices in it.

Hardware monitoring

OpManager’s network monitoring function relies on the ability to query device agents via SNMP. Automatic monitoring of network performance includes keeping an eye on the statuses of all routers and switches that manage the network. The OpManager system compiles a list of all network devices and regularly checks the status of various hardware elements, such as memory usage and availability, disk space, temperature, and voltage. Detecting and addressing problems with those devices keeps the network running.

Physical server monitoring

Rival monitoring systems create separate network performance monitors and server monitors. OpManager covers both servers and network devices. CPU, performance, CPU memory, storage, disk, power, and fan speed are all continuously monitored and displayed as visualizations in the tool’s dashboard. Server capacity is very important for successful application delivery, so OpManager also monitors running processes, observes their resource usage, and ensures that capacity limits are not exceeded.

Virtual server monitoring

Virtualizations provide great resource efficiency, but they can become complicated very quickly if not properly monitored. Switching VMs between servers is a necessary part of running virtualizations effectively. The virtual server monitoring tool in OpManager keeps track of all links between VMs and servers. It tracks the environment software that maintains the virtualizations, and it monitors the capacity of the physical resources that support and connect all elements of the virtualizations.

A very useful feature in the tool is a virtualization map. This is automatically compiled and updated as changes occur in the mapping. This is a particularly useful aid if you are implementing dynamic mapping. OpManager has specialized sections for monitoring VMWare, Hyper-V, and Citrix Xen Server virtualizations.

WAN link monitoring

Running a multi-site business requires remote monitoring, making the Internet connections between sites vital to the smooth operation of the organization. The WAN link monitoring system in OpManager is modeled after Cisco IP SLA standards. This tracks the quality of connections between sites in a WAN and the central monitoring station. The monitoring package also includes constant measurement of link roundtrip times.

VoIP monitoring

Running a phone system over the data network places even greater importance on constantly available network services. The VoIP monitor in the OpManager package helps keep voice traffic prioritized so it gets all the speed it needs. OpManager applies QoS strategies, implements queues, and prioritizes were necessary to keep VoIP traffic moving at sufficient speed. OpManager monitors packet loss, delay, jitter, the Mean Opinion Score (MOS), and roundtrip time (RTT).

Syslog and Windows Event log monitoring

Syslog and Windows Event log are becoming increasingly important in intrusion detection managing those logs so that they are in a scannable format. It also ensures that they are properly stored in meaningful folders, which is an important step in gathering useful information from them. OpManager works as a Syslog server and a Windows event log server to properly manage these records and make them available for analysis.

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