The ultimate guide to selecting the best Network Management Software for your enterprise

07 Jul 2020

If you are reading this post blog, you’re probably looking for a network management software or replacing the existing one. So, you are at the right place.

Network management systems bring you visibility of the network´s health and performance, traffic data, bandwidth usage, availability, faults and troubleshooting features. All of this in order to keep your network healthy and running at its best, isolating any faults in the fastest way possible.

What are the main reasons to choose a proper NMS?

  • Minimise downtime costs, prevent outages and take preventive measures
  • Get a consolidated view of your network reducing network management complexity
  • Keep running your network at its best performance
  • Meet your future needs such as growth and scalability
  • Reduce OPEX by using a single system
  • Improve security and compliance

Things to keep in mind when looking for the best NMS tool

Your company size and services delivered

  • If your company is a small or medium-size business, the decision would be easier because there are a lot of alternatives available in the market and at a good cost.
  • If your company is large, your infrastructure is certainly more complex than that of SMEs, so you must do proper research and consider your infrastructure’s and enterprise’s needs.
  • If your company is large and delivers critical services, it is essential to select a comprehensive NMS, meeting your network´s availability, performance, security and compliance requirements.

Network Monitoring vs Network Management

You must be asking yourself right now:

Are there any differences between network monitoring and network management tools?

There definitely are! Monitoring solutions are focused on performance monitoring, whilst network management software brings you advanced functionalities and a wide range of wizards supporting five essential pillars, such as FCAPS. The cost of the network management system is higher as well.

How to choose your Network Management System?

Choosing the best NMS is not easy and requires a deep research of NMS tools available in the market. But the first step is key and the execution of an internal analysis is required.

Identify your network infrastructure needs.

It is critical to make an analysis of your network, especially the number of elements that you manage. It is also important to evaluate the technologies and vendors that you are dealing with.

Consider the scalability

As your business grows so your network does. In case you consider an exponential growth during the next years, you will need a proper tool allowing you to extend the capacity.

Problem fixes

Evaluating troubleshooting alternatives is of utmost importance. When fault occurs, you need to know why it happened, when, where, which equipment was affected, get the notification, isolate the fault, provide a fast resolution, and determine what could prevent future faults.

Desired features

You must think in the most important features you need in order to manage your network efficiently. A comprehensive evaluation of NMS features, such as configuration management, inventory, dashboards, reports, charts …etc. are critical for your decision-making.

A good and complete tool should -at least- offer you:

  • Network inventory
  • Network configuration
  • Customisable and pre-defined dashboards
  • Autodiscovery
  • Efficient fault management

It is also a big plus if the software offers you features such as:

  • Event notification
  • GUI
  • Network topology maps with hierarchical layers
  • Efficient ticketing system
  • Real-time and historical reports

Network Management tool selection process

The incorrect choice of a tool can impact significantly on your business. So, you need to take the time and consider different options to choose the suitable one for your enterprise.
Here are the steps you should follow:

What should you consider when looking for a Network Management Software?

NMS tool background

Although the current NMS available in the market possess an extensive expertise (probably with more than 10 years working over the globe) one must put special attention on NMSs’ background. Sectors where it is running, what kind of services it manages, technologies and vendors compatibility, as well as how long has it been used the tool by clients and their sector…etc.

Support and Training

A good support is crucial. Sometimes a big player delivers a long response-period when a problem arises with your NMS. This is critical. A quick response and everything related to system maintenance should be assured. Also, training is important in order to manage your network in a smart way, saving time and costs.

Configuration Management

Your chosen tool should enable you to streamline any changes in your network. Also, you should be able to automate configuration tasks and control user’s activity. In addition, receive alerts when configuration changes occur, find your network elements such as devices, get detailed reports, control user accesses and improve the life-cycle management of your network elements.

User friendliness of the network management software

Being user-friendly is a must. If your NMS is difficult to handle, problems arise constantly and thus they may drive you to significant time-consuming, economic losses, not to mention decreased probability of downtimes and outages. Also, the productivity of your staff decreases when they do not understand how to use the system due to lack of user-friendliness.

Agentless or Agent-based

Agentless software collects health and performance data without the need to install any agent. This means that the software asks directly to the device or server for its status. Installation of agent as an intermediary is not required. However, agent-based monitoring requires agent installation to collect performance and health data, so you’re adding one more piece to the chain.
Agentless brings you advantages such as cost-effectivity and fast set-up. Although the ideal option is having a network management system that allows you to combine both, agentless a and agent-based .

Licenses

Most of the available software in the market used to sell their features separately, instead of selling them in one single system. In case you need specific features, the cost would be higher.
Explore the way each solution is licensed. There are different licensing models, from per device, node, users to per feature.

On premise or cloud based

  • On premise NMS: it is more reliable, allowing you for a better control and visibility
  • Cloud-based NMS: it is faster to implement, which offers you lower cost, but just remember – all that glitters is not gold. Cloud-based NMS could present security threats.

Reports

A good NMS tool should provide you with comprehensive reports.
Pre-defined, customised, real-time and historical reports are important for your business metrics and for the decision-making processes.

Let’s talk about costs

Most of the available software in the market used to sell their functionality separately, instead of bundled in one single system. This is something to keep in mind: a consolidated solution is a suitable one.
There are different options you may have, from open-source NMS to comprehensive solutions. Depending on your needs, your infrastructure and business goals you will select a proper solution for your organisation.
When managing critical services, such as smart grids, it is crucial to take the teleprotection feature included in your NMS into account.

Last but not least: Test, test and test again before purchase

Once you have evaluated all the alternatives available in the market and tested them, you are ready to select a suitable solution for you. Here at SGRwin we also advise you to check your budget and calculate your ROI.

SGRwin is a complete and cost-effective solution that brings you an easier installation and configuration. Our NMS brings you many available features, such as hierarchical maps, multi-vendor compatibility, advanced reports, and awesome dashboards among others.

In constant growth since the 90’s with clients all over the globe, our NMS is the best solution for large and critical services companies.

Apply for a free demo and discover the power of our Network Management!

Остались вопросы или хотите заказать демо-версию?

Наши специалисты готовы вам помочь.

Обратитесь к нам