Being a network engineer isn’t easy. Consider what they're responsible for on a day to day basis. Maintaining complex, multi-vendor network environments? Check. Maintaining these environments, triaging incidents when they arise to maintain connectivity for end users AND ensuring these environments are regularly checked to ensure compliance and accuracy? Check. All whilst having to make sure that the relevant operations teams receive the relevant information on time to prevent siloes from forming? Sigh… check. If only there was a way to make all this easier for engineers.
Like Centreon, we believe there is a solution - the integration of IT Infrastructure Monitoring with Network Assurance.
As outlined above, the work of a modern network engineer can often be a thankless and maddeningly difficult juggling act. There are simply too many network components that an engineer needs to keep an eye on.
Network monitoring solutions like Centreon aim to lighten the load on network engineers by continuously scanning the network to assess the performance of network resources, including hosts (any device with an IP address), and services (checkpoints and indicators on a host like CPU usage rate, temperature etc.)
After connecting with Centreon, the platform utilizes agentless SNMP (via API when connecting to cloud services) to:
By doing this, Centreon aims to improve how network teams can respond to issues, by giving them the means to proactively address them before they affect the wider network, both on-premises and in private and public cloud environments.
Network assurance is a perfect complement to network monitoring solutions and helps create more resilient networks, whilst also lightening the load on network engineers.
Whilst monitoring solutions aim at improving overall responsiveness, assurance focuses on the automated discovery, visualization and consolidation of network device and configuration inventories. These can be used to complement monitoring by providing the specific context that engineers need.
Here’s an example - An engineer receives an alert from their monitoring tool, and end-users begin complaining of network issues. With just a monitoring solution in place, the engineer will know that there’s an issue. But with assurance, they’ll be able to quantify the risk behind the issue and have network context needed to solve it faster.
Network Assurance by IP Fabric provides topological overviews (which can be viewed on specific OSI layers) of the network at points in time. Engineers can use this information to determine what the wider impact of the monitored issue will be, by examining data flow in the network and the relationship between specific devices, and therefore deduce what other hosts or services could be affected by said issue. Based on this, they can take the required action to prevent wider issues from occurring.
Here are a few more key scenarios which highlight how the integration of assurance and monitoring makes an engineer's life easier:
Need to add or remove devices from the network? IP Fabric instantly discovers these devices (regardless of vendor due to IP Fabric’s multi-vendor capabilities). This means that monitoring platforms remain up to date with the most recent network state and inventory, without having to update anything manually.
There’s a network audit coming up soon. Monitoring provides all of the information needed to improve network performance. But what if some of the devices are incorrectly configured, which could lead to a possible data security issue? With assurance, state data from devices is included in collected information, meaning that misconfigurations will be highlighted. Based on what is found, remedial action can be taken to address this, or standard configurations can be pushed to required devices to ensure compliance and reduce drift from the intended state.
Monitoring provides a comprehensive overview of complex network environments, whilst assurance provides a real-time view of the network, its activity, and potentially, any issues. This not only ensures that network managing team are proactively aware of potential issues and their impact, but it also ensures that monitoring and managing teams are seeing the same thing and can align on issues with ease.
Integrating the two platforms together is made easy by the Centreon IP Fabric connector. It only needs to be configured once, and it immediately opens the possibility to fully monitor the entirety of your network environments. Solutions Architect Sebastien D’Argoeuves explains how to connect the platforms here in more detail.
Monitoring and assurance are really just different sides of the same coin – they both care for network health. Possibly the best way to sum up the relationship between the two is that monitoring goes wide, whilst assurance goes deep.
In a modern networking landscape in which businesses are hyper-reliant on continuous connectivity (as Centreon puts it, there’s no separating IT performance from business performance), and where downtime can cost companies hundreds of thousands in revenue, reaching network nirvana is one step closer when network monitoring and network assurance solutions are integrated.
Want to see Network Assurance in action for yourself? You can try out our free self-guided demo here.
Prefer the personal touch? You can also reach out to request an obligation-free demo with a member of our team here.