Network management is the process of administering and managing computer networks. Services provided by this discipline include fault analysis, performance management, provisioning of networks and maintaining quality of service.

According to Micro Focus, the overarching role of network management is ensuring network resources are made available to users efficiently, effectively and quickly. It leverages fault analysis and performance management to optimize network health.

Network management provides several important benefits to companies and their users. It is important so organizations can have some degree of insight and control of the network that delivers applications and services. Here are some of these benefits, as listed by Tech Target:

  1. Network Visibility

    Among the primary benefits of network management is that it provides visibility into the network. Having the ability to monitor a network is a foundational component of good IT best practices.

  2. Downtime Detection

    The ability to detect if part or the whole network is down is another key benefit of network management. Downtime is a business-critical event for organizations and being able to quickly detect and remedy network downtime is of utmost importance.

  3. Performance Optimization

    A slow network can also have a significant effect on an organization. The ability to identify and optimize network performance is another benefit of network management technology and its tools.

Investing in a network management system comes with numerous business benefits. As per Tech Vera, it increases the overall workplace performance by mitigating outages and increasing network security.

But network management isn’t always an easy task. As listed by Tech Target, there are some challenges that face network administrators:

  1. Ephemeral IP Addresses

    Identifying network devices and users was traditionally done via an IP address. With virtualized and container-based applications, the use of ephemeral or elastic IP addresses can represent a challenge for identifying users, applications and services.

  2. Multi-site Network Administration

    Larger networks that span multiple physical and virtual deployments can be complex to manage.

  3. Cloud and Hybrid Deployments

    Modern organizations typically use a mix of on-premises and cloud services. Having visibility and control over both types of networks in a unified approach can be a challenge.

Having mentioned the benefits and the challenges, the question now is – what does network management involve? Here’s the list as provided by Extreme Networks:

  1. Network Administration

    Network administration encompasses tracking network resources including switches, routers and servers. It also includes performance monitoring and software updates.

  2. Network Operation

    Network operation is focused on making sure the network functions well. Network operation tasks include monitoring of activities on the network, as well as proactively identifying and remediating issues.

  3. Network Maintenance

    Network maintenance covers upgrades and fixes to network resources. It also consists of proactive and remediation activities executed by working with network administrators, such as replacing network gear like routers and switches.

  4. Network Provisioning

    Network provisioning involves network resource configuration for the purposes of supporting any given service, like voice functions or accommodating additional users.

According to Micro Focus, your network is the core to your IT infrastructure. Managing this network is crucial toward ensuring your business runs smoothly. While the principles remain largely the same, the practice of data network management is constantly evolving in tandem with technology changes.

To get network management right, you need to deploy the right tools. It can give you the visibility required to keep the network sound and the integrated automation you need to manage costs and reduce response times to known issues to keep your organization’s operations thriving.