Network monitoring is the art of analyzing an IT network’s status and performance for optimal reliability. The tools and techniques I use have evolved over time to best support today's vast ecosystems of modern hardware and virtualization technologies. Since the Internet’s inception, when the first Unix-based systems came together to form a network, there’s been a need to monitor networks. Tools and technologies have come a long way in the past 25 years that I've spent in this discipline.
Today's network monitoring tools gather massive amounts of data to help organizations better measure, diagnose, and optimize the quality of service and, ultimately, the user experience of their network. By assessing different types of network data (such as packet data, network flow data, metrics from network infrastructure devices, synthetic tests, and more), organizations get a clear picture of the reliability of the network—and what the experience is like for end-users.
The network landscape has also undergone dramatic change over the years. Monitoring has kept pace by continually evolving alongside these network advancements. Most notably, the size, scope, and complexity of networks have increased significantly, and it's now more important than ever for companies to ensure their networks run reliably. Let’s take a look at the technologies that make this possible today, which will only continue to add value in the future.