Network Management

One step up the food chain is the network management team. They are tasked with making sure the network is up and running, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means providing on-demand bandwidth.

The network support team also has to contend with multiple points of failure. The network design may be perfect, but if a router goes out, life turns ugly, quickly. To make matters worse, it doesn't even have to be your router. Suppose the router belongs to your ISP? If that is the link to your gateway to the outside world, your customers will not care that it was not under your direct control—they just want access. It is now up to you to make sure your ISP's equipment is protected, and that there is some semblance of fault tolerance.

Network management involves two sometimes-conflicting goals. The first is to move as many bits as possible, while maintaining excellent uptime, availability, and security. Second, you must spend the least amount possible on plant costs, maintenance, and support. Even more than data center or desktop management, network management depends on simultaneously monitoring the health of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of network devices. Ideally, tools will predict problems, automatically flag them when they occur, and escalate warning notices if necessary.

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