While the concepts of networking are very simple trying to identify why a network is not behaving as you expect can be very frustrating. As can trying to document how the network has been configured.
Except for the simplest networks trying to diagram the entire netwok in one drawing usualy results in an uninteligiable mess. It is a big advantage if diagrams can be laired and linked.
The following list makes a resonable starting point when trying to decide what diagrams are wanted. Where VPN's are in use the question of wether to diagram the Virtual or the physical network or posibly both.
In addition to being able to create/maintain diagrams it is an advantage if a package can.
A package with the ability to produce traffic flow webs, showing requesters and servers. Greatly simplifies the process of identifying servers that have been located in the wrong place Or clients that are not configured to use the closest server!
This sort of record can be used either to estimate growth and future requierments or for detecting unusual events.
The sort of data requiered is available via SNMP/RMON from most routers and network switches. Note routers generaly report data received from a network segment and data transmited to a network segment.
Switches within a network often reord three values data transmited on a port, data receved on port, and data that was receved and forwarded.
An added bonus is if you can set alarm thresholds. based on calls per hour, or minutes uptime per hour or per day.
There are a number of programs or custom diagnosic instraments that can capture packets. These vary greatly in both there flexibility as to which packets they capture and in wether they can analys them to determin the application that created them an what is was doing.
Diagrams may be exported as HTML,GIF,JPG files for a web server or as PostScript files.
The data collected is madeavailable to other programs via an ODBC intreface.
It is very good at watching the traffic on devices such as switches with a fixed number of interfaces. However it is not so good at watching ISDN based routers such as the Bay Networks Nautica range where what you realy want to track is data/phone calls to a remote site not how much each ISDN interface was used!
Used for baseline monitoring it gives a very good picture of the traffic flow around the network, in a very easily distributed format.
Shiped as part of bos.net.tcp.server
Shiped as part of the Scotty ditribution
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