Review of SolarWinds Network Monitoring for Dummies

Review of Network Monitoring for DummiesSolarWinds Network Monitor for Dummies

Here is a Free book by Leon Adato, Kong Yang, and Brad Hale.

The book is designed to help you tackle real-life network problems. The SolarWinds team will guide you through solving common computer failures, and identifying by network bottlenecks.

Its target audience is people who are IT savvy, but have no real experience of using network monitoring software to tackle their under-performing computer systems.

SolarWinds' structured approach will explain:

  • Why you need to monitor.
  • What tools are available.
  • How to apply best practice.

As you read Network Monitoring for Dummies, you will learn strategies for discovering what's wrong on your network.  It will explain how to select the most appropriate performance counters to detect bottlenecks.  The book follows through with showing you how to create automatic alerts, and is full of handy hints for adjusting your system to run more efficiently.

Network Monitoring for Dummies covers a wide range of technologies from PING to Syslog; a key take-away will be a list of best practices for your IT department.

The more you sweat in practice
The less you bleed in battle.   Anon

Monitoring in Action

The book will explain the key concept of continuous monitoring, coupled with providing notifications to an administrator – that would be you!

Windows built-in Performance Monitor (PerfMon) has a large selection of counters, some of which are dedicated to error detection, e.g. packet errors, while others provide performance statistics e.g. queue length. 

See how to use monitoring to check if all your key network devices are reachable.  Research unwanted network events, and take corrective action.  Make a baseline of counters such as response time and bandwidth utilization.  Don't worry, none of this data recording effects the functioning of the network.

When Problems Occur – DART

Here is a simple acronym, delivering powerful troubleshooting advice:

  • Discover – Find out what's occurring.
  • Alert – Know when something on the network is broken.
  • Remediate – Learn how to get the system back up and running.
  • Troubleshoot – Delve down until you find the true root cause.

SolarWinds Network Monitor for Dummies

Practical Advice

Decide whether to wait for devices to send you information, or whether to proactively seek data by polling.  The key concept of monitoring is the threshold.  Once you have identified the key counters, decide the level where you need to take remedial action.  Next take time to consider the best response once a threshold has been breached.

Best Practices for Your Network Monitoring

  • Create an up-to-date network inventory.  I bet you find unexpected hardware somewhere!
  • Check for Alert Flapping.  For example, if a threshold is set too low, then that system keeps stopping due to overload, yet the alert is programmed to re-start automatically.
  • Know your system's Parent – Child dependencies.  Servers (children) become unavailable, due to router (parent) mis-configuration.
  • Event Correlation.  Don't go around solving the same issue multiple times; instead, concentrate on detecting the problem source.
  • Set up monitoring from the Application's perspective.  Test the system from the user's point-of-view.
  • Escalation.  As part of documenting your procedures, identify people to contact in the event of an outage.

Summary: SolarWinds Network Monitoring for Dummies

This free ebook is clearly written.  Follow its advice and you will become a better hands-on network manager.  Refer to its advice when you need to troubleshoot a computer problem.

Get your free copy of Network Monitoring for Dummies.

See Also: SolarWinds Server Health Monitor

Server Health Monitor is another free tool from SolarWinds.  It is a chopped-down version of NPT, which shows you the performance of server components such as power supply, temperature, battery and fan speed.  See more on Server Health Monitor

Additional Free and Trial SolarWinds Network Software

Here are nifty gadgets which I have enjoyed testing on my network.  Some are completely free, while other downloads are trial versions of the full product.  I think SolarWinds have a great strategy, namely, supplying a free utility, yet providing a big-brother suite of programs for larger organizations.

Mobile IT Admin App  • SolarWinds PerfStack  • Network Monitor for Dummies  • Home

Permissions Analyzer  • Review Alert Central   • Free NetFlow Analyzer   • SolarWinds Firewall Browser

Server Health Monitor   • SolarWinds Web Help Desk   • Wireshark Response Time Viewer  • GNS3