Dashboarding & Reporting versus Real Analytics
The volume of traffic related data on the network is too big. The mere multitude of applications and the data packets they contribute make it. Handling big data can be quite challenging and analyzing it can be even more.
It is at this point that a tool to monitor traffic in the network comes into play. The tool is ideally expected to help in enabling the Administrator get better visibility into the network.
It also has the primary role of providing useful insights about the network by means of generating reports concerning not just the current state of the network but also use the data to predict network behavior and things such as the effect of running new applications on the network.
This calls for an effective analytics engine that can handle such huge volumes with ease. The raw data needs to be collected for analysis purposes. There has to be a way to access the raw data for verification purposes and set the basis for forecasting future requirements.
When a tool is employed to monitor network, there are 3 primary functions it is expected to perform:
A dashboard in this context means a place where information is gathered from multiple sources and presented in a unified console. One look at it conveys different types of information pertaining to different parts of the network. Typically it provides information on top conversations, top talkers, top protocols etc. Apart from the information present by default, customizing it with easy-to-add widgets and create one’s own dashboard with those parameters one needs to monitor at-a-glance is quite a useful functionality.
Real time traffic reports help a great in way to understand the network better. The reports are an account of what is going on in the network within a given period of time. The granularity of the report determines the length of the time frame. This way one gets to know an exact account of what is happening on the network. This information comes handy while troubleshooting network incidents.
Analytics is the discovery of meaningful patterns in data. It communicates insights from data through intelligent analysis and these insights help the administrator for things such as resource planning. Features like Capacity planning reports to help provision enough bandwidth for future requirements or security analytics reports through network behavioral analysis to detect security vulnerabilities on the network are examples of real analytics that distinguish a dashboarding & reporting tool from an analytics tool.
This way big data is churned for useful information that empowers the IT administrator with the visibility that he needs to exercise effective control on the IT network.
This helps the IT administrator transform himself from being the confused, always tensed and being under constant pressure to a more insightful, efficient and above all, a bit cheerful.
In the forthcoming parts of this blog series, we will deal with real-time scenarios & incidents for each of the above-mentioned functions of an analytics tool.