The other day, a colleague showed me a Tech Target article called: Shattering the ‘single pane of glass’ myth of network management. The subheading states: “Vendors claim that their network management systems can do it all, but in a world of virtualization and cloud, is that still true?”
I won’t argue about whether there actually is a vendor who claims to do everything in one product. What really interested me was the “case study” network used in this article, a hospital located in Connecticut. How could they use Entuity to improve and simplify their network monitoring?
Let’s start with some background. The hospital’s environment encompasses a major hospital (which also houses a data center), two emergency departments, about 30 off-site locations, and an off-site disaster recovery facility that also hosts some of their applications. They monitor an estimated 500 devices, including switches, routers, and other infrastructure.
They use Extrahop for packet capture, WhatsUp Gold for up/down status, and Google Docs for inventory. They also seem to be using Splunk as their events manager, and possibly for flow and performance to some extent. They may be sending all events to Splunk, then data mining it from there and this would give them a higher level view of event information. But I suspect they have to swap from Splunk to Extrahop or WhatsUp Gold when they want the actual data, leading to swivel chair syndrome as they swap between screens.
So how could Entuity make things better? First, if they wanted to keep using Splunk, Entuity’s sophisticated root cause, would reduce the amount of noise going to it to begin with. Without good root cause, for example, an outage on a core device could affect many devices. Each would be reported as down, and all associated events would be fed to Splunk. Entuity in contrast would send only one network outage event that would identify the actual root cause as well as what’s being impacted.
The hospital’s current tool set also seems to be missing things like topology, reporting, and capacity planning. Entuity includes all of these (and more), plus an advanced event management system, with predefined rules and web customization. Entuity also continually scans the network so that inventory is always up to date with a detailed account of all network assets and the dependencies between physical and virtual devices, servers and applications. Finally, Entuity could use Extrahop to target critical link packet capture, presenting that data in the UI and reports alongside elemental, events and all other data being monitored.
And so, while there’s no single solution that can do everything, Entuity could be used to help the hospital reduce the number of tools in use, improve visibility and help automate common tasks that they now have to do manually, such as their inventory documentation.