When speaking to potential intelligent infrastructure management customers, I frequently ask what tools they currently use to document and manage their network.
Most customers use a static software tool (i.e., no real time updates) and complain that their database is only about 80% accurate. This causes a variety of issues that makes managing their network more difficult.
Here are the top 5 complaints I hear from customers:
1. Time spent manually updating database.
Patching changes need to be entered into the database manually (either one at a time or via bulk import). This manual entry is prone to error.
2. Time/cost spent doing network audits to improve database accuracy.
Most customers will conduct annual or quarterly audits to improve the accuracy of the database. Frequently these costly audits require toning out cables to see where they go and must be done after hours to minimize network downtime.
3. Additional time required to troubleshoot network issues.
When a network issue occurs, additional time may be required to find a circuit before any diagnostics can be done.
4. Inefficient use of existing LAN equipment.
A frequent customer complaint is that patch cords are connected to switches but they don’t know what they connect to. Customers are often afraid to disconnect these cords for fear that they could be impacting a circuit that may require a connection at some time in the future. Typically this condition impacts 2-3% of switch ports, which are using power/generating heat but will never be put into service.
5. Inability to rely on accuracy of management reports to make IT decisions.
Most network management/database software tools have reporting capabilities designed to help network managers maximize use of existing LAN and cabling infrastructure. However, if the data isn’t accurate, the reports can’t be relied on to make critical business decisions.