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Tips for Supporting Your Clients Network

Does supporting your client networks wreak havoc on your day-to-day productivity? If so, then this is the article for you. Managing client networks can be tricky. A picture-perfect set-up would be if each network device you managed came from the same manufacturer. But an experienced MSP knows better.

Did you know that 75% of MSPs manage at least four or more network devices from various manufacturers?

Well, now you do. Some MSPs have even reported up to twenty vendors for one client’s network.  How crazy is that?

To reiterate, managing various networks is a standard process for most MSPs, but just because it’s standard doesn’t mean it’s less complicated.

Managing client networks requires the understanding of managing diverse OS systems, various languages, and a whole LOT more. Even though standardization is preferred, it is not practicable for all scenarios.

Because we’re in the network business, we decided to offer a few tips for supporting your clients’ network. Hopefully, you find them helpful!

Tips for Supporting Your Clients Network

Out-Of-Band Management

Establishing a connection to a device via a substitute connection similar to a serial interface without utilizing the production network is out-of-band management. It can be used to access network devices when your product network is inaccessible. Switches, routers, firewalls, and other network elements can usually be configured via serial connections to the device. It offers command line control on the device in the absence of network interfaces.

IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interfaces)

When the primary metal server is not accessible, and the server’s OS gets corrupted and stops booting, remote connection to the machine cannot be established through SSH or RDP, which means inability to restore the backup or reinstalled OS remotely. The server can be managed out-of-band through IPMI. It serves as an IP switch and remotely creates a mouse, keyboard and video access to the server over the network. IPMI allows rebooting the server or repairing or reinstalling OS in situations where OS is corrupted and serve is inaccessible.

Console Servers

Console servers offer several serial ports, which can be linked to the serial console ports of different network elements. When the internet connection is down, they allow administering network devices over its 3G or LTE networks remotely. Even though the client would not have internet access until the repair has been done at the ISP end, you will be capable of making local infrastructure accessible. Because IPMI makes use of network interface controllers (NICs) for access, IPMI devices would also be inaccessible when the network is not available. The good news is that console servers are equipped with several NICs that allows server IPMIs to link directly to the console server. This further allows remote access to IPMI equipped server through the console server even when there is no internet connectivity.

Need help with managing your client’s networks? No problem.

Partnering with the best in business vendors, MSPs, and VARs, we offer an array of managed network services through our partner program. Whether you want to use us directly or share the customer service side of things, we are flexible. Check out our partner program to learn more!

Cloud Application Management: 7 Useful Tools

Cloud application management is likely to become more challenging for cloud businesses in the upcoming months and years. Despite the various issues associated with cloud management, businesses – big or small, are adopting cloud-based systems at an enormous rate. Cloud applications have made life easier and given the real-time phenomenon that fosters enhanced collaboration and the work-from-anywhere model. Though end-user accessibility may be simple, monitoring cloud applications from an IT perspective is still complex. Below, we explain those complexities and what makes each of them a daunting task.  

Silo Management Anyone? 

Given the divided control onto the cloud services, it has become quite challenging for IT staff in any business to manage the cloud in its entirety. In addition to the cloud management systems that are set to deploy in silos, the various management tools in the market make it even more appalling to handle. Cloud management tools from renowned vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and HP are flooding the market, but are usually specific to particular hardware. Similar to a mousetrap, you can’t buy one without adapting to the other. However, workload in case of the cloud applications is not tied to a specific device, which makes deployment of such management tools a complicated and tedious process.   

The complexity of Public Cloud  

Moreover, public cloud vendors have provided a range of their management tools and options, to manage the services extended through their cloud. The limitation here is that these tools are usually specific to a platform, making cloud application system management more complicated. Tools specific to cloud management are also on the rise, making overall management manifold and expensive at the same time.  The notion of cloud managed services being a cheap alternative has remained a myth to date, especially when it comes to cloud application management.   

Keeping Up With Change 

Cloud application management can be worked out if businesses learn to embrace this increasing commotion in the industry. If a company deals with multiple cloud applications, the first step to accepting the change will be identifying each application and its respective management requirements and tools. Once your MSP or IT department investigates their requirements, your staff has to make sure that the business opts for these variable tools. It is crucial for companies to keep up with emerging management tools in the market and work with these to take control of cloud management.  

Despite these three difficult hurdles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Based on current cloud monitoring tools, we’ve compiled a list of useful management products that can come in handy. Some are full-stack enterprise solutions whereas others are specialized tools for companies of all sizes.  

To help isolate your needs, we tagged them for easy identification by the following keywords: 

  1. Enterprise 
  1. SMB (Small/Medium Size Business) 
  1. APM (Application Performance Monitoring) 
  1. SaaS (Monitoring tools like Office365 and Salesforce) 
  1. Infrastructure (Cloud, Virtual, and Physical) 
  1. Network 
  1. Platform 
  1. Microservices 
  1. Security 
  1. Microsoft (Specialized) 
  1. Google (Specialized) 
  1. Amazon (Specialized) 

Cloud Monitoring Tools 

  • Microsoft Cloud Monitoring  Using Azure to run your web apps? Microsoft may be the right solution for you. Microsoft provides an in-depth snapshot of your web application performance by providing log analysis, application monitoring, and security alerts. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, Security, and Microsoft. 

  • CA Technologies  – CA Tech offers an enterprise-level, full-stack monitoring, and management solution for businesses with public, private, or hybrid clouds. Making it an easy one-stop-shop for administrators. Their tools can help you do everything from monitor user experiences on your web app, to securing and scaling your operations. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  1. VMware Hyperic – This management system monitors your infrastructure; both the physical and virtual forms, as well as provides monitoring for your OS, middleware, and web apps. The dashboard and reporting features maintain SLA-compliance levels and send alerts when they are close to being breached. Additionally, Dell, one of the leading server virtualization companies in VMware, owns it. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, Infrastructure, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  • AppNeta  – Earned the spotlight as the highest rated Network Performance Monitoring tool by Gartner, in 2017.  This savvy resource not only works across all cloud platforms, it also gives you insight into resource usage, app delivery, and user experience.  

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, and Network. 

  • Amazon CloudWatch – If you’re on AWS then Amazon CloudWatch is your best option. Their management system gives you the ability to monitor application metrics, log files, and quickly react to changes in your AWS resources. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, Security, and Amazon 

  • Redgate  – If your teams use SQL Server, .NET, or Azure then this may be the right monitoring tool for you. Redgate’s specialty focuses on developing better apps. From SQL Monitor to .NET Profilers, to their Azure migration services, they are a one-stop shop for Microsoft stacks. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, and Microsoft. 

  • Stackdriver  – Native to Google Cloud products, Stackdriver provides monitoring, logging, and logistics for apps on both Google Cloud and AWS. Its full-stack provisioning insights allow you aggregate all data across cloud platforms. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Platform, Security, Google, and Amazon. 

 

If companies are looking to enhance their cloud application management capabilities, it is mandatory that they embrace any and all changes being introduced in the market and develop disciplined management tools for their multiple cloud applications.  Given the 7 choices to select from above, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

For additional help with managing your systems check out our Managed Network Service options.