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On the Job with a Network Manager

Chapter Description

Alexander Clemm presents a number of scenarios to give an impression of the types of activities that are performed by people who run networks for a living. He also provides an overview of some of the tools network managers have at their disposal to help them do their jobs.

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Network Management Fundamentals

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, we took a look at a few scenarios that illustrate how networks are being managed in practice and the variety of tasks that are involved. We followed three fictitious network operators and administrators: Pat in the Network Operations Center of a large service provider, Chris in the IT department of a medium-size business, and Sandy in the Internet Data Center of a large enterprise. The three scenarios represented operational support environments that differ greatly, as do the daily routines of the persons involved.

The service provider scenario emphasized workflows, processes, and interactions. In fact, in service provider environments, a significant part of the management infrastructure is dedicated to managing those organizational aspects, not just the technologies deployed in the networks themselves. The medium-size enterprise scenario was characterized by a great variety of tasks that had to be performed by the individual and a greater reliance on the individual expertise and intuition of the operator. The Internet Data Center scenario, finally, was geared at a different part of the network's life cycle, the planning phase. Also, it showed how the boundary between managing a network and managing the devices, servers, and applications that are connected to the network can become blurry.

The scenarios are representative of some of the environments in which management technology is ultimately applied. The scenarios also illustrate that network management is not just a topic of management technology; there are other significant factors in the equation, such as organizational aspects and human factors.

In each case, the personnel were supported by a variety of tools. In the end, management technology is tasked with building such tools, which are supposed to facilitate to the greatest extent possible the task of running a network. A wide variety of different tools exist for a great variety of purposes, so it comes as no surprise that running the largest, most complex networks can involve literally hundreds of management systems and applications. Of course, many scenarios are much simpler; it all depends on the particular context.

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