Gartner Research

Network Management Instrumentation

Published: 04 April 2007

ID: G00203312

Analyst(s): Eric Siegel


Effective network management depends on instrumentation in the network to measure workload and performance, detect problems, and assist in problem diagnosis. In many cases, the network organization is also asked to assist in application instrumentation. This Technical Position, completely rewritten and reissued by Senior Analyst Eric Siegel, describes the relevant measurement collection technologies along with recommended design choices.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point

Typical Requirements

  • Performance Monitoring
  • Workload Measurement
  • Incident and Problem Management


  • Management Data
    • Active and Passive Measurement
    • Measurement Relevance and Accuracy
    • Obtaining Measurements
    • Metrics, State, and Diagnostic Management Data
  • Instrumentation Interfaces and Transport
    • SNMP and the MIB
    • Command Line Interface
    • NetFlow and IPFIX
    • XML-Based Management Protocols and Formats

Future Developments

Evaluation Criteria

Statement & Basis for Position

  • Network Site Flow and Performance Instrumentation Position
    • Use detailed flow metrics.
    • Use coarse total traffic volume metrics.
    • Workload and performance instrumentation is not necessary.
  • External Network Performance Instrumentation Position
    • The network organization must provide instrumentation to evaluate performance of paths across external network facilities.
  • Ancillary Service Performance Instrumentation Position
    • Ancillary services must be instrumented to detect and manage poor performance.
  • Real-Time Voice and Video Performance Instrumentation Position
    • The network must be instrumented at appropriate points to gather the real-time voice or video quality data and the underlying network performance data.
  • Web Performance Instrumentation Position
    • The enterprise must provide specialized instrumentation or acquire instrumentation services to evaluate performance as seen by website or web services users.
  • Element Instrumentation Position
    • All elements in a network must be instrumented, preferably with SNMP Versions 2 or 3, XML management flows (if available), and either NetFlow or IPFIX if needed for data flow information.
  • Diagnostic Instrumentation Position
    • The network organization must provide instrumentation for performing incident triage and problem diagnosis in the network and must also provide network taps for use by diagnostic equipment at instrumentation locations.

Relationship to Other Components

Revision History

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