Network operations refer to activities carried out by internal network personnel or third parties on which companies and service providers rely on to monitor, manage and respond to alerts on the availability and performance of their network. Staff with primary responsibility for network operations are often referred to as network operations analysts or network operations engineers.
A Network Operations Center, often referred to as a NOC (pronounced "knock"), is typically a centralized location where network operations staff provide 24/7 surveillance, monitoring, and management, 7 days a week, 365 days a week. day, 365 days a year This infrastructure environment can be located on the site and / or with a cloud provider.
Some key activities in the functioning of the network are:
- Network monitoring
- Accident response
- Communication management (e-mail, voice and video)
- Performance, quality and optimization reports
- Software/firmware installation, troubleshooting, and updating of network elements
- Patch management
- Backup and archiving
- Firewall management
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS) and other tools and implementation and monitoring of security tools, in collaboration with Security Operations
- Threat analysis and explosion beam analysis in collaboration with security operations
Challenges Facing Network Operations
Due to the complexity of today's NOC Services, especially in light of the adoption of cloud-based infrastructure and SaaS applications, network operations personnel face many challenges not only related to a deep understanding of the technology itself, but maintains simplified access to communications between all parties involved.
Here are some of the main challenges related to the functioning of the network:
- Lack of collaboration / coordination between the teams
- The rapid pace of change in the cloud and the orchestration of dynamic resources means that the documentation is not generally updated to solve problems
- Troubleshooting takes time as it often correlates data between multiple devices and toolsets and requires manual processes to achieve reliable diagnoses
- Many different tools from different vendors used may require staff to work with different technologies, low-level utilities and command-line interfaces (CLI)
- Problems arise and then disappear when all the information is needed for troubleshooting
- Climbing leaders is often necessary to evaluate the root causes
Network Operation best Practices
Well-managed network management teams adopt a variety of proven best practices. These include, but are not limited to:
- Continuously monitor a wide range of information and network systems including communication circuits, cloud resources, LAN / WAN systems, routers, switches, firewalls, and VoIP systems and application delivery.
- Provide a rapid response to all accidents, failures and performance problems.
- Classification of problems to be passed on to appropriate technical teams.
- Recognize, identify and prioritize incidents in accordance with customers' corporate requirements, organizational policies and operational impact.
- Collect and review performance reports for various systems and communicate performance trends to senior technical staff to help them predict future problems or outages.
- Document all actions in accordance with standard corporate policies and procedures.
- Notify customers and third-party service providers of problems, outages and repair status.
- Collaborate with internal and external technical and service teams to create and/or update knowledge base articles.
- Perform basic tests of systems and operating activities (installation of patches, network connectivity tests, execution of scripts, etc.).
- Support for several technical teams in 24/7 operating environments with high availability requirements. Various shift times can include daytime or evening hours.
In this list of best practices, the staff is more likely to focus on network performance today than application availability. But application availability and performance are essential to achieve the business objectives of companies and service providers. Moving applications to the cloud will be the main driver of network operations, spending more time on application availability and performance in the future. More specifically, network operations teams will need to ensure that internal and external networks and services do not prevent application availability, but rather speed up their delivery.
Network Intelligence technology faces many challenges associated with pursuing the best network operational practices. To ensure optimal network and application performance, network operations teams need detailed and accurate visibility of the network path, as well as routing and application layer data.