Network monitoring tools allow organizations to have baseline and visibility of the network performance on hardware and software infrastructure. With a baseline of nominal operations, IT is positioned to recognize and respond to conditions that can negatively impact network performance and threaten the user and quality of experience.
"The elusive goal of network monitoring tools is not only to alert administrators when there is trouble on the network but to develop trends in the health of the network and ease the burden of [service-level agreement] reporting," Michael Brandenburg (TechTarget technical editor).
The ideal network performance monitoring tools are scalable and robust enough to accommodate an end-to-end perspective across the enterprise. Network performance monitoring tools also must possess depth, with the capability to span all seven layers of the network stack. Without both dimensions, IT is severely restricted in its efforts to identify the location of the problem, and to pinpoint if the root cause of the problem lies in an application, a system/server, or in a core network element such as a router or switch.