The Internet of Things will Drive Network Management Evolution

Jul 26, 2017 3:34:24 PM

EMA research has determined that network managers will need to upgrade, expand, and adapt their network monitoring and management tools and practices if they are going to support the Internet of Things (IoT).

EMA recently surveyed 100 IT professionals who are (a) directly involved in enterprise networks and (b) supporting their organizations’ IoT initiatives. We published the results in our research report, “The Internet of Things and Enterprise Networks: Planning, Engineering and Operational Strategies.”

The research found that network monitoring tools and practices are challenged by IoT. First of all, 52% reported that IoT had introduced or worsened blindspots in their network monitoring and service assurance architecture. Additionally, EMA asked research participants to identify their top IoT network monitoring challenges. Scalability (26%) was the most cited problem. IoT simply adds too many devices to the network. Rogue device detection (23%) is also a struggle for these organizations. Many are also struggling with insufficient monitoring granularity (22%) and high rates of change (21%).

So how do network teams adapt their monitoring tools to address IoT? The four most common actions the network teams take, according to our research:

  • Upgrade the data processing capacity of network monitoring tools (45%). This addresses the scalability issue.
  • Upgrade monitoring tool licenses to account for more monitored devices and objects (33%)
  • Install network visibility controllers (AKA network packet brokers) to aggregate monitoring data (29%)
  • Increase monitoring granularity (e.g. shorter polling intervals) 28%)

IoT devices present another challenge to network operations, because network teams often take ownership of certain elements of the IoT device lifecycle. More than half (51%) of network professionals take a leading role in IoT device deployment, and 64% lead the implementation of IoT device security policy and access controls. Furthermore, 57% play a supporting role in troubleshooting IoT devices. For this reason, network teams need to evolve their tools. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of network managers are extending their tools to monitor and manage IoT devices.

Many network managers will find that their tools do not natively support IoT devices. They will have to modify the tools themselves or ask their vendors to customize the tools. If your enterprise is launching one or more IoT initiatives, it’s time to evaluate how your current tools and practices will support IoT. 

Shamus McGillicuddy

Written by Shamus McGillicuddy

Shamus is the research director for EMA's network management practice. He has more than twelve years of experience in the IT industry as an analyst and journalist. Prior to joining EMA, Shamus was the news director for TechTarget's networking publications. He led the news team's coverage of all networking topics, from the infrastructure layer to the management layer. He has published hundreds of articles about network technology, and he was a founding editor of TechTarget's website SearchSDN.com, a leading resource for technical information and news on the software-defined networking industry.

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