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The functions of network management specify the processes and procedures used to effectively monitor and control a computer network in order to keep it optimized for efficient usage. Data is central to carrying out these functions in a manner that results in a reliable network. Categorizing network management functions begins with the division of the main areas of management and then groups relevant functions aligned with each category. There are four main categorical divisions of network management functions: operations, maintenance, provisioning and administration. Specified functions include network planning, access control, resource allocation, coordination of network resources, network monitoring, analytics, security, optimization, and management of related accounting functions.
Data is crucial to the functions of network management, because reliable data informs the functions required to efficiently configure, optimize, secure, monitor and control the network. Collection of data is thus a crucial part of each division of network management. Techniques and tools used to collect required data include installing agents throughout the network that can be monitored, simulation of various actions that commonly occur on the network to gauge network response, analyzing activity logs, and even monitoring users interacting with the network. Information collected from these activities is then used to plan and implement activities associated with each major division of network management and its specific functions.
Operations focus on the keeping the network operating efficiently at all times. For the most part, this entails monitoring the network and analyzing its data for clues to potential problems. Objectively, functions of network management under the purview of operations seek to recognize an issue or threat before it poses a risk to the network and/or end users, while responding with appropriate measures. On the other hand, administration engages in functions of network management that accounts for all networks resources, allocating them and making sure those resources are used efficiently throughout the network. Primarily, administration is focused on keeping the network under control.
Provisioning is concerned with the relevant functions of network management that configure the network for proper and effective usage. For example, a provisioning takes might include adding a new capability to the network or setting up a network service for a new customer. Maintenance comes into the picture at various intervals to perform functions that service the network or to fix issues uncovered with network equipment. Such functions not only include repairs, but will also consist of upgrades and adding equipment to the network when required.
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