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Compare network management vs. network monitoring

Network management and monitoring relate to NetOps. Network management helps NetOps teams maintain network performance, while network monitoring is a subset of network management.

Network operations staff work to maintain the health and operational performance of a network infrastructure. NetOps teams rely on several tools that assist with management and maintenance tasks.

Network management and network monitoring tools are two major segments of NetOps that provide different benefits yet overlap when it comes to capabilities and use cases.

What is network management?

Network management is an umbrella term that includes all tools that help NetOps staff maintain a healthy and high-performing network. Network management tools help NetOps staff by performing the following tasks:

  • Provision or deprovision new network devices.
  • Automate configuration changes.
  • Facilitate maintenance tasks, such as OS or firmware upgrades and backups.
  • Collect and analyze network log and telemetry data.
  • Troubleshoot network performance and security issues.
  • Monitor and visualize network components and traffic flows.
Image showing a list of 11 network management tasks.
NetOps teams typically perform these network management tasks.

What is network monitoring?

Network monitoring, similar to network observability, is a subset of network management that focuses on providing a way to visualize the health and performance of a network. Network monitoring tools often centralize this information in a single dashboard that NetOps teams use to identify and remediate network health and performance issues more efficiently.

Network monitoring tools collect data from network equipment, such as routers, switches and load balancers. Network professionals use the information collected to create a visual representation of the network.

By using network monitoring tools, NetOps teams can identify some key details, including the following:

  • Device and link operational status.
  • Throughput rates over time.
  • Packet flow statistics.

NetOps teams can also configure monitoring tools to alert them when the network surpasses a performance threshold and requires investigation.

Network management vs. network monitoring

Network management covers a wide range of tools and practices that help NetOps teams keep their network healthy and running optimally. Network monitoring is one aspect of network management that provides NetOps teams with a real-time and historical view of network health. Network monitoring provides teams with performance indicators that teams can track over time.

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