Network management and troubleshooting

Networks administrators guide to management and troubleshooting.

It is the network administrator's responsibility to make sure the network is working properly and efficiently. You'll also provide maintenance and support for your end-users equipment, regardless if it's on site or remote.

Golden rules of network administration

  1. If it isn't broke, don't mess with it!
  2. When in doubt -- reboot.
  3. Never, ever change anything late in the day.
  4. Never, ever change anything on Friday.
  5. Always be able to undo what you are about to do.
  6. If you don't understand it, don't mess with it on a production system. Use test systems for experimenting.
  7. Dedicate a system disk devoted only to the system software. Put applications on other drives.
  8. A project us not done until it's tested by you and by end-users.
  9. A project is not done until it's documented.
  10. All projects take twice as long as you plan.
  11. Use default settings whenever possible.
  12. Do not roll out new software without training end users. Roll out an employee's new application immediately after they have received training to reinforce what they have learned.
  13. If you're fighting fires all the time, find the source.
  14. Avoid poor decisions from above.
  15. Backup, backup, backup.

The task of maintaining an operational network delivering predictable, reliable services to meet enterprise needs has always been and remains the day-to-day task of legions of network management and operations professionals. The task becomes more difficult and more critical to business success as a result of escalating demands for better performance, increased reliability and dynamic adaptability. These demands result from a proliferation of more complex, more distributed, and more dynamic business services. To meet customer demands, services are exhibiting a growing addiction to network-based solutions (e.g.,VoIP) and an emerging interest in sophisticated, bandwidth-intensive applications such as IP Multimedia Services.

Learn how to provide better network management in this tip by Richard L. Ptak.

Learn how to make performance management relevant in this tip by Richard L. Ptak.

Desktop management

Network administrators task list

Task 1: Design, install and evaluate network

Task 2: Perform and manage regular backups 

Task 3: Provide technical documentation and perform audits 

Task 4: Manage and troubleshoot network

Task 5: Security management and virus prevention  

Desktop management is one of the big headaches of the IT world. Systems administrators face a number of challenges in controlling the corporate desktop. Tracking an entire company's PCs, which can range into the thousands, isn't an easy task. Making sure every employee has a functional desktop and coordinating rollouts of software updates and operating system migrations across those PCs is no picnic either.

But following some common-sense principles can make desktop management easier for all parties involved. Here are 10 suggestions you may want to institute these tried-and-true methods of keeping desktop management under control.

It could happen to you. Your PCs could be infested with spyware or adware. The key is to know where to look and what to record as spyware digs through your hard disk, memory and Windows registry. By following a regular process you can keep spyware at bay. This checklist will help you detect and remove spyware.

There are "tools-a-plenty" to assist administrators with identifying when a network is down and several approaches to react to the alarms. But what method is best? The short answer is, none of them. No single method works in every situation. This article will help explain some of the methodologies used in troubleshooting and where they may fall short as a permanent fix.

There are basically two approaches to troubleshooting, top down and bottom up. Read more about both approaches in these tips by Carrie Higbie:

  • Troubleshooting from the top down
  • Troubleshooting from the bottom up

More resources for managing and troubleshooting your network

  • Shooting Trouble - chapter 1 of 'CCNP Practical Studies
    This chapter download presents an introduction to troubleshooting; a review of standards, protocols and industry models; and practical troubleshooting, including baselining and documentation techniques.

  • Need to put a hard day in analyzing your network? Read Laura Chappell's network troubleshooting truths -- you'll be able to relate!

  • Troubleshooting your network
    In this Q&A, our expert, Lindi Horton, helps with troubleshooting a network that has problems staying up in the evening.

  • Here's a handy script for troubleshooting " my network connection is slow "" reports.

Just for fun:
Here's a humorous survival guide for network administrators.

This was last published in March 2005

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