IT Trenches

Sep 19 2008   1:16PM GMT

Crunching numbers – is this any way to manage a network?

Troy Tate Profile: Troy Tate

I just got done catching up crunching wide area network usage statistics for the last 6 months. Wow… what a job! I should be doing it at the end of each month but I got behind due to other major activities like moving a data center and implementing a new e-mail system for >2000 users. Those kind of major activities seem to take over the day so routine items sometimes get left behind.

Getting back to the WAN statistics. I download usage stats daily. The stats are in 10 minute increments. So, I get really good detailed information about utilization at the sites. Well, 10 minute stats over a 24 hour period is about 144 data points per day per site (actually, multiply X2 since there are stats for inbound AND outbound usage). Since this is such a large volume of data, I distill it down to the busy business hours of 7AM to 7PM local site time, Monday through Friday. For a regular month, this may give me around 1600 data points each for inbound and outbound. I also have to do some work in converting the dates/times from the vendor reports to Excel-friendly format.

I take these data points and run them through Excel performing some frequency plots and trend analysis. This gives me an idea of utilization at the site during the past month and possible trends for the future month. As you can see, this is a labor-intensive activity. I don’t know of another way of  getting this information given the current toolset I have available. Do any of you have a similar challenge? How do you address it? I do think the task is worth the effort since a global WAN is a significant monthly expense.

As always, thanks for checking out my blog. Let’s be good network citizens together & practice safe networking!

4  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Peterp
    Is there a reason you aren't using MRTG, Cacti or any one of the many other tools available to do this?
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  • Labnuke99
    The router management is outsourced. Thanks for the comment.
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  • Labnuke99
    Another thing to note is that the data I graph is from SNMP stats collected by the outsourced organization.
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  • Labnuke99
    Actually the MRTG reports have less detail than what I generate with Excel. For example: Number samples: 1775 Min - IN: 23 Min - OUT: 6 Mean - IN: 218 Median - IN: 83 Mean - OUT: 436 Median - OUT: 135 St Dev - IN: 321 Max - IN:1826 St Dev - OUT: 528 Max - OUT: 2833 INBOUND: 91% of the business day is spent at
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