As a network engineer it is very important to keep the network available for users at all times. “A highly available network means that the network and the applications that are used on it are both operational and accessible at all times” (CiscoPress 2008 p. 124).
Working as a network engineer I am always on call because there is someone always using the network. “An always on facility is needed to maintain the business-critical apps” (Volonino 2011).
The network is monitored 24 hours 7 days a week even if no one is scheduled to be in the office we still have to monitor the network to make sure there are not outages are hiccups along the way. If there is a network outage are any bandwidth issues that come up, I need to be able to run diagnostics and be able to manage the switches and routers as needed 24 hours 7 days a week just in case, and if something does happen I need to be able to find out what is causing this issue before it becomes a major problem.
We also have to monitor all of our network equipment to make sure there is no unusual behavior like a Denial Of Service (DoS) or security breaches. Each engineer on our team has a laptop that we take home with us so when we are on call it is easy to vpn into our corporate network to run diagnostics on the network equipment to make sure everything is functioning properly. The majority of devices we us on our network are Cisco devices. Cisco systems offer a software application called LMS (Cisco Works LAN Management Solution).
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LMS is a centralized system for sharing device information across all LAN management applications (Cisco 2012).
We use the LMS software to monitor equipment, traffic, and users. I use this software to do the majority of my daily work. Recently cisco developed a mobile app for this software application for iPhone and Droid OS. This gives me a huge advantage because when I am on call I don’t have to lug my laptop around with me all the time and I can still monitor the equipment and run specific reports where ever I am. This application allows a highly secured connection to tunnel thru so I can connect to the web portal of the LMS software.
Once the application is downloaded to my mobile device I have to configure the appropriate security settings and the network ip address and a few settings that are specific to our network to load the application on my iPhone and configure my network information and this allows me to check and monitor network traffic and connectivity over a secured port from the appliance. This mobile application does not allow me to have all of the flexibility of the actual software would if I was on my laptop but it lets me do the important task like monitoring and maintaining reports and statics from my mobile device.
The good thing about this tool is it has to be enabled on the devices that I want to manage and an access list has to be created on the switch to allow the traffic from my mobile device. “The benefit of this application is that it increases productivity, because workers can be productive anywhere they go” (Cisco 2012).
Applications like this one help companies to connect and to know what is going on at all times. The drawback to this is if the network goes down the application will not work. Because the applications software is house on an appliance on the network if the network connection drops then the software cannot operate.
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This tool like VPN allows you to access the application software through a specific port on the network that is set by the Network Administrator to allow specific users access to the application. If the network connection is not available then the application cannot be accessed. Even though this drawback exists it is still a huge benefit being able to work from a mobile device from any location verses my desk. I think as technology continues to grow Cisco will also expand on the number of features it offers through this mobile application as will.