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network monitoring know-how needed

Inexperienced networker needing help:

The following network system setup is running now. Client sends transmission over Internet (TCP/IP) to networking center where it is usually first received by proxy or router, which directs it to a central server at networking center. Central server then does some processing, and depending on the data, directs the transmission out over Internet to one of many business entities. Business entity does some processing on it, and then sends it back to central server, which then forwards it back to client. That process exists now. And it is "mission critical."

We are working on a helper application which will reside inside the firewall at the networking center, and which does some additional processing on the data, beyond what the central server is doing. Helper application is running on a Windows server, dedicated to that app. (Let's call it "Helper Server".) So now the idea is to change the setup a little bit and make is so that transmissions come in from Internet through the proxy/router and then to Helper Server. The application on Helper Server then does some processing on it. Depending on the results of the processing, Helper Server will then either redirect the transmission back to the client (source) or on to Central Server, which is probably nearby in the same facility. The processing that happens on Helper Server is helpful, but not mission critical. That is to say, if we have to take Helper Server down for a few minutes or even hours, it would not be terrible. However, if it were to fail, and not be able to forward transmissions to Central Server, then that would be a big problem.

For every transmission that goes into Helper Server, one transmission should come out. So, what I would like is to be able to monitor the transmissions going to Helper Server, and be sure that an equal number of transmissions come out from Helper Server. Remember that when the transmissions come from (out of) Helper Server, they can go one of two ways: either on to Central Server or back to client. Also, if we can monitor ratios, then that would be good. Let's say that we know that for every 100 transmissions that go to Helper Server, normally 80 are forwarded immediately on to Central Server and 20 are bounced back to the client for correcting. If suddenly it changes to 50% being bounced back, then we would think that something is wrong. Basically, we want to be able to monitor to make sure that Helper Server is not causing problems. And if it is causing problem, we would take it offline temporarily, directing the traffic away from it and back to Central Server, just skipping the Helper Server. It would be great if it could be taken offline and traffic directed to Central Server automatically, based on an Event or similar.

We do not want to add additional processing load to Central Server or to Helper Server, if at all possible. I thought that there a way to do this monitoring with a Cisco switch that is running RMON or SNMP, but have not done it before, and am unsure of myself. What about that idea or any other ideas you have? (Probably can't afford more than a 2950T or so.)

2 REPLIES
Silver

Re: network monitoring know-how needed

Using a switch with rmon or snmp sounds like a good idea. There are also various network monitoring and alerting tools available that could do the job for you.

Community Member

Re: network monitoring know-how needed

I have never used RMON or SNMP to do anything like this before. Can you advise me on how to start?

Also, what other free or inexpensive monitoring and alerting tools do you have in mind? Please be specific. And thank you very very much for your time.

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