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All too often, network monitoring is complex and difficult with traditional monitoring solutions. These typically have lots of "nerd knobs" that need to be tweaked, turned, and configured so you capture and have visibility into your network and essential metrics. Auvik is a network monitoring solution that drastically simplifies it all. With Auvik, IT admins and others on the team no longer need to be network experts to understand and monitor the network.
What is Auvik? ^
Auvik is a cloud-hosted software that provides network topology mapping, network traffic visualization, network performance monitoring, network configuration backups, and syslog management. The Auvik solution sets out to boost efficiency in monitoring your network. It also provides lower-level technicians, who may not be network engineers, with an intuitive interface that helps non-network professionals gain visibility and understand system metrics and information.
Once you deploy the Auvik collector, it automatically begins scanning your network, inventorying devices, and providing a visual network topology of the environment. This aspect of Auvik is one that I really appreciated out of the gate. It is a visually-oriented solution that allows you to “see” the network, network topologies, and devices within the network at a glance.
One of Auvik’s killer features has to be remote access. With Auvik, you can access your monitoring console from anywhere using a web browser, whether on-premises or not. We have all used solutions in the past, or may be using solutions now, that require VPN access or additional network complexity to look at your current console, alerts, KPIs, etc. The cloud-based connectivity Auvik provides is a breath of fresh air that eliminates this challenge.
Automated network discovery and asset management ^
When you install Auvik, the system will begin to scan your network and inventory devices on discovered networks automatically. Auvik can communicate with devices on your network using standard protocols, such as CDP, LLDP, and forwarding tables. Using these protocols, you can pull information for 1000’s of devices, including make, model, serial numbers, IP address, and physical switch ports. It also helps with the lifecycle management of network devices.
Network performance monitoring ^
Auvik provides real-time visibility to network issues with syslog configured. It provides real-time statistics and maintains information on historical data so that you can see how your network traffic and analysis changes over time.
Automated configuration backup and recovery ^
Many organizations do not have up-to-date backups for network devices. Auvik automates this process and keeps versioned copies of configs from various network devices for disaster recovery. It is also great for audit purposes, since you can review the changes between configs.
Network traffic analysis ^
Auvik has an add-on module called TrafficInsights which uses machine learning and traffic classification to show different applications and protocols traversing the network, such as Dropbox, Slack, Netflix, and others. It enables you to see where your bandwidth is going. You can analyze network flow data for even deeper insights.
Easy navigation of networks, devices, and data ^
Auvik has a search option in the topology map to find specific objects in your inventory. In addition, you can see the alerts from the network map directly, so you don't have to juggle different views or dashboards to view alerts.
Third-party integration ^
Auvik offers exposed APIs so that you can integrate third-party applications with the platform to pull alert history, inventory, and historical stats and build custom workflows with your ITSM.
Deploying the Auvik collector ^
Like many cloud-based solutions, Auvik uses a collector, a lightweight installation of Auvik, that collects network data and telemetry from your on-premises networks and streams them to the Auvik cloud. No ingress pinholes are required from the cloud to the collector, as the collector communicates with the Auvik cloud over a standard SSL connection.
There are three ways to install the Auvik collector:
- Virtual appliance—Easy-to-deploy virtual appliances that allow spinning Auvik up in virtualization environments, such as VMware vSphere
- Physical appliance—You can install Auvik on a physical device as well
- Windows service or Bash installation—If you already have a Windows or Linux server up and running, you can also install Auvik as a lightweight Windows service or use a Bash script installation for Linux
If you sign up for the trial version of Auvik, you will be guided through the setup and configuration of the solution, along with the collector:
Once you download the virtual appliance, you can deploy it in vSphere using the normal OVF deployment process.
Once the virtual appliance is deployed and booted, it pulls DHCP by default. You can easily customize the network configuration from the console.
It is a pleasant surprise to see the modest resources needed for the collector. The OVF appliance deploys a VM with 1 vCPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of disk space.
I found navigating and using Auvik very intuitive,, and the workflows fit with how you would expect to navigate the UI. Finding information was simple and easy. Everything is arranged cleanly. As you can see below, you can easily see alerts aggregated on the dashboard.
Most of us are visual in how we learn, take in, and analyze information. Auvik leverages that with a visual platform that allows you to see your network topology, devices, information, and issues when you hover over an object in the inventory dashboards.
Auvik's hardware lifecycle management dashboards take the heavy lifting off the admin. It's one challenge to keep up with devices that need software upgrades, but it is another challenge to keep up with the recommended software versions. Auvik provides visibility into the software upgrades needed across your landscape of network devices throughout your networks.
It also keeps up with vendor hardware lifecycle information. Is the hardware still supported? What about software and security maintenance? Auvik helps track all this information.
Wrapping up and impressions ^
Auvik is a fresh take on the age-old problem of monitoring and managing your network. To me, the breath of fresh air with Auvik is how it has architected the solution. It is a cloud-native management solution that does it the right way. Your dashboards, metrics, KPIs, and other information are accessible from anywhere through a web browser. No special client or network ports are needed.
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The collector needed to stream network data and metrics to the Auvik cloud is easy to configure and lightweight, with only 1 vCPU, 2 GB of memory, and 8 GB of disk space. It is an extremely intuitive solution to use. Even though I didn't have any previous experience with the product, it only took a few minutes to get up to speed on where everything was located and to start pulling value from the solution. Keep in mind that we could only scratch the surface of the features and functionality in this review. Auvik provides key insights into your network, devices, topologies, traffic, lifecycle processes, and many other features. Auvik offers a free 14-day trial.