Network maintenance is one of the IT pro's core responsibilities. You probably spend a lot of your time monitoring network activity, from polling network devices to generating real-time views of your network topology. You're looking for changes in traffic, watching for failures and warning signs. The best network-management tools automate these basic chores, sending you alerts so that you can react quickly to problems (e.g., when certain thresholds are exceeded) or even providing automatic network maintenance such as event logging, system shutdown, and system repair. Network load balancing, analyzing, and designing are three essential chores.


NETWORK MANAGEMENT

Load Balancer
1st—Microsoft Windows Server 2003
http://www.microsoft.com
2nd—VMware VirtualCenter
http://www.vmware.com
3rd—Radware Web Server Director
http://www.radware.com

Network Analyzer
1st—Sunbelt Software LanHound
http://www.sunbelt-software.com
2nd—Microsoft Windows Server 2003
http://www.microsoft.com
3rd—Network Instruments Observer
http://www.networkinstruments.com

Network Layout and Design Tool
1st—Ipswitch WhatsUp Professional
http://www.ipswitch.com
2nd—HP Network Node Manager
http://www.hp.com
3rd—AdRem Software AdRem NetCrunch
http://www.adremsoft.com