Uncovering Network Performance Killers


We’ve been discussing the many things that could be killing your network’s performance – often quietly and without your knowledge. Last time, we covered the value of using the right tools to get network management data that you need. Let’s continue with a discussion of syslog, debug, managing voice and video traffic, and more.

I encounter a lot of sites that ignore syslog. Yes, there’s a large noise-to-signal ratio there. There are free tools that summarize the syslog data, and there are golden needles in the haystack as well. A tool like Splunk or syslog-NG (free in most Linux distributions) can help you send alerts based on the items of interest. Splunk can also give you frequency count based reports to separate out repeated happenings that might be of concern from one-time blips that aren’t worth investigating.

The one big syslog item that comes immediately to mind is Spanning Tree topology changes, which indicate instability. I don’t know of any other simple way to be alerted when your Spanning Tree gets unstable.

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