The network mapping market is one element of the larger network management and monitoring sector.
Network mapping itself could be described as the process of discovering and visualizing physical and virtual network connectivity. This is accomplished in a combination of ways. The goal is to create a network map as well as flow charts, network diagrams, topology detection, and inventories of devices operating within the networks. This combination of visual aids is of great assistance in network maintenance, troubleshooting, and in ensuring uptime.
After all, almost half of enterprises place the hourly costs of a network outage at up to $1 million. Thus, one small glitch on the network can have serious repercussions. That’s why networking gear continues to be a hot area of the market.
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Network Mapping Market
The network mapping market has always been strong. But a new report by Cognitive Market Research, “Global Network Mapping Software Market Report 2021,” details the size, key trends, growth, and competitive analysis of the market. Researchers looked as far ahead as 2028. The conclusion: growth in this sector is excellent and will continue to be so for the next six or seven years at least.
Key drivers in this growth include the move from on-premises software to cloud-based networking systems. Organizations traditionally used in-house tools to monitor their networks. But with more virtualized, distributed, and cloud-based networks becoming the norm, the market has shifted. Companies are now swapping out their old on-prem systems for cloud networking tools. This shift is likely to provide plenty of growth in the market for many years to come.
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Network Mapping Features
Network mapping software has to be able to discover devices and network nodes, determine their interconnections and functions, and map them in a way that is easy to digest.
Mapping software has to provide several different types of maps. Physical network diagrams cover any and all components operating on the network. This includes cords, plugs, racks, ports, servers, cables, switches, and routers. That should be supplemented by logical maps that are useful in figuring out the type of network topology, such as bus or ring, as well as highlighting how the data flows between physical objects within the network. Data, such as IP addresses, firewalls, routers, subnets, subnet masks, traffic flow, and voice gateways would appear in logical network maps. Finally, functional network maps showcase traffic flows, so it is easy to see how applications flow through the physical network. Some tools focus on one or other of these types of map. But ideally, all should be used in network monitoring.
Network mapping tools should also make it clear to IT the type of network topology in play. This is vital in troubleshooting. IT needs to know the networking structure in order to debug device or server downtime issues. Some networking tools are better on specific types of topology. The more comprehensive ones are good at mapping all topologies, whether they be bis, ring, tree, star, mesh, or hybrid networks which have become far more commonplace of late.
“Mapping and topology capabilities have become increasingly important with large, multi-vendor, multi-domain networks with underlay, overlay, and increased complexity that affect the applications traversing the network,” said Mike Haugh, VP of product marketing at Gluware.
“Operators need to understand the correlation of network path and application performance clearly. Be aware, though, that most products in the market offer low-value network mapping with visualization but also very low functionality. Few products in the market offer high-value mapping and topology with network insights at various levels. Even fewer provide mapping/topology with valuable insights, troubleshooting and the ability to automate changes to resolve issues.”
Network Mapping Benefits and Use Cases
Network mapping offers many benefits. Chief among its use cases, of course, is certainty on network components, dependences, and topologies. This aids IT in rapidly detecting any potential bottlenecks, and in eliminating sources of downtime. With good mapping, IT can zero in on the root cause of an issue and take care of it rapidly. Thus, performance looms large as a key aspect of network mapping software.
“A key aspect of network mapping relates to performance management: with dynamic resources and flexible locations, how do you identify the reasons for poor performance?” said David Winikoff, VP of product management at Riverbed Aternity.
“Network mapping is being combined with network performance management (NPM) tools to give a holistic view of what’s happening and where the bottlenecks are — with reasons based on network transport, compute resources and software processing path causes.”
Network Mapping Providers
There are some of the top vendors offering network mapping:
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