From the Editor

Although corporate networks are becoming increasingly valuable to enhancing their owners’ bottom lines, they are also becoming increasingly complex to manage. Administrators and CIOs are today faced with many more options when it comes to building and maintaining networks than they were in years gone by.

In this new world of enterprise networks, one fact has clearly emerged: the companies that invest more resources in the management of their networks are the ones who realize the most benefit from them.

Like most attained goals, however, effective network management does not come easily and is the product of hard work. It is built on a bedrock of knowledge about one’s company – who needs what kind of connection? Is the latest and greatest piece of network management software (with the hefty price tag) really a necessity for our company’s communication needs? Can we do with less? What are the areas of our infrastructure that can be improved?

Above this bedrock is a layer that involves knowing your options: what kinds of software are vendors offering to help me keep track of what’s going on across my network? How will it help me when things break down? Would it be wiser to hand off the management of my network to a third party? With what risks does this route present me?

On top of these responsibilities are the numerous challenges that must be faced when a management framework is in place: How do I work with this software? Should I upgrade? What new network management options are emerging in the market?

This Network World Canada Signature Series contains a variety of articles that look to answer these questions. One article provides advice on how to best manage the task of making configuration changes on a network, while another looks at the challenges of tracking the multitude of electronic messages flowing into corporations today.

Our feature article takes an in-depth look at some of the leading network management tools on the market today, and examines how the makers of these established products are doing to keep pace with emerging up-and-comers.

We hope the following stories will help you in meeting the many challenges in this all-important space, and to make the task of network management a little easier to “manage.”

– Greg Enright