Network management means different things to different people. In some
cases, it involves a solitary network consultant monitoring network activity with an outdated protocol analyzer. In other
cases, network management involves a distributed database, autopolling of network devices, and high-end workstations generating
real-time graphical views of network topology changes and traffic. In general, network management is a service
that employs a variety of tools, applications, and devices to assist human network managers in monitoring and maintaining
The early 1980s saw tremendous expansion in the area of network deployment.
As companies realized the cost benefits and productivity gains created by network technology, they began to add networks and
expand existing networks almost as rapidly as new network technologies and products were introduced. By the mid-1980s, certain
companies were experiencing growing pains from deploying many different (and sometimes incompatible) network technologies.
The problems associated with network expansion affect both day-to-day network
operation management and strategic network growth planning. Each new network technology requires its own set of experts. In
the early 1980s, the staffing requirements alone for managing large, heterogeneous networks created a crisis for many organizations.
An urgent need arose for automated network management
(including what is typically called network capacity planning) integrated across diverse environments.