Half of the respondents said their biggest challenge was the problem of separating network issues from application issues. Particularly revealing was the 54% who said virtualization was their biggest monitoring challenge.
"Many IT managers want to be able to differentiate between network issues and application issues," said Charles Thompson, Network Instruments' manager of systems engineering, in an e-mail. "This can often be the most time-consuming portion of troubleshooting. If they can determine which one has the problem, they can apply specific knowledge and toolsets to that area."
Another major challenge cited by the respondents -- by 27% -- was examining unified communications, while 20% said cloud computing was a new concern.
When asked what their biggest concern about their network was, 46% pointed to "quality of service," followed by lack of information about problems and their causes (27%). Managing application availability and performance was cited by 26%.
As for network topologies they want to monitor, 66% chose wireless as the overriding issue.
Generally, the survey found that newer, more advanced networking technologies are most in demand by engineers and IT executives, who want commensurate monitoring products. Thompson indicated that the advanced solutions are difficult to fathom "without monitoring equipment capable of showing which area" involves a particular issue.