The cloud offers businesses a tantalizing vision of cheaper, faster, and more agile computing. However, the advent of global, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments has presented IT operations teams with a radically more complex infrastructure to manage.
It has been ten years since Amazon first revealed that every 100 milliseconds of network latency cost them 1 percent in sales, while Google found an extra half a second in search page generation time reduced traffic by 20 percent. At that time, there were far fewer organizations where the business was entirely dependent on the network. With the acceleration of digital transformations driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global restrictions, even seemingly small changes in network performance can be the difference between profit and loss.
With this increased focus on modern, innovative technologies and user experience, it is more critical today to understand what success looks like to all the stakeholders in the network and how it can be delivered. This involves managing multiple data sources to the appropriate service levels.
The Network IS Your Business
The importance of the network to business outcomes is why, for over 14 years, VIAVI Solutions has conducted a global State of the Network Study. Each year it asks networking and security professionals from around the world about the issues that have been important to them in the preceding year.
Highlights from the 2021 survey include, for the first time, the rise of a non-technology issue. Finding the right people, with the talent and experience to address network performance issues has become a significant opportunity. Innovation is also an important part of the 2021 story and budgets have doubled as a result.
Emerging network monitoring challenges include:
- Secure Active Service Edge (SASE), the convergence of wide area networking and network security services
- Augmented Intelligence Operations (AIOps), integrating of AI techniques with innovative operations services
- Software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN), running over whatever WAN connections are available
- Internet of Things (IoT,) which is the world of interconnected intelligent devices, each with its own internet address
- Private 5G, high quality, high bandwidth, low latency wireless networking over 5G
- User experience for unified communications services and collaborative conferencing solutions
For some organizations, comprehensive network visibility supports the delivery of life-changing products and services. In the case of telehealth solutions, for example, especially surgical applications that are delivered remotely, network delays or latency can put lives at risk. For space tourists on a trip into Earth’s orbit, or those visiting the International Space Station, it’s easy to understand why performance counts.
Getting to the Real Issues
In a more down-to-earth example, one fortune 500 multinational financial services company based in North America was using a network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) solution that had reached end of life. Though they had never fully deployed the solution, they were interested in comparing how other leading vendors in the market could better meet their needs.
The organization needed a highly scalable, robust NPMD suite that was easy to use and didn’t require senior engineer engagement. The CTO was adamant that the monitoring environment would integrate both performance and security monitoring and could support the need for deep and complete forensic investigations. The business goals of the financial services provider consisted of reducing manpower, sharing data across appropriate teams (including security), and distributing issues to key stakeholders based on the root cause.
NPMD Solutions at Work
The business decided on the commercial VIAVI Observer Platform for their monitoring needs as they felt it would provide the desired business outcomes. The end-user experience (EUE) scoring component provided the financial institution with at-a-glance indications of whether the problem was with the network, server, client, or application, with workflows routing issues to the correct team.
Security teams were pleased that the solution minimized false positives, which wasted time and resources investigating nonexistent issues. They were also impressed that the data were available, complete, and unedited.
The monitoring solution was installed just prior to the pandemic and has been proven invaluable for helping to resolve remote working and VPN issues before they could impact the business. VPN performance reporting that was implemented due to the pandemic is now viewed daily by C-level and senior management at the financial services institution.
Effective NPMD solutions that decrease the time needed to identify network connectivity issues, increase proactive visibility, and minimize the time needed for the detection of traffic anomalies can help facilitate better business outcomes.
To learn more about the key technology strategies for managing today’s business-critical network and how organizations use their solutions to positively impact their business, read The Criticality of the Network in the Future of Business, a Bloor White Paper.