3 Ways Network Performance Monitoring Will Fail Your Organization
1) You want pervasive visibility in your network
Many traditional Network Performance Monitoring solutions are delivered as network probes. Although an increasing number of solutions are deployed on virtual machines or in some cases, cloud offerings are available; there are nevertheless ongoing administrative overhead.
Network Performance Monitoring is best done pervasively, unless you already know in advance where all the problems are going to be. Deploying network probes typically provide partial view, as it may not be possible to deploy them everywhere.
2) The solution does not recognize encrypted data
Many network probes can inspect packet headers and payload for protocol discovery. They use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, to figure out what is running in your network and to measure the quality of experience. While this can be a powerful solution, you should be aware that increasingly, applications are encrypted or obfuscated using WAN Optimization technologies, making Deep Packet Inspection a real challenge.
For example, Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync) traffic is encrypted by default and encryption cannot be disabled. One Network Performance Management vendor claimed support for Skype traffic with its recently announced software probe-based solution (2007), yet its DPI engine does not recognize encrypted data, so it really cannot recognize Skype traffic!
What else is encrypted?
A robust DPI solution should analyze multi-packet, heuristic behavior and application signatures regardless of whether or not the traffic is encrypted. If you are evaluating a probe-based solution, be aware of this pitfall. Do not be fooled by the fact that the vendor claims support for over 1,200 applications.
3) Leverage capabilities of devices you already own
Perhaps what is not so well known is that a Cisco router is embedded with native monitoring capabilities. Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) has a robust Deep Packet Inspection engine that actually supports encrypted traffic and it can collect packet loss, jitter, delay and response time information for performance evaluation of data, voice and video services.
This approach effectively turns every network element as network probe providing the most extensive visibility because all the flows must go through the network. This approach, coupled with LiveAction’s solution, now known as LiveNX (2016), provides a robust application-aware Network Performance Management solution. It may not always be necessary to deploy network probes, whether it be hardware or software, in your environment.