3 Challenges to Consider as You Approach SD-WAN Monitoring

Challenges: As we help our customers with their SD-WAN deployments, we often find common challenges that they stumble upon. For instance, deployments typically start with a proof of concept, followed by the actual deployment, which is broken out into day 0, 1 and 2 phases. The steps are similar across customers but differ in terms of vendor, architecture and SD-WAN technologies used.

The Most Common SD-WAN Deployment Challenges

Therefore, the challenges we primarily see during deployment are in the areas of Assurance, Multi-Vendor and Network Monitoring Capabilities. Factors that create these challenges include complexity, scale, application diversity, automation, brown-field and tool limitations. To help you better understand these concepts, the following sections will walk you through the three most common challenges and how you can overcome them.

1. Assurance

SD-WAN makes automated real-time decisions based on performance and other criteria to ensure application performance over various network transports. Network operators understand the policy that they setup, but they want assurance on what the system is doing, what actions were taken and for what underlying reasons. We’ve seen cases where application problems have been blamed on the SD-WAN just because it’s the least understood portion of the network once deployed.

As we automate systems, the operators are becoming detached from the operations and need better tools to understand, help troubleshoot and adjust policy. Having visualizations that map to the operator’s thinking will assure that the system is operating and behaving as expected. The example below shows the behavior of SD-WAN visually, as it switches paths due to transport issues and allows the operator to validate expected behavior in their operational networks.

challenges - SD-WAN2. Multi-Vendor

Once the SD-WAN is deployed, you get a single uniform view of the SD-WAN network from the vendor’s management UI. The problems arise when issues need to be analyzed between other vendor devices that interface with the SD-WAN devices. Depending on the complexity of the networks and SD-WAN vendor capabilities, this can be minimized or can become a larger challenge. Ideally, the tool used for network analysis spans across multi-vendor devices to give a complete picture and reduce troubleshooting time.

3. Networking Monitoring

Every networking vendor, including SD-WAN vendors, instrument their devices for network monitoring differently. Even with standards such as SNMP and IPFIX, there isn’t a consistent set of data and how it is gathered and represented, which makes analysis and correlation challenging. To provide an analytics platform using NetFlow and IPFIX, requires a robust distributed collection architecture designed for real-time and historical analysis with a visualization layer optimized for exploratory and explanatory analysis.

How LiveNX Can Help

LiveNX provides a platform to gather network analytics data at scale, whether it’s IPFIX, NetFlow and SNMP from the network (including SD-WAN). LiveNX helps IT teams understand how the system behaves, why issues occurred and how it was resolved. LiveNX helps with SD-WAN deployment by providing in-depth monitoring and visual analytics of your SD-WAN to overcome these challenges. Learn more about the latest version of LiveNX and see how you can start tackling SD-WAN challenges. You can also take advantage of this free download of LiveNX.

December 15, 2016

Author: John K. Smith, CTO