In Part 1 of this blog, I focused on the rise of NPMD tool sprawl and its burden on network operators and engineers. To support my thesis I referenced several findings from EMA’s 2018 Network Management Megatrends report: “49 percent of enterprises use 4 to 10 tools to monitor and troubleshoot their networks, and 27 percent use 11 or more solutions.” This is a powerful stat, so it’s worth reiterating – that’s 11 (or more) different maintenance agreements; 11 (or more) different support plans; 11 (or more) aging platforms. It’s expensive, inefficient, frustrating and ultimately unsustainable.
However, consolidating functionality isn’t just about course-correcting tool sprawl. As networks get increasingly complex with multi-cloud, digital transformation and SD-WAN initiatives, along with constantly emerging and competing line-of-business (LOB) demands, it’s critical that we simplify how teams plan, deploy and operate their networks. The best way to do this is by centralizing network visibility and diagnostics – a tall order given how pervasive NPMD tool sprawl is today and how complex network and IT environments are becoming.So, how is LiveAction tackling this challenge? Let’s quickly examine three primary focus areas:
- Data – The reality is that more data equals more insight with the ultimate goal of achieving complete visibility across the entire network. In the past, legacy NPMD providers have focused on silos of data which provide value but only in a limited context. Think, flow vs. packet vs. SNMP data. These tools worked well when you knew where to look and which tool to use. But this doesn’t scale and leads to the proliferation of tools and silos of expertise. At LiveAction we think holistically and bring together all data sources into one elegant, integrated management platform. Our recent acquisitions of Savvius and LivingObjects enable us to deliver broad visualizations for high-level monitoring of applications and flows, as well as detailed packet analysis for problem isolation and resolution. In the immortal words of MC Hammer, legacy NPMD providers simply “can’t touch this.”
- Visualization – We’re also betting big on visual analytics, applying our distinguished technology to shine a light on all parts of the network regardless of the data source. Want to now visualize performance of key servers and workstations? Check! Want to capture flows across legacy switching fabrics? Check! What about white box routers or emerging NFV devices? Check! Check! Multi-cloud and SaaS environments? Check! We are building upon our patented visualization capabilities based on academic research around situational awareness and the mental models that network professionals learn and possess. We are addressing the fundamental need to visualize complexity and distill the essence of what’s important versus what’s noise so that you can quickly assess the source of any network issue quickly… despite the ever-increasing complexity of your networks.
- Analytics – Analytics have always been fundamental to LiveNX. In fact, we often use the term “visual analytics” to connote an interactive element. Furthermore, we’re leveraging machine learning to deliver predictive insights about the customer networks, with an added level of intelligence and automation to network management. It’s no longer sufficient to simply capture latency, jitter, and delay at a point in time. The key to a next-generation NPMD platform is visualizing the end-to-end performance of applications across the network regardless of the path the conversation takes. You need to be able to see if your service provider is changing the class-of-service, you need to be able to visualize if the routing policies are executing as expected across overlay and underlay networks, and you need to be notified of exceptions when elements of your networks breach expected behaviors. LiveAction enables you to have this level of visual analytics and assurance from an enterprise-wide view, to a site, to an application, to a device and down to the actual packet for real-time or historical inspection and analysis.
“Where is the issue?” “Is it the application?” “Who is the user?” “What are they trying to accomplish?” These questions must be dealt with in real-time to support the various LOB requirements across your enterprise. But, the answers can be elusive with a traditional, monolithic network management approach. Network operations teams are overburdened and understaffed already. They don’t have time to stitch the story together manually using point solutions that fail to integrate with operational dashboards or correlate data from other areas of the network.
At the same time, network topologies are changing rapidly. Corporate leadership teams expect to extract value from these emerging trends, yet still, require assurances that traditional service levels are upheld. Here at LiveAction, we understand how challenging it can be for network operations teams to preserve exceptional service levels while supporting increasingly complex network architectures. Tool sprawl only amplifies the difficulty of this task. IT teams need a new way to manage the network, one that offers a central platform for identifying what went wrong and determining how to fix it fast. What does this mean for LiveAction customers? It means all the functionality they’ve grown to love – day zero visibility, application and SaaS performance troubleshooting, voice/video/UC optimization, SD-WAN visibility, root cause analysis, and more – in one simplified solution.
Interested in how LiveAction can help your company eliminate costly issues that come with piecemeal NPMD toolsets? Learn more about how we can help simplify your IT operations here.