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Modern IT systems are more intricate and challenging to manage than ever before. In the face of new technologies like SDN, NFV, and others, network operations (NetOps) teams adjusting to the new ways in which networks are being architected. The complexities of modern networks make it difficult to gain the type of end-to-end visibility needed for successful management and optimization and make troubleshooting and network forensics more challenging than ever.

The solution to this problem? NetOps teams today need access to several network data types. Unfortunately, many organizations adopt multiple point solutions to solve individual problems, which can result in the costly issue of tools sprawl. What you need is a network monitoring and management platform that can consume and visualize a wide variety of network data types across your entire hybrid IT system.

Five Network Data Types for Network Forensics

Let’s explore the top network data types your system should be capable of collecting and why:

1. Network telemetry data – One of the most common network data types, telemetry is typically made up of flow data and SNMP data collected from network devices. Flow data is often used for monitoring path data to support active notifications of issues resulting from changes to the network. SNMP data provides information about the status of specific devices, interfaces, and CPUs on the network, but doesn’t provide enough detailed network information for things like in-depth network forensics or troubleshooting. Click here to learn more about network telemetry and Netflow analysis tools.

2. Virtual software agent data – Virtual software agents are the source of one the various powerful network data types that can help NetOps teams conduct network forensics assessments to understand a user’s experience with an application. This is particularly helpful since cloud applications often lack the visibility required to understand true end-user conditions vs. expectations.

3. Application recognition data – Most enterprises rely on critical applications for business operations, so application data is critical for maintaining performance. NBAR and NBAR2 are application recognition protocols at enabling NetOps teams to assess a broad range of applications and manage the bandwidth allotment for each to ensure that resources are distributed efficiently. This is an important network data type, as it allows network administrators to view the mix of applications in use on the network at any given time and decide how much bandwidth to allow each application, to ensure that available resources are used efficiently.

4. Application visibility and control data – AVC data incorporates several technologies (application recognition and performance monitoring) into WAN routers and includes performance metrics for both TCP and RTP, which are aggregated and exported via NetFlow v9 or the IPFIX format to a management and reporting package. This one of the more critical network data types, particularly for analyzing network traffic for applications delivered over HTTP.

5. Packet data – This is the most granular of all network data types that NetOps teams can evaluate, and is most useful when it comes to network forensics and root cause analysis (for deeper issues for which flow data won’t suffice). Using packet data, you’re able to identify which applications or users might be contributing to an issue, how often it’s happening, etc. Advanced packet analysis solutions help organizations capture packets and write them to storage where they’re available for detailed network troubleshooting and targeted issues resolution.

These are the top network data types your NetOps team must have access to in order to effectively monitor and manage today’s complex hybrid networks. If you don’t have visibility into any of these data sources or are juggling tons of network management tools in order to access them all, it’s time to rethink your approach to network performance monitoring and diagnostics and find a solution that provides a complete, 360 degree view into the current state of your entire network.