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5 Key Indicators of a Successful Unified Monitoring Strategy

As networks continue to grow and become more complex, so too do the visibility challenges they present for Network. Not only does IT have to keep pace with deploying new network fabrics and topologies that involve cloud services, software-defined networks (SDNs), IoT, and more, but they also have to effectively manage and monitor these hybrid environments to meet performance expectations, manage service assurances and uphold quality user experiences. But gathering and visualizing all that data can be a monumental task without the right solutions and tools, especially for global organizations with offices, networks, and locations around the world.

As Gartner notes in a recent APMdigest article, “IT departments no longer just keep the lights on but are also strategic deliverers of services, whether sourced internally or external to the organization. They must position specific workloads based on business, regulatory and geopolitical impacts. As organizations’ customers and suppliers grow to span the globe, infrastructure, and operations leaders must deliver on the idea that ‘infrastructure is everywhere.’”

Given that boundaries are shifting, network operations (NetOps) teams tasked with managing and optimizing worldwide networks require granular visibility into that infrastructure. In the midst of all this change, enterprises looking to improve network performance and efficiency need to reassess their network monitoring strategy and be prepared to make changes. Here are several key performance indicators of a successful unified network monitoring strategy:

1. The ability to overcome challenges associated with supporting strategic business initiatives such as cloud-first and proactive global monitoring. For example, a “cloud-first” approach is designed to reduce operationally and IT solution development costs, but it can create significant visibility problems for NetOps, such as limited insight into current availability, network latency, DNA latency and response times with path analysis to indicate where issues may be occurring. Furthermore, new technologies like SD-WAN are fundamentally changing how WANs are built and operated, but they don’t function in a vacuum. They require visibility into end-to-end workflows across the entire network to ensure complete application performance, proper ISP monitoring, troubleshooting and more. As these new initiatives are rolled out, their success depends heavily on IT’s understanding of their impact to the network and whether or not NetOps has the proper monitoring solutions in place.

2. Utilizing the hybrid network approach with multi-vendor and multi-domain environments to create inter-connected communities that extend monitoring beyond the enterprise firewall perimeter. For instance, it’s critical to have visibility into latency and path quality for Amazon Web Services (AWS) virtual private cloud (VPC) with VPN (virtual private network) connectivity from your private data center. The reality is that most enterprise networks are hybrid – and becoming more so with each passing year. You need tools that allow you to monitor performance across disparate IT environments – all the way from the data center to the WAN edge and endpoints – and you need to be able to take immediate action based on that information. This is a cornerstone of a truly unified network monitoring strategy.

3. Leveraging open APIs for integrated IT systems support that requires minimal customization. For example, LiveNX Alerts allow IT, teams, to gather semantic data about site, time and trigger events, which allow them to better manage network performance. In the same vein, the automated creation of a ServiceNow incident ID (trouble ticket) with network data can allow NetOps teams to engage quickly to isolate and fix issues. APIs are the new normal in terms of systems integration, but they do not remove the need for telemetry data directly from the network devices for near real-time status updates.

4. A drastic reduction in Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) to preserve and enhance end-user experience. Imagine users are experiencing degraded VoIP quality at a remote location. How do you quickly remediate the issue before it has a larger impact on operations? Or worse, what if users are complaining about the performance of a critical internal application (or customer-facing application)? Is it the internal WAN or a problem with a service provider? Traditionally, the engineering triage required on SNMP Traps relies on polling data that provides up/down status to a unique network management tool for analysis. But in today’s unified network management environment, multiple data sets including SNMP, Flow, packet capture, and API provide a complete 360-degree view that enables NetOps to isolate, diagnose and fix a problem regardless of its origin, all from one single pane of glass.

5. The ability to visualize, monitor, alert, report, and create end-to-end network traffic flows and packet analysis through fabrics such as the datacenter, SD-Access, and SD-WAN from a centralized dashboard. In the past, NetOps was often forced to invest in multiple tools for packet capture, Flow and SNMP collection, and analysis, report generation, etc. Today, in a modern unified network management environment, network engineers can access a single user interface to proactively assess the entire environment. With LiveNX, they can even leverage 3-click drill down into packet analysis for millisecond views of packet exchanges and decodes for rapid root cause analysis.

Business-critical applications rely on high-performing networks to ensure quality end-user experiences. Complete end-to-end network visibility is critical for most organizations, and it can be a major competitive differentiator for just about every enterprise. That’s why organizations are increasingly deploying next-generation Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostic (NPMD) platforms like LiveNX that enables a unified approach to network monitoring and management. It allows them to properly monitor, report, and alert on new voice/video and cloud solutions, leverage QoS to assure end-user policies and application performance, properly deploy SDN fabrics, proactively measure for SLAs, detect and remediate network problems in real-time, and much more. Want to learn more? Check out our recent blog post on visualizations and see how network data is turned in to actionable intelligence for NetOps.