Leveraging an Effective Network Troubleshooting Platform to Reduce Downtime

Network Management teams routinely perform several activities to plan, deploy, upgrade, maintain, troubleshoot, and monitor the network. Each of these activities are extremely data-driven and are heavily dependent on the network team’s accurate understanding and interpretation of the data coming from applications, network devices and the traffic moving over their network.

IT teams must make sure that end users have an expected level of performance when working with various applications. Failures negatively impact employee productivity, product and service functionality, customer satisfaction, and inevitably, revenue. Downtime can cost companies an average of $300,000 an hour in lost revenue and productivity.

  • On average, IT organizations use 4 to 10 tools to monitor and troubleshoot the network
  • 43% of Network professionals are challenged to find the time to work on strategic business initiatives
  • 38% of Network professionals cannot proactively identify network performance issues
  • 41% of Network professionals find that troubleshooting issues across the network to be incredibly time-consuming
  • 35% of Network professionals have poor visibility into performance across all fabrics of the network

The Challenge

Once a network operations team has detected a service problem, they must race to solve it. Every minute of downtime disrupts revenue generation, breaks business processes, and undermines customer relationships.

  • Network Complexity: The network is inherently complex, ensuring there are no simple answers to be found. NetOps teams typically struggle with:
    – Multiple vendors across switching, routing, Wi-Fi, and network security
    – Multiple network domains, including data centers, the cloud, local area networks, and wide-area networks
    – Massive scale, with dependencies that grow exponentially
  • Data Complexity: Network managers collect and analyze a wide variety of data. The data most important to network troubleshooting, according to analyst research, include:
    – Packets o Device logs and Cloud provider flow logs
    – Network flows (NetFlow, IPFIX)
    – Device metrics (via SNMP MIBs, APIs)
  • Tool Sprawl: Tool sprawl leads to wasted
    – NetOps must correlate insights across numerous tools
    – Network management tools are often ineffective at supporting fault isolation and root-cause analysis workflows
    – Tool consolidation and integration is a best practice; NetOps teams are twice as successful when purchasing fully integrated, multifunctional NPM
    solutions.

The Solution

Establish Effective Network Troubleshooting Tools and Practices The typical network troubleshooting workflow typically has four steps:

  1. Problem identification and fault isolation, via correlation of tickets, alerts, and reports.
  2. Root-cause analysis, often a trial and error exercise. A network manager develops and tests theories about problem until the answer is found.
  3. Problem remediation, fixing the root issue is relatively straightforward. It may involve a configuration change, replacement of a failed device, or a capacity upgrade.
  4. Optimization, Network managers must validate that a change resolved the problem. He or she must then adjust or refine the change if needed.

Essential Troubleshooting Platform Capabilities

Look for NPM platforms that can provide the following insights:

  • Application performance visibility, including application response time and packet drops
  • Quality of service visibility, including settings and service level tags
  • Application bandwidth visibility
  • Service provider SLA visibility, including MPLS SLA reports and ISP outage reports

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