Infrastructure Management 

Active testing with network monitoring is a recipe for success

Use real-time testing of virtual, physical and logical components to safeguard the user experience and boost your network monitoring software.

When I make my truly amazing spaghetti sauce, I always get an exceptional result when I continuously test the flavor throughout the cooking process to make sure everything is working as planned.

Testing during rather than at the end of a process is just as important when it comes to network operations. It gives organizations the opportunity to address blips in network behavior before they impact the user experience or application performance.

Tried and tested

Active testing and the ability to react quickly on any network anomalies or degradations are particularly valuable resources given the dynamic nature of today’s networks. Thanks to advances in technology, such as SDN and cloud computing, the network has become a simmering hotpot of physical, logical and virtual components that are subject to constant change.

Each small change or update that is made to the new networking stack has the potential to disrupt your customers’ experience. Keeping one step ahead of these potential disruptions – and quality degradations – can be the difference between the success or failure of your new business initiatives, customer transactions, or digital services.

With active testing, organizations can not only validate individual changes to the existing stack but also validate the deployment of new technologies and network services in production, before customers begin using them.

Essential ingredients for success

Active testing delivers the best outcomes when used in conjunction with live network monitoring software and real-time analytics. These three components enable organizations to establish a network performance powerhouse that extends well beyond the datacenter rack – all the way to an individual user’s mobile device.

For example, the combination of active service data and passive infrastructure performance creates a comprehensive end–to–end view of network service quality from the end–users’ perspective, based on predictive network behavior as well as inventory, topology, faults, flow and packet analysis. All of these elements can be then converted into actionable intelligence for network operations, providing them with an unrivaled view of current customer quality of experience, service performance and future network behavior.

Lower admin, greater agility

To make the most of active testing, organizations need to establish the right processes and platforms to empower their network operations teams. Best of breed network monitoring software should not only allow organizations to easily implement test agents at remote, strategic end point locations, but also in core, high traffic areas as multi-tenant test agents that can perform tests, capture active monitoring results and use reflection technology to extend your network visibility – all of which help to reduce the administrative burden on the networking team.

A solution that identifies ongoing network performance behavior is not enough even today; network operations teams also need help in accelerating their response to data that can be used to predict future behavior. Rapidly resolving and proactively preventing issues is paramount for safeguarding the user experience. Automated alarms and triggers, as well as test cases, can help network operations teams gain valuable time when searching for a problem’s root cause.

Monitoring, predicting and analyzing network behavior and performance are prerequisites for today’s modern network architectures. By ensuring all the ingredients are working in harmony before, during, and after a new application or service goes live, organizations will be able to cook up a masterpiece in the digital age.

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Jeremy is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for a variety of Enterprise Management solutions at…

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