Why A Converged Network Monitoring Experience is So Important

by May 7, 2018

Suddenly, the network is cool again. Tech trends such as the Internet of Things, software defined networking (SDN) and growing end-user expectations all add up to a demand for “dial-tone” network performance and reliability. But with the data deluge continuing to accelerate, and organizations relying on multiple clouds to achieve business goals, how can the network keep up, much less your network monitoring?

Because of rapid advances in networking technology coupled with user demands, network managers often find themselves with way too many tools, each designed to manage or monitor a single aspect of the enterprise network and application performance. Today, half of enterprises find themselves using 11 or more network monitoring tools and for many, this may be just the beginning. For example, as organizations continue the adoption of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), with the goal of replacing older MPLS connections with modern broadband internet, they find their existing network monitoring tools aren’t efficient and over two-thirds of SD-WAN adopters have added yet another tool or thrown up their hands and outsourced management to their network service providers.

The problems created by relying on swivel-chair management—where data is entered into one system and then entered manually into another system—are many. First, there is the duplication of effort involved in managing multiple tools and interfaces. Then there is the uncertainty brought on by having to rely on a variety of network monitoring tools for various infrastructure components. Just keeping track of which tool is used for which network element can induce stress.

network monitoring

Figure 1: Percentage of total network operations work time spent.

As a result, network managers now spend over 70% of a typical workday troubleshooting, according to a recent Enterprise Management Associates report. Split almost evenly between problem prevention and reactive firefighting, busy network managers are able to devote only 29% of their time at work on anything even resembling productive tasks.

network monitoring

Figure 2: Top 5 challenges to successful network operations.

Perhaps the biggest problem created by this fragmentation is a lack of end-to-end network visibility, cited as the No. 1 challenge to successful network operations in the same EMA report. Right behind is lack of resources, cited as the second greatest challenge. It’s not surprising that what was concluded is that as network teams add more tools, they become less effective at network problem detection and their networks become less stable.

Network teams need a convergence of operations. This begins with a comprehensive network monitoring and analytics platform that includes:

  • One NetOps portal with full-stack monitoring and management for both traditional and modern architectures that spans the greatest number of protocols and vendor landscapes. Enterprises are increasingly virtualizing every part of the network. However, that does not mean traditional network infrastructure is going away anytime soon.
  • One Open API enabling customization of the NetOps experience. Just as today’s consumers want their experience their way, network operations teams should demand the ability to customize methods of ingesting and presenting any network data for a truly intuitive, personalized experience that enables faster triage and better executive consumption.
  • One data collector that spans multiple protocols and doesn’t rely on old-school polling mechanisms but instead utilizes modern, real-time streaming functionality that can keep up with the speed and dynamism of current and future network architectures
  • One context for troubleshooting application experience issues related to network impact, with only the relevant protocols and endpoints (physical, virtual or logical) surfaced. This enables network operations staff to remove any “noise,” simplifying root cause analysis by minimizing the number of clicks to resolution even in highly virtualized environments.
converged network monitoring dashboards

Figure 3: CA’s converged network monitoring dashboards for improved network performance visibility.

If your enterprise isn’t ready for the double whammy of software-defined networking and IoT in today’s application economy, how can you guarantee the user experience your customers demand?

Going to Cisco Live US? CA Technologies will be showcasing their award winning Network Operations and Analytics for Cisco SDN architectures in booth #2030 at Cisco Live, Orlando June 10-14. Stop by the booth for solution demonstrations and huge giveaways!

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