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From the largest regional medical centers to small provider offices, today’s healthcare organizations depend on network sensitive applications. Electronic Health Records (EHR), ePrescriptions, web-based clinical records, online medical registries, desktop virtualization, VoIP, IP storage, cloud–based system, Software-as-a-Service — all of these critical applications rely on network performance.

When bandwidth, latency and other key parameters fall below acceptable thresholds, network dependent services abruptly become unusable. This potentially compromises not only business efficiency, but also patient care. Network performance management has thus become one of IT’s most vital functions across the healthcare sector.  As Dr. John Halamka points out in his blog, Life as a Healthcare CIO,“As we all rollout EHRs to small provider offices, often with challenging internet connections, remote monitoring of cloud network performance becomes even more critical.”

Here are five key reasons why every healthcare provider must be able to monitor and manage network performance:

  1. You need to quickly find and fix network performance problems before they impact patient care or confidentiality.
  2. You want to minimize problems associated with unpredictable connectivity to centralized data, which frustrate and compromise the efficiency of overworked clinical and clerical staff whose time is so valuable.
  3. You are charged with ensuring that the migration and consolidation of electronic health records, as well as the rollout of new, network-dependent services like video conferencing, goes smoothly and does not negatively impact existing applications.
  4. You are looking to optimize the performance of an ever-growing number of wireless devices from tablet PCs to smartphones to wearable medical devices like heart monitors.
  5. Any healthcare provider’s ability to successfully leverage cloud computing, IT-as-a-service and similar initiatives depends on its ability to guarantee application service levels from the user’s perspective.

Unfortunately, many network professionals responsible for delivering site-to-site access to clinical data lack visibility into the various WANs, remote LANs and service provider clouds that connects centralized resources to remote offices. How can you achieve the network performance insight you need to ensure service levels across your IP-based application portfolio?

AppNeta’s PathView Cloud suite of network performance management solutions solve this problem by providing remote, end-to-end, bi-directional visibility across all the networks (even those you don’t own) between your datacenters, those of your service providers, and users at clinics and other remote sites. With PathView Cloud you can continuously monitor and troubleshoot network performance “from anywhere to anywhere,” ensure compliance with SLAs, and quickly and accurately assess your network’s readiness for even more IP-based services.

To learn more about how AppNeta technology can give healthcare organizations the insight they need to ensure predictable access to EHR, virtual desktops, IP storage and other business-critical, network-dependent applications, visit www.appneta.com.  Or, sign up for a free trial on your own network here.

These days practically every organization depends on multiple IP-based services, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based applications, VoIP, video conferencing, virtual desktops and IP storage. All these critical services depend on network performance. Today’s IP-based services operate within a narrow Quality of Service (QoS) range. When network bandwidth, latency, jitter and/or packet loss parameters drift outside those tight limits, critical business services are abruptly disrupted – we’ve all experienced the frustration from dropped calls, stalled teleconference and slow network access to Citrix and virtualized desktops.

To deliver the service levels that modern IP-based business applications require — across a distributed infrastructure — network administrators need instant, real-time insight into all the key network performance metrics from and at any location on the network. This enables them to pinpoint network problems accurately and rapidly. It is the only way to know what users are actually experiencing, and to verify QoS.

Traditionally, achieving this necessary level of  insight into network performance required costly technology investments, as well as a high degree of process complexity for administrators. Few organizations can justify those kinds of capital expenses in today’s financial climate.  Businesses are looking for rapid time-to-value on their IT investments;, this is the very reason that cloud computing, SaaS deployments and other IP-based services have become so popular so quickly in the first place.

Besides seeking rapid time-to-value, companies also need to know that the IT investments they make are proven and will generate a high return on investment (ROI). Many organizations are unwilling to deploy new IT management systems unless they are certain they will help solve real-world business problems and add real business value.

To address customers’ requirements for rapid time-to-value and verifiably high ROI, AppNeta recently launched PathView Cloud Trial Express. PathView Cloud enables network engineers and managed service providers (MSPs) to continuously monitor their networks and find and fix problems within minutes of deployment.

PathView Cloud’s network performance management capabilities include

  • Active troubleshooting of bandwidth utilization and QoS verification
  • Advanced network performance assessment and reporting
  • The ability to test and assess your network’s readiness for major infrastructure changes, such as deployment of VoIP, video conferencing or other IP-based services

The PathView Cloud TrialExpress offer includes a trial PathView microAppliance, weekly support workshops, and a one-on-one session with an AppNeta engineer. The trial period lasts fourteen days, and signup takes just 30 seconds online

To learn more about how PathView Cloud TrialExpress can deliver instant value and unequaled network performance insight to your organization, visit www.appneta.com.

Why are more and more organizations building their own clouds, often in addition to leveraging the cost and scalability advantages of private cloud services? For many heavily regulated businesses, such as financial services and healthcare firms, demands for the highest levels of security for sensitive data have made private cloud alternatives more appealing. Private clouds also optimize the ability to dynamically allocate IT resources across business units, and can help ensure that capacity demands at peak times don’t overwhelm the resources an organization can access via public clouds.

For any organization that seeks to move business-critical services onto private cloud infrastructure, network performance becomes a “gating factor” that can make or break the success of private cloud deployments. Why? Because every cloud-based application is by definition a remote, network-dependent application – even if the cloud it runs on is in your data center. Likewise, all users of cloud-based applications are by definition remote users, because they are remote from where the services are being delivered.

To get the most from your cloud computing investments, you must be able to predictably and efficiently manage network performance. It is therefore imperative that today’s organizations continuously monitor and proactively troubleshoot their distributed and cloud-based networks. You need to rapidly pinpoint the exact location and cause of performance degradation, even within your virtualized cloud infrastructure, to ensure service quality for cloud-based applications like Unified Communications, virtual desktops and IP storage.

The challenges associated with managing the performance of cloud-based networks and other IP-based networks have traditionally been cost and complexity. SNMP-based tools are great for monitoring the health of network devices like routers and switches, but they are not designed to tell you how well the network is doing at delivering applications. Traditional netflow analysis tools are dependent on having the right network hardware in place and are labor-intensive to deploy and manage.

AppNeta has revolutionized network performance management for businesses of all sizes with its award-winning PathView Cloud solution. This cost-effective, zero administration, cloud-based service offers active bandwidth monitoring and end-to-end QoS verification, providing comprehensive performance insight to any IP address over any LAN, WAN, VPN or the Internet. 

Now AppNeta’s PathView Private Cloud offers all the business benefits and instant time-to-value of its hosted solution in a secure, private deployment model. PathView Private Cloud can be implemented in minutes, and no data ever leaves the customer’s network. PathView Private Cloud is delivered via a purpose-built 1U rack mount server appliance, which is included with the subscription.

Check out this 2-minute video to learn more, or sign up for a free trial of PathView Cloud!  www.appneta.com.

The reach and popularity of video conferencing, telepresence and visual collaboration services is exploding, enabling business to happen 24×7 around the world. But, if you’re a consumer or provider of these increasingly business-critical applications, you know they depend entirely on one thing: network performance.

IP-based videoconferencing requires high-performance WAN links. This class of applications operates within a narrow Quality of Service (QoS) window. If network bandwidth, latency, packet loss and/or jitter move outside that limited range, performance is disrupted – and conferences dropped or disrupted.

How can organizations deliver the excellent network service quality that video conferencing – along with so many other crucial applications, like cloud services, VoIP, IP storage and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) – require? What does it take to ensure that network performance and QoS stays within that limited range, across an organization’s entire distributed network infrastructure and despite fluctuations in demand?

Many years of experience with customers, including service providers and some of the world’s largest enterprises, show that these are the four key capabilities required:

  1. The ability to continuously monitor all the key network performance metrics (bandwidth, latency, packet loss and jitter) relative to service levels from any location. This is the only way to understand what your users of video conferencing and other IP-based applications are actually experiencing, in real-time.
  1. The ability to monitor network performance all along the service delivery path – even over networks you don’t own. This capability enables you to pinpoint the exact location and cause of performance degradation. It also eliminates the confusion and finger-pointing that can typify network problem resolution. Also, like other IP-based services, the performance of video conferencing services is greatly impacted by the distance packets must travel. So the ability to monitor the entire path enables you to compare performance across multiple providers.
  1. Visibility into all the IP-based applications that are running on the network at any time, and what IP addresses are associated with them. This lets you see how many video conferences (and other bandwidth-intensive IP-based application instances; e.g., streaming audio, BitTorrent sessions, Skype calls) are consuming available bandwidth.
  1. Remote site packet capture and analysis. Relative to video conferencing performance, these capabilities help analyze network problems, monitor WAN bandwidth utilization, gather and report network statistics, and more. Of course, packet capture is also useful for detecting network intrusion attempts, detecting network misuse, filtering suspect network content, etc.

How can your organization quickly and affordably acquire these advanced diagnostic capabilities? Consider the complex network performance management challenges of a business like BCS Global, a leading worldwide provider of managed video conferencing, telepresence and visual collaboration services. This provider must ensure service quality 24×7 across its globally distributed customer base.

BCS Global recently named AppNeta as its network monitoring and WAN performance partner for video conferencing services delivered to thousands of managed endpoints. They made this choice because only AppNeta’s award-winning PathView Cloud suite of performance management services offers all four levels of insight needed to ensure optimal network performance. As an AppNeta partner, BCS Global will leverage PathView Cloud to ensure optimal performance of video conferencing services — offering its customers unmatched insight and time-to-value, while also making sure they get maximum value from their video conferencing investments.

To learn how AppNeta technology can help your organization meet the performance demands of today’s distributed network infrastructure and network-dependent applications like video conferencing, visit www.appneta.com or sign up for a free trial!

We want to share a great use case recently submitted to the AppNeta’s Customer Testimonial Case Study Contest from the Liquor Distribution Branch of British Columbia (LDB). Check out their story below to learn how they resolved serious latency issues for remote site applications.

Organization: In British Columbia, the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is one of two branches of government responsible for the beverage alcohol industry. The Liquor Distribution Branch sells liquor to private establishments and public stores in British Columbia and other provinces.

Number of Remote Sites Managed:  200

Services needed: LBD wanted to continuously monitor the network performance of all 200 remote stores and the WAN and LAN environments of their head office

Network performance problems: They had no means of measuring their bandwidth capacity, latency disruptions and they did not having alerts in place to notify them when the WAN link was congested or service went down.

Primary network challenges: Users were blaming the stores’ networks for slow speed and LDB could not identify if it was the source of the delay was poor network performance or the application servers. This was also the case at the head office where applications were slow and the network was being blamed.

Benefits of deploying PathView Cloud:  LDB deployed PathView Cloud to get visibility into their remote retail locations and can now monitor their network paths to see real time WAN performance to all 200 locations. PathView Cloud provided them with detailed understanding of utilized and available bandwidth capacity of the WAN links as well as other critical factors affecting their application performance. When there is a problem with the WAN, PathView Cloud proactively alerts the LBD network team and provides detailed information about the cause and source location of the problem.

If you are a PathView Cloud customer, we want to hear from you! Enter to win an iPad2 for the best success story OR a $200 Gift Certificate to Amazon.com for the most creative picture with the microAppliance. Learn more here! If you are not a customer but want to continue reading how PathView has provided network visibility for other organizations across a multitude of industries, click here. Or you can begin a FREE TRIAL of PathView Cloud today!

Many organizations underestimate the operational and business risk associated with deploying performance sensitive applications like VoIP, video conferencing, IP storage or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to remote locations. Other projects such as transitioning to a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network or integrating company networks due to a merger or acquisition can present significant performance problems for business critical services

Prior to making major infrastructure changes or rolling out new IP-based applications, it is critical to thoroughly test and assess your network’s readiness. This is especially true if your IT team was not involved in building out the network, and thus may not comprehensively understand the key performance metrics your business services depend on

A complete baseline assessment is the only way to gauge the true scope of the project and accurately assess needs and costs. Analysts warn that a majority of companies will underestimate the impact of upgrades to their data networks when adding VoIP and other IP-based service.

Surveying a representative sample of network activity and making assumptions based on these results can be a costly mistake. For example, simply looking at Mean Opinion Scores (MoS), latency and loss measurements does not give you sufficient baseline information to ensure an error-free deployment and adequate post-deployment service quality – particularly because these tests do not assess variance in network traffic over time. Thus they can’t tell you everything you need to know about network capacity. Among the resulting problems can be increased costs of dealing with network problems, not to mention their business and productivity impact

An effective network assessment will save time and money by providing a holistic view of the network’s ability to handle voice and data traffic, validate SLAs, identify network problems, and accurately measure capacity. A successful network assessment requires a five-step approach:

  1. Pre-deployment assessment (Will it work?)
  2. Post-deployment assessment (Does it work?)
  3. Ongoing monitoring (How to keep it working)
  4. Troubleshooting (Unforeseen problems)
  5. Accurate reporting at each of the above stage

Once you have performed an initial network performance assessment, it is best practice to assess performance and throughput of LAN and WAN network circuits continuously, end-to-end, at the level of detail of the pre-deployment assessments. These assessments need to include dozens of targets at various locations, which are representative of the entire deployment. Further, assessment of targets should take place in each direction relative to key network locations

How can you seamlessly perform and review complex and diverse, ongoing network assessments? One cost-effective solution is to leverage the network assessment capabilities of AppNeta’s PathView Cloud technology.Pathview Cloud’s network assessment lets you acquire metrics on performance characteristics like jitter, latency and available bandwidth from any location to any IP-addressable target worldwide. There’s no faster, easier way to comprehensively and accurately measure the readiness and reliability of your network prior to deploying business-critical applications – or at any point in time thereafter. Learn more about conducting network assessments and continuous monitoring, and request your own free trial here.

The education industry is embracing cloud computing more rapidly than any other sector excluding large enterprises. According to recent studies by IDC and CDW, today more than one-third of higher education IT departments are either implementing or maintaining cloud-based systems.

Among the most compelling benefits that cloud-based services offer educational institutions are:

  • Low-cost, anytime/anywhere accessibility to high-end computing resources
  • The ability to seamlessly scale technology requirements (and costs) dynamically up or down in relation to demand
  • Increased efficiency of service delivery, leading to faster results
  • Simplified sharing of management resources for maximum efficiency at lowest cost

An additional benefit that cloud computing environments offer to educational institutions is flexibility: with cloud it’s easy to develop and deploy new “experimental” services, without the hassle and expense of upgrading systems or purchasing software licenses.

Cloud also meshes well with educational organizations because both are inherently distributed and network-dependent. Users that are spread across campuses, computer labs, dorms and classrooms need secure, reliable connectivity to a huge array of resources — from e-mail, to VoIP, to online classrooms and distance learning programs – over IP networks.

Even before the advent of cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SasS), education network engineers were already well aware of the challenges of delivering IP-based services to thousands of remote users. However, as more and more services are delivered via the network, network health becomes increasingly business-critical.

In any industry, the need to derive maximum business value from cloud computing and other IP-based services, while minimizing the business risks associated with application downtime, makes network performance management increasingly vital. To manage network performance in the cloud, you need to

  • Guarantee service levels from the perspective of your users.
  • Continuously monitor network performance end-to-end between the cloud environment and remote users and back, even over public networks.
  • Quickly identify where network performance has dropped below acceptable thresholds, and why.
  • Verify that cloud, SaaS and other providers are meeting service level commitment

Traditionally it has been difficult or impossible to achieve these capabilities without expensive, administration intensive network instrumentation that is far outside the reach of most college and university IT departments. Now, cost and implementation barriers have fallen away with the advent of AppNeta’s cloud-based, instant-value Pathview Cloud network performance management service

AppNeta recently launched a Higher Education Discount Program that offers colleges and universities up to 70% off pricing. With Pathview Cloud, educational institutions can keep pace with their rapidly evolving user requirements and leverage innovative, cost-effective technology to maintain high-performing network services

Visit www.appneta.com to learn more about how AppNeta technology can maximize the benefits of distributed computing resources for educational organizations.


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