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Archive for the ‘Network Performance Monitoring’ Category

 

The benefits of virtualization are clear cut – massive financial savings in the long run. Virtualization enables organizations to use inexpensive hardware as terminals for multiple desktops which lowers costs in energy, hardware, maintenance and licensing. From a daily user’s standpoint, the convenience of accessing their personal desktops from any device effectively accelerates their time-to-value. However, the transition to virtualization can be costly and companies have to cough up now to achieve the benefits later.

Virtualization enables users to access distributed enterprise applications securely from any remote client device — when it works. If the network fails to perform against defined standards, end users of virtual applications and desktop sessions experience sluggish performance, system freezes and often outright disconnects. Regardless if Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)  is hosted in your own data center, or remotely, all performance issues – and finger pointing – will come down hard on an IT team.

While occasionally hosted on the LAN, VDI is more commonly reached over a WAN connection. If the performance of this link cannot be ensured, there is no point in virtualizing. Due to the nature of virtualization, a majority of stalls occur when employees are accessing their desktops over the WAN. Critical VDI links can become compromised during peak usage and need to be continuously monitored.

While we all know the frustration that slow applications produce, end users have zero patience for latency or poor performance when it comes to their entire desktop. VDI carries the highest sensitivity level of all applications and its success rating is directly dependent on user satisfaction.

IT professionals who do not pre-asses the network before virtualizing, put their jobs on the line. It is common to underestimate how much data is cycling weekly until there are attempts to move it, and taking an accurate reading of the WAN link is critical. Virtual software providers offer bandwidth requirements – but can the network guarantee that that bandwidth is available? Even during peak utilization? Is there space left to grow?

Requirements for a Successful VDI deployment

• Insight into the critical links while continuously monitoring the performance of VDI from the perspective of your remote site end users.

• Understanding of the measurement from the connection of end users back to the server and the ability to compare real-time against the key performance indicators needed by VDI services to perform properly.

• Alerting and reporting on network issues affecting system and virtualized application performance for pro-active troubleshooting.

Current tools used to monitor VDI include Xangati, Liquid Labs and Lakeside. These solutions are critical for monitoring the health and state of the virtual machines or locations where the application is being consumed. This means that the connection between end users and the virtualized servers is often left unsupervised. There may be green lights showing for all the devices, yet the phone is bright red with complaints. When polling devices produce a summary every few minutes, seconds of latency can be invisible on a monitoring screen, but it won’t be to the engineer who receives the phone call. VDI performance is dependent on the links between remote users and servers.

PathView Cloud offers the ability to assess, monitor and remotely troubleshoot performance from a virtual or physical system to any other target across LANs, WANs, even segments you don’t own or manage.

Want to learn more? Visit AppNeta or start a free trial on your network today!

"Many customers looking to implement a VoIP solution for the first time have absolutely no idea how critical a clean data path is to its usability. We use PathView and PathView Cloud to get an in-depth look at a customer's network health. It's like an MRI for their IT departments." – Eric Knaus, president of RonEK Communications


How are you ensuring a successful transition before plugging in the first phone?

VoIP, Video and Unified Communications are highly cost-effective network services. While your wallet may be breathing a sigh of relief, your network is about to get the wind knocked out of it by the  weight of VoIP and video conferencing services. Network performance is dependent on existing applications and user activity so network engineers implementing VoIP must take this into account.

In the past, enterprise companies dedicated a separate network or connection specifically for VoIP. If the phones don’t work, your business stops. For many organizations, adding to the existing network demand and performance challenges is unrealistic.

Throwing VoIP onto a network without pre-assessing is like jumping into a pool without checking for water (ouch!). Without a full comprehensive inspection of your surroundings, the results will be painful.

As VoIP moves toward a standard application regardless of business size, network engineers are forced to piggy back VoIP onto the existing infrastructure. And for any network engineer who wants to maintain the performance of existing applications AND ensure the performance of the new VoIP services, a pre-deployment network assessment is critical

An Effective VoIP Assessment will:

• Measure the call load capability of the network

• Identify the faults and shortcomings of the network

• Provide a holistic view of the network’s ability to handle data and voice traffic

• Lower the project’s cost estimates

• Verify service level agreements (SLAs)

• Eliminate the network as a gating factor in the VoIP project

A functioning network does not always equal a prepared network. Issues in the infrastructure may not be visible until the weight of a VoIP implementation crushes it.

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But where are the problems that are going to obstruct VoIP performance?

Three key benefits to conducting Advanced Network Assessments:

1. Test how well the network will perform without deploying a single device. VoIP pre-deployment assessment should look at the current state of the converged network, evaluate its ability to support VoIP and identify the dysfunctions that are restricting performance and the requirements to meet call load need.

2. Look at the life-cycle of your network in relation to VoIP. Generate call loads over days or weeks to take into account on and off peak network services. See in real-time how scheduled back-ups, data uploads and periodic events will affect voice quality.

3. Simplicity. Take it one site at a time. If the company decides to bring on a new location, your assessment process should not start from scratch.

Pre-deployment assessments should be done prior to purchasing or deploying any VoIP equipment or making any upgrades. Get yourself a complete analysis of the end-to end data network, recording important measurements such as bandwidth, utilization, throughput, loss, jitter, latency and MOS. A proper assessment will identify and isolate faults on the network that currently inhibit application performance.

PathView Cloud will ensure a successful VoIP deployment and ongoing performance. PathView Cloud generates a series of packet bursts that are placed on the network in a proprietary manner and collect the information required for a full analysis of the involved network segment from end-to-end

Want to learn more? Visit AppNeta or do a FREE pre-assessment on your network today with the 14-day free trial!

The job of a network engineer or network administrator is to solve problems; everything from backups to cables to firewalls to viruses. All of these tasks are related to moving data moving across the network in an optimal and efficient manner so that users can do the work that drives the business.

Every network engineer’s job is different but one thing is for sure – with the exploding use of IP-based technologies from VoIP to cloud services, coupled with the corresponding growth in network size and complexity – it isn’t getting any easier.

The challenges associated with keeping today’s overburdened networks secure, predictable and healthy are numerous, but these three related concerns would top most network engineers’ lists:

 

  1. Security
  2. Maintenance and monitoring
  3. Performance management

Security

Practically everyone who uses information technology, let alone IT professionals, is aware that information security is a battle without end. Some specific security threats that are on the rise include malware targeting smartphones and tablets, the “consumerization” of enterprise applications on personal devices, and the need for security to evolve in line with private cloud and virtual desktop infrastructure.

According to Bradford Networks, Business Computing World and other sources, the top network concerns for 2011 revolve around trends towards “more users” (employees and unmanaged users like business partners); “more mobile devices” (managed and unmanaged), and “IP everything” – the exponential growth of IP-based, networked applications and devices from VoIP to virtual desktop infrastructure to IP storage.

More systems, more endpoints and more access over the network means not only more security challenges, but also an intensifying need to monitor the increased traffic and ensure acceptable performance.

Maintenance and Monitoring

Monitoring and managing network traffic is a top concern in any IT department. This is especially the case as monitoring efforts are ubiquitously leveraged as a way to help meet network security and performance goals. However, monitoring and troubleshooting efforts are often hampered by a lack of effective tools and integrated reporting and alerting capabilities. Many network practitioners are likewise challenged by the need to capture, store and analyze vast amounts of monitoring data involving increasingly diverse types of IP-based traffic, from video streaming to SaaS applications.

In short, as more and more organizations leverage various monitoring options to support more users and more services more efficiently, many of the challenges that arise result from a need to cope with increasing – and increasingly diverse – network traffic.

Performance Management

Managing network performance may be the network engineer’s ultimate challenge. The ever-growing diversity and volume of IP-based services that today’s organizations increasingly rely on all in turn depend on adequate network performance. When bandwidth, jitter, packet loss or latency drops even slightly below tolerance thresholds, services quickly collapse. The more traffic the network carries – and the greater the number of hops between users and services – the higher the risk of poor network performance leading to application failure.

To ensure that users can do their jobs, network engineers must be able to:

  • Continuously monitor network performance metrics (jitter, packet loss, bandwidth, latency) in real-time across multiple, distributed sites
  • Troubleshoot VoIP, IP storage, virtual desktops and other IP-based applications
  • Understand what application instances are using what percentage of available bandwidth, and what IP addresses are associated with them
  • Assess the network’s readiness for new services before deploying them

AppNeta’s cloud-based PathView Cloud network performance management solutions provides these capabilities by delivering insight in both directions between your datacenter and your remote sites – through third-party and public networks as well as your own. Delivered as a hosted service, PathView Cloud is both cost-effective and simple to deploy and manage.

Find out more about how AppNeta technology can help network engineers address the performance management challenges they face every day, and sign up for a free trial on your network today!

Today’s business services are increasingly dependent on predictable network performance and availability. At the same time, changes to network infrastructure  – such as the addition of IP-based services like VoIP, video conferencing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS); the proliferation of Wi-Fi-connected devices; unmanaged elements such as streaming audio– all mean that performance requirements for your customers’ critical applications demand a much higher level of service delivery and quality assurance.

Recurring-RevenueFor MSPs, your ability to provide continuous insight into customers’ dynamic network infrastructure is critical to delivering your existing services and ensuring a quick, effective response to customer performance problems. Some key elements to assuring performance for your customers’ networks and building your business at the same time include:

— Providing monthly reporting and immediate performance alerts when issues arise.

— Differentiating your business by moving from a traditional, break-fix engagement model based on remediating failures to a proactive, strategic service tailored to customer needs.

— Reducing trouble tickets;  eliminating truck rolls and on-site engineers

How can your business transition from break-fix troubleshooting to continuously and proactively managing your customers’ network infrastructure?

PathView Cloud offers remote site network and application performance monitoring that delivers exceptional network insight, alerts, reporting and troubleshooting, from one integrated network performance management solution.

Here are three easy ways MSPs can use PathView Cloud to get started with new remote, continuous network performance monitoring services:

#1: Network health assessments

Proactive network assessments are a great way to highlight network issues, while showing your customers the value of continuous network performance monitoring. PathView Cloud lets you deliver not only comprehensive, point-in-time assessment reports, but also continuous assessments over a business cycle (e.g., seven to fourteen days). This information can lead directly to a managed services discussion.

#2: “Top talker” reporting at remote sites

Who is doing what on your customer’s network? PathView Cloud enables you to give customers periodic (e.g., monthly) net flow reports that deliver valuable insight into who and what is consuming network bandwidth. Like a network assessment, this information can illuminate network issues while also presenting an ideal opportunity to discuss managed service options.

#3: Cloud services readiness assessment

Assessing a customer network’s readiness for cloud services is a simple undertaking with PathView Cloud. AppNeta recommends running such assessments for seven days to capture a full business cycle. A pre-deployment assessment can save your customers significant time and money by providing a holistic view of their network’s ability to handle additional traffic, as well as identifying ongoing and  transient network issues. It also facilitates a discussion of the value of continuous monitoring services post-deployment to validate and ensure compliance with SLAs.

More and more MSPs are using PathView Cloud to realize ongoing revenue streams from unmatched remote site performance visibility and continuous network assessment offerings.  Check out the live PathView Cloud demo, or try PathView Cloud on your network today with a free 14-day trial!


Desktop and application virtualization offer a more efficient approach to PC management, offering reduced administrative, hardware and energy costs, along with stronger security. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can also improve productivity, by enabling users to access distributed applications remotely from any client device.

Sign up for a free trial today!

 

The expanding virtual workforce, growing popularity of mobile devices, and ongoing IT belt-tightening have combined to make VDI one of the most critical IT services for organizations of all sizes. But, in order to realize the benefits of virtual desktops, you must be able to ensure the performance of the access network that connects remote clients to the virtual infrastructure. Most applications that are being virtualized were not designed for remote access in the first place. So when network performance   falters below acceptable thresholds, applications become sluggish, freeze and finally disconnect – leaving users aggravated and unproductive.

Unfortunately, many VDI deployments are hampered by frustrating and hard-to-identify network performance problems. SNMP-based network management tools can only provide information on the devices that a company manages directly, rendering them unhelpful with troubleshooting network performance issues along the VDI service path. Traditional “netflow analysis” solutions are costly, difficult to deploy and manage, and consume massive amounts of bandwidth, making them unsuitable for remote sites.

What is required for managing network performance for VDI deployments is the ability to assess, continuously monitor and remotely  troubleshoot network performance from a virtual or physical system to any other target – across LANs (wired or wireless…), WANs and even public networks. Application engineers must be able to:

  1. Pre-Assess the customer network to understand if the current network is ready (or not) for VDI deployment in order to set expectations and resolve any issues proactively.  The assessment needs to understand the specific operational requirements of the selected VDI vendor.
  1. While assessments are a key first step, they are only good for a given point in time and networks are very dynamic in nature.  Therefore to assure success, continuous monitoring of key network performance indicators (KPIs) that are critical to the successful delivery of VDI services is essential. These include total, consumed and available capacity, network utilization, latency, packet loss and jitter.   It’s vital that the monitoring be able to understand the network in totality (i.e., in the same way the VDI infrastructure will leverage the network…) and not affect production VDI network traffic.
  2. Compare real-time network performance with the KPI values that virtual desktop services need to function properly, in order to ensure overall Quality of Service.  When differences do appear, alert key operations staff to any SLA violations and enable intelligent diagnostics to understand the where and the why in order to reduce meantime to repair. AppNeta has the experience and expertise to know the exact performance thresholds needed for all major vendors to assure success with the VDI performance.

How can network engineers gain a real-time view into network performance between remote users and virtualized servers – and respond more quickly to their frustrated end users? AppNeta’s PathView Cloud technology offers instant value and immediate insight to identify whether the cause of poor performance resides along the network or within the VDI. By enabling the proactive monitoring of access networks against KPIs, PathView Cloud lets you troubleshoot and pinpoint the performance problems of virtualized applications at remote sites so you can ensure QoS for users.

Want to learn more? Check out the Live Demo or start a FREE trial today!


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