AppNeta | The Path

Posts Tagged ‘Cloud

Web-based service delivery models like cloud computing, SaaS and VoIP are revolutionizing IT. These distributed deployments offer cost, scalability and manageability advantages too compelling to pass up.

But the performance of web-based applications is heavily dependent on the networks that deliver them to remote sites. A host of variable, intermittent factors can crash business-critical services. Network issues like jitter, packet loss and long latency times are compounded by the round-trip involved: an input from a user must first reach the remote server, which then processes it and sends a response back to the client.

Traditional datacenter tools that monitor application, server or network device performance are not designed to analyze network-dependent service levels at remote sites from the user’s perspective. For example, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) based tools gather metrics that are vital for monitoring the health of network devices like routers and switches. But SNMP cannot tell you how well the network is doing overall at connecting users with data and applications.

Similarly, “ping checks” can give you a crude sense of the latency users are experiencing with web-based applications, but cannot provide the detailed network performance data necessary to gauge user experience as a whole. Website performance monitoring services provide insight from the perspective of “the internet” to public web services, but not from the perspective of end users to mission critical internal HTTP applications.

SaaS and cloud service providers monitor performance within their infrastructure, including internal connectivity with devices like servers. But who’s monitoring the health of the networks between the cloud and your users? How can you tell whether data packets traveling from the service inception point to the service consumption point are encountering problems along the way?

To get a sense of how well applications are working for your remote users, you need to see the full spectrum of bandwidth and performance characteristics of the distributed network, in real-time. That capability is called Remote Performance Management.

Remote Performance Management delivers performance insight from the perspective of the remote office user to the point of application delivery and back. Any deviation or interruption, such as congestion or data loss that could impact user experience, is immediately evident. All these metrics are reported for each hop in the network path – even across service provider networks.

With Remote Performance Management, you can detect and address increases in service response time across public networks, WANs, LANs and VPNs. You’ll know exactly when and where a problem is occurring and what’s causing it, so you can take quick and effective action.

To learn more about Remote Performance Management reporting capabilities, visit http://www.apparentnetworks.com/.

According to Gartner, 95 percent of surveyed organizations plan to increase or maintain SaaS deployments, stating that cost savings are the biggest benefit for the appeal SaaS products. Unlike traditional applications that require a lump-sum investment and time to deploy into the business environment, SaaS offerings are broken into a subscription basis, favouring use by smaller businesses who may be without enough capital for a large organization wide purchase.  Pricing also tends to scale with the size of the subscription purchased, or the size of the organization itself, resulting in cost savings from a ‘pay for what you need’ sales model. There are benefits for the organization hosting the SaaS offering as well.  The recurring subscription fee allows for a predictable revenue stream, month to month.

SaaS products are not synonymous with Cloud products, many SaaS applications are offered in packages that can be deployed and hosted on a company’s internal network.  The PathView Cloud and PathView Premise options at Apparent Networks are one example of this.  However, with either option the SaaS Company will manage the product and provide centralized updates and support for the application.

Apparent Networks uses a SaaS model in order to provide ongoing updates to the entire customer base, provide on going sales and technical training, as well as provide continual customer support.  The bottom line is that a SaaS business involves a significant customer vendor relationship that a traditional lump sum purchase business does not. For software vendors and their resellers, as well as for resellers and their end user customers, this relationship is extremely beneficial for continual quality of service and business practices.

One of the big questions that we hear all the time is “how do you differentiate from other remote monitoring tools?” And, with an ever-changing IT environment and many solutions on the market, we understand why this is such an important question to answer.  As well as the more important question to answer – why should you care?

Remote Monitoring Management (RMM) products allow for the deployment of applications off premise.  This is crucial to maintain stability at the workstations.  Though, when it comes to network performance, an RMM tool has limited resources.  A well positioned tool is only able to capture limited SNMP statistics.  SO at the end of the day, the questions still remains, how is my network performing?

In the Apparent Networks office here in Boston, we’re always buzzing about Remote Performance Management (RPM) – what we think is a critical component of network monitoring. Traditional Remote Monitoring Management tools focus on making sure your managed services stay up and running, but lose their edge when it comes to pinpointing the cause of performance degradation, where RPM really shines.

The PathView Cloud Remote Performance Management solution uniquely creates and sends packets to any specified IP-addressable end-point, proactively experiencing the performance of the entire network path – every minute!   By framing the network in its entirety rather than pin-pointing “data collection points” the problems of the aforementioned methods can be avoided. With such a tool the business sensitive health and performance of the network can genuinely be gauged.

So why should YOU care? Whether you are managed service provider or you are managing an internal IT dept. RPM must be part of your toolkit. RPM provides you with a tool that not only quickly pre-assesses networks to reveal potential problems before deployment, it also provides continuous monitoring to determine the source of performance issues and enables you to fix them – to lessen the impact on end users.

Click here to learn more about the PathView RPM approach to network monitoring.

If you work in enterprise IT, there’s a good chance you’re heading down the road to outsourcing some of your key applications to a cloud service provider. While considering your options, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, make sure that you know what you’ll need from the cloud provider. All the major providers offer a growing list of service options. Stay focus on your ‘must-haves’ and on the service levels your provider will commit to for them.

It is equally important for you to understand how those services will work where you’ll actually be using them. That means not just inside the cloud provider’s ultra-modern, over-provisioned data centers, but past their firewall all the way out to your company’s key locations. This includes geographies where most of your customers are and where you have office locations.

In a way, it’s similar to buying a car. That Ferrari Testarossa in the dealer’s showroom sure is an awesome machine. But if you’re always going to use it to get to your mountain cabin at the end of a logging road, you’ll be much better off making a different choice.

Therein lies the key question: How will it work for my particular purposes in my specific locations. Up until today, it was very difficult to get specific metrics on cloud service provider performance over distributed networks, and it was impossible to get such measurements for the specific destinations that matter to you.

But today, Apparent Networks has changed the status quo with the launch of our Cloud Performance Center. With the new free service, we’re delivering cloud service provider performance information in context – where the context is your business.

The Cloud Performance Center (CPC) is truly a first-of-its-kind service. CPC visitors get instant access to real-time and historical data on how well – or how poorly – leading cloud services providers Like Amazon, Google GoGrid perform not only inside their firewalls, but all the way out to your end points – where the rubber meets the road. As part of the CPC, we’re also providing reports and advisories on topical issues that can impact users’ abilities to interact with the Internet and cloud service providers. Learn more by reading the press release.

There’s nothing like driving a Ferrari – but not if you wind up in a ditch every day. The same goes for cloud-based services. They can be great if you pick the right vendor with the best service delivery in the areas that matter to you and your business.

Our new Cloud Performance Center will give you the information you need to make the best choice – and move fast and safely on the network roads that drive your business.

Software industry has changed; free PathView Cloud tool shows how

Not long ago, lots of software companies were focused on developing big solutions and selling them to the biggest customers they could. Board members and senior management wanted deal sizes that were high and trending higher. So field sales people went big game hunting.

With the focus on “big,” sales processes were long, involved and expensive affairs. They often involved expensive marketing programs at the front end. Next came multiple, in-person sales calls, six-to-nine month pilot programs and months-long implementation processes.

It all added up to a lot of time, money and energy being put forth before people actually experiencing a problem got the help they needed from the software that could solve their problem.

Over the past two to three years, this enterprise software sales model has been completely turned on its head. Companies are succeeding today by making more software – albeit in smaller packages – directly available to more people, more quickly and easily.  And these smaller tools are being offered at way more affordable price points – or often for free. It’s the democratization of the old enterprise model.

With our new PathView Cloud network management tool now available as a free hosted service, Apparent Networks has fully embraced the new software sales model.

For those who are not familiar with PathView, PathView is a new network management tool that measures the performance of complete network paths from source to destination, including segments that pass through service providers’ and carriers’ networks. PathView Cloud provides all the unique network visibility and management capabilities with the convenience and affordability of a hosted service.

We firmly believe that once customers experience what PathView Cloud delivers, they will eventually upgrade to our higher-level PathView product offerings.  But in the meantime, we’re perfectly happy to put the free PathView Cloud tool in customers’ hands so they can quickly get value form the product and solve some of their nagging network difficulties.

We think a little democracy in the software sales process is a very good thing.  It will let users resolve their problems more readily.  And it will ultimately help software development companies like Apparent Networks.

When companies were using virtualization technology to consolidate IT infrastructure that wasn’t truly real-time in nature, the network performance of these virtual machines was not a major concern. Generally, all they had to do was put a Gig E card into the host and everything would work itself out fine. All of the VM monitoring and management tools focused on CPU, memory and disk utilization and did not pay much attention to network performance. Sure the network performance for each VM was still atrocious, but that was overshadowed by all of the other efficiency gains of implementing VM technology.

With VM based deployments becoming the standard for infrastructure, the performance of virtual networks is becoming more critical. In PathView 2.0 we have filled a critical hole in the tools available for monitoring your VM infrastructure. Because our monitoring techniques traverse the network – both physical and virtual  and the same as users and applications accessing these VMs – we can accurately tell you how well, or poorly, your VM network performance is.

We spent a considerable amount of time tuning our monitoring and diagnostic capabilities so that our results are as accurate to VMs as they are to physical operating systems, and they are done in a way that does not impact production application performance. And because we can monitor to targets over networks that you do not own and or control, these same VM enhancements benefit our monitoring of cloud-based systems which are using virtualization technology at their core.

So for people running production VM environments or responsible for the network in VM-centric IT environments, PathView 2.0 should be a key addition to your monitoring tools. The capability to see through the cloud of your physical network, virtual switches and virtual network cards to monitor the true network performance of VM infrastructure and diagnose network problems anywhere along this path closes a critical gap in your IT toolkit.

From choosing the features of your next laptop to customizing the playlist that will stream through your iPod, what has been called the “next generation” of virtual, user- friendly, and on demand services and products has arrived. With our future resting in the cloud it seems the information we seek and the products we need – from media to business to technology – are at our fingertips. Whether “Web 3.0” is just marketing hype or a real step forward in the digital revolution, efficient distribution models are continuously evolving to make it easier-faster-cheaper for both the end user and the seller.

It’s a win-win business deal that now spans from entertainment (with Apple as our pioneer) to technology and computing, what we think of as “software on demand.” Just like listening to your impending iTunes purchase for 20 seconds before downloading, Apparent Networks wants you – network engineers and operators – to try out PathView with the free download; test it out and solve a problem. We want you to immediately benefit from the value of the tool as you decide if it is the right product for monitoring and assessing your networks. As the seller, we have more to lose if you buy the product and are dissatisfied, than if we create a trial model that you can test out and build on because you like what you got. We are not alone in this new approach to the instant download and e-distribution model. Last week SolarWinds, a fellow “on demand software” provider, had its initial public offering – demonstrating the success of a selling model where you, the customer, can find your solution and fix the problem in a couple of hours.

So how did we get here?

The success of the entertainment industry (where do we start? the iPod, iPhone, on-demand movies, and next-day Netflix) has led the business world to see how the instantly accessible nature of these consumer products could apply in a different marketplace. One where reaching a much greater audience online, at a lower price, in less time is becoming the ideal business model. Where engaging with customers continuously and responding quickly with new product capabilities is the goal. Apparent Networks has embraced this agile business and development model with PathView. With product capabilities updated monthly and an “on demand” sales and support model, we are hoping to make your job as a network hero that much easier…

-JimM


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