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Posts Tagged ‘network management

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.

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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 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.

Live from Kaseya Connect in Vegas!

I am enjoying my second day at Kaseya Connect in warm & sunny Las Vegas. We are joining hundreds of managed service providers and fellow sponsors for a few great days of learning more about Kaseya and how we can support the Kaseya user community with the AppNeta instant value network performance management solutions.

One thing I have found interesting about the vendors joining AppNeta at the Kaseya Connect event is the diversity.  I have seen everything from hardware, to software, to cloud services, to AV/HIP.  Seeing the variety of technologies and solutions, it is clear to me just how broad the services and capabilities are as a managed service provider.  One minute you can be uninstalling a virus from a Windows 2K (yes, i said 2K) workstation, and the next you need to lay down fresh cat5e for your new VoIP install.

Even with all of this diversity, Kaseya is doing a great job bringing us together and establishing the business need and focus on these services. I just got out of a breakout session discussing the go-to-market-  strategy for IT outsourcing;  a great way to help out the newly minted Kaseya partners adequately deploy the software in the most successful, profitable way.

Also, Kaseya has created an impressive line-up of keynote speakers.  Kaseya CEO Gerald Blackie gave a great keynote this morning and later today we have Jim Abbott speaking as well. He may have been a New York Yankee, but I am a big fan of his courage and perseverance.

I am also very excited to unveil the new AppNeta and Kaseya integration this week!  During my days as a system admin, I had a window for my SNMP devices, Backups, and lastly Kaspersky. Now with the new PathView Cloud and Kaseya technology integration, users have one integrated, end to end view into performance levels of critical applications such as VoIP, Video conferencing, IP storage and virtualization.

I am going to be in town throughout the conference.  You can find me in my stunning blue AppNeta polo shirt.  Swing by Area D in the Partner Pavilion and check out our live demo site, sign up for a personal demo, and try out our GUI on a laptop, Xoom, or iPad.  PVC (which uses Flash) on an iPad (that does not support flash?) Yep, I said it.  Come by and check it out

See you around Vegas!!!

We are often asked how our technologies very from traditional network management tools. While most other tools rely on simple network management protocol (SNMP), we utilize our own technology to perform ‘active’ network monitoring infrastructure.

Around here, we compare SNMP to a car’s dashboard.  You are able to see how much gas is in the tank, what the engine RPMs are, and how hot the engine is running. But if you’re in a hurry to catch a flight out of Logan Airport, what you really want to know about is the traffic on the highway.  How long will it take me to get through Boston?  How many other cars are on the road?  How many lanes does the Massachusetts Turnpike have?  Is there a detour because of the Big Dig?  You need to be able to see roadblocks that hinder performance (and your timely departure!) on the way to   your application’s destination.

SNMP is configurable on most routers, managed switches and other network devices.  The metrics gathered using this protocol are unique, and critical to network performance:  You can see utilization of memory or CPU, and the health of that devices hardware components.  This is all very valuable information that no network engineer should be without, but even a network that is fully instrumented with SNMP cannot answer the fundamental question of how well your network is doing its job, connecting users with information. What happens when the packets leave that device; traverse the network; go through another device, and so on?  Do the application packets, traveling from the service inception point to the service consumption point, face any problems reaching their destination on time?

With all of the packet shaping technologies that are enacted across WAN connections, there is a risk that the performance of a network application can be hindered unintentionally. Traffic shaping and QoS is often set in a vacuum, with settings determined by the intuition of the engineer who may not be aware of all critical applications that are using a WAN connection. To really understand what circumstances these application packets face while traversing the WAN, you need visibility through each and every device the packets encounter to see the cumulative effect of the packet shaping.

PathView Cloud sends ‘network analysis’ packets from the microAppliance to the service consumption end point.  On the way to the destination, any deviation or interruption in the route, such as a point of congestion or point of data loss is revealed and reported back to the cloud reporting server.  All of these metrics are delivered from each hop in the network path, even from devices you don’t manage.  This process fundamentally differs from contemporary SNMP monitoring; Instead of having a management information base (MIB) telling us what’s going on, PathView Cloud is able to find out on its own.

At the end of the day, the network admin needs to weigh the importance between status of devices and the status of the application path.  When it comes down to it, there is not a right or wrong answer, both are needed.  But one thing that is true, end users don’t care if it is the device, the application, or even themselves that is causing application performance degradation, they just want their applications to work!

Happy monitoring!

PathView customer Derek Abrams, a Certified Videoconferencing Engineer and Operating Systems/Network Analyst at Oregon State University, has shared some of the specific challenges he faces with visual communications.

With an extensive university network, Abrams and his team manage new challenges everyday across his various servers and clients. In this article, Abrams builds on his first article, and highlights the difference between knowing a problem exists, and knowing how to pinpoint it and fix it quickly.

Using the right tools and an innovative approach, Abrams shares how his team has uncovered issues and improved their network performance.
Read Derek Abrams’ full article here

PathView customer Derek Abrams, a Certified Videoconferencing Engineer and Operating Systems/Network Analyst at Oregon State University has faced some challenges specifically related to network management within a university environment.

Abrams has shared his story with us in an article that discusses how the complex, widespread network system within a university network functions similarly to a cloud network with multiple, independent service providers. This leads to inconsistent and unreliable IT services and network performance.

Read more about why Abrams and his team chose PathView to address these issues and improve network management at Oregon State.

Interested in trying PathView on your own network? Sign up for a free PathView trial here.


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