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Posts Tagged ‘Network Performance

 

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!

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.

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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!

As a managed services provider (MSP), your clients look to you to keep their business services up and running. With the advent of cloud computing, SaaS, virtual desktops, VoIP, IP-based storage and other trends, more and more of those business-critical services depend on the performance of IP-based networks.

MSPs face new service delivery challenges, including:

  • Old-school, break-fix approaches to network management aren’t good enough anymore. MSPs need a way to proactively address network issues.
  • When IP-based services crash and ISPs, telcos and other providers start pointing fingers, how can MSPs know what is and isn’t their responsibility?
  • How to monitor and meet meaningful service levels that reflect client user experience?

SNMP-based tools can tell you about the condition of individual network devices you own. But what’s much more critical to network health is a “packet’s eye” view of the flow inside the network bloodstream.

And what about all the networks you don’t own, but have a huge impact on the quality of service your client users perceive? Not even the priciest network instrumentation (e.g., traditional netflow analysis solutions) can help you there

AppNeta’s PathView Cloud service enables MSPs to proactively manage network performance end-to-end between their data centers and service consumers. With PathView Cloud, MSPs can strongly differentiate themselves from competitors around issues of IP-based network and application availability – and also cut back on truck rolls and on-site visits.

AppNeta’s PathView Cloud service and free, zero-administration microAppliance, offers an easy-to-deploy, cost-effective remote monitoring and management service

  • Proactively monitor the performance of any network against customizable performance levels – from any location
  • Continuously measure key performance metrics (bandwidth, packet loss, jitter and latency)
  • Conduct pre and post deployment assessments for customers, to ensure the successful rollout of network performance sensitive applications like VoIP and Unified Communications (UC)
  • Receive e-mail notifications when your service levels are not met

With PathView Cloud MSPs can quickly and effectively solve real-world problems their customers encounter everyday.  AppNeta’s MSP partners attest to  rapid identification and resolution of even long-standing network problems. For example, PathView Cloud enables service providers to detect network bottlenecks so faulty equipment can be replaced, and also helps to determine whether ISP and telecom providers are providing contracted levels of bandwidth.

To learn how more about PathView Cloud and how to build a managed service around the remote network performance service, visit AppNeta or sign up for a free demo.

Managing Network Performance for Video Conferencing (Including “Video Sprawl”)

cisco-telepresenceToday’s video conferencing and telepresence solutions offer amazing reliability, incredible business value and a huge range of features and price points. No wonder there’s so much video running on enterprise networks!

But like other IP-based applications from VoIP, to SaaS, to virtual desktops, video conferencing applications are highly sensitive to network performance. The health of your network is vitally important to your business – and video conferencing can have a major impact on network performance. You need to know how your network is performing to ensure that your phone calls and videoconferences don’t degrade or blip out completely.

Managing network performance for video conferencing deployments requires two levels of insight:

  1. The ability to measure and manage network performance metrics like bandwidth, jitter and packet loss to ensure consistent service quality across your growing portfolio of deployed IP-based applications.
  2. Knowledge of the ever-growing network utilization and the impacts associated with all the desktop-to-desktop, browser-based video calls your employees are making for business and personal reasons – so-called “video sprawl.” (Streaming media, personal mobile devices and other ad hoc network usage further adds to “sprawl.”)

Many companies are deploying new videoconferencing services and essentially hoping they’ll “just work.” But “hope is not a strategy” – it’s a risky path. To mitigate that business risk, you need a solution to access the capacity of your network prior to deployment. Further, you need a process for monitoring network performance in real-time across your entire extended enterprise, so that you can verify service levels and understand what users are experiencing.

How can you ensure that your network is ready and able to support new video conferencing deployments? AppNeta is sponsoring a 60-minute webinar with No Jitter today (Wednesday, June 15) at 11AM Pacific/2PM Eastern Time on the topic: “Best Practices for Managing the Performance of Your Video Conferencing Deployments (Those You Know About and Those You Don’t).”

If your organization is in the midst of rolling out videoconferencing (and whose isn’t?), this objective, reliable information will be just what you need. Please join us live, or stop back later to hear the recording.

To learn more about AppNeta’s affordable, cloud-based network performance management solutions and how they can help maximize the value and performance of your videoconferencing and other IP-based business services, visit www.appneta.com.

Managing Network Performance for the Mobile Enterprise

enterprise_mobility_01Burgeoning growth in the use of mobile devices is surely among the most significant trends impacting enterprise communications. Much of this growth is uncontrolled, as droves of employees increasingly make use of their personal mobile devices over company networks, as they’re accustomed to doing at home.

How can you get a handle on what your mobile users are up to, let alone make the best business use of the enormous potential that mobility presents? For starters, you absolutely need to understand and manage the performance impact of mobile devices on your network infrastructure.  If you don’t, all your business-critical, IP-based communications services – including VoIP and video conferencing – are at risk. As you know, pretty much all of today’s IP-based applications totally depend on acceptable network performance. More mobile devices mean less network capacity for other services. The greater the volume of mobile traffic converging on your network alongside everything else, the greater the chances of service quality problems like dropped calls, disrupted videoconferences and frozen virtual desktops.

To manage mobile communications effectively, you need to know how much of your network bandwidth is being utilized by mobile devices at all times, and how your network is performing as a result – both at the home office and at remote sites. This entails:

  • Visibility into what applications (mobile and otherwise) arerunning on the network
  • Insight into the real-time, local experience of users consuming your IP-based Unified Communications services
  • The ability to notify network administrators in real-time about network performance degradation and spikes in bandwidth utilization

Traditional network management solutions aren’t designed to measure the quality of network-dependent, IP-based services from the viewpoint of your distributed users. They also aren’t very good at pinpointing the cause of traffic-induced performance degradation. So-called “netflow analysis” tools and services are helpful, but are notoriously expensive and require heavy-duty network hardware.

An affordable, cloud-based solution that delivers instant value through actionable insight into the impact of mobility on your network is AppNeta’s PathView Cloud service. AppNeta is a sponsor of tomorrow’s  Virtual Enterprise Connect virtual trade show on “The Future of the Mobile Enterprise.” The event takes place on June 8, 2011 and you can register here to join us at our virtual booth or visit www.appneta.com.

The stampede to cloud computing is rapidly altering the design and delivery of IT services. From lower startup costs to lower total cost of ownership to scalability on demand, cloud-based deployments are increasingly considered the most cost- and time-effective approach to rolling out new IT services.

But the move to the cloud is not without its challenges, particularly from the standpoint of the network. When your business services are in the cloud, every user is a remote user and every office – including data centers and the corporate headquarters – is a remote office.

By definition, every cloud-based application is a network-dependent, remote application. So is any other IP-based service, from VoIP to virtual desktops to virtual storage. Therefore, to reap the benefits of cloud computing you need be able to predictably and efficiently manage network performance.

As Debra Curtis, IT Operations Management Analyst at Gartner, Inc. noted: “The transition to cloud-based services is raising the importance of network performance management. Today, it is imperative to monitor the end-to-end network performance from the business user’s perspective, as well as have visibility into whether cloud providers are satisfying their service level commitments.”

Your ability to conduct business from the cloud depends entirely on whether you can guarantee acceptable levels of application performance and uptime from the perspective of all those “new” remote users. In order to do this well, you need to:

  • Continuously ensure the real-time, end-to-end performance of the delivery path from the cloud service environment (whether it’s managed by you or a third party) to your users and back – even over networks you don’t own.
  • Rapidly pinpoint the exact location and cause of performance degradation — even within the virtualized cloud infrastructure itself.
  • Verify that a cloud service provider is meeting service level commitments, and/or compare performance at your location(s) across multiple cloud providers to determine where to host your critical applications.

Are you considering deploying cloud services? If so, join AppNeta on June 9th for the “How to Ensure Your Network Can Handle Cloud Services” webinar, or contact us directly for a live demo to talk more about this transition

To learn more about how AppNeta technology can deliver instant value and immediate insight into your network and readiness for cloud deployment, visit http://www.appneta.com/Cloud-Services/.

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We wanted to share the following blog post from Life as a Healthcare CIO by John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston. Today’s post names PathView Cloud as the Cool Technology of the Week. Read the complete blog post here:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cool Technology of the Week

How many times have you heard the complaint “the application is slow” but lack data about server, network, or desktop performance to facilitate diagnosis and resolution?

In a cloud environment, debugging application issues becomes ever more challenging.

As we all rollout EHRs to small provider offices, often with challenging internet connections, remote monitoring of cloud network performance becomes even more critical.

AppNeta’s PathView microAppliance provides an easy to deploy zero administration network monitoring tool. It’s about the same size as a cell phone and can be placed at remote business locations, requiring only power and an ethernet connection.

You place one of their devices in the locationyou want to monitor network activity.   When you plug it into the wall and an ethernet connection,  it uploads network performance data to AppNeta cloud servers.  You can also place two or more devices in separate locations, and monitor the traffic between those locations.   For EHR cloud providers, it’s simple to configure the device, send it via UPS to a provider practice with instructions to plug into the wall, and gather performance data without complicated onsite network sniffing setups and configuration.

Currently we have deployed these devices at our central EHR private cloud site and two of major remote practices  The level of detail and depth of available metrics and reports is amazing.

A low cost, zero administration, cloud-based, network sniffer that is truly plug and play.  That’s cool!


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