AppNeta | The Path

Posts Tagged ‘Path

Many Network Managers are Putting off Deployment of Next-Generation Apps.
Our new report, “The State of the Path,” provides some really interesting insight into the issues that are causing network managers to delay their deployment of next-generation applications.
Based on a survey that targeted hundreds of network managers, we found that network concerns outside of managers’ control are slowing application deployments, especially for VoIP and Unified Communications. Apparent understands that network managers are completely on board with these next-generation technologies, but they are not confident enough in the third-party network performance necessary to make these technologies meet their performance requirements.
We’re committed to helping network managers address these issues through our patented path visibility to ensure that deployments of these new applications will work properly and deliver the desired operational improvements.
We recently introduced PathView as a streamlined, yet powerful way for network managers to evaluate the performance of their networks. Information about PathView, as well as a free trial download, is available at http://www.apparenttools.com.
We’re at Cisco Live in San Francisco (booth 443) this week. Pay us a visit and we’ll provide you with more details about how we can make you the next network hero.

Our new report, “The State of the Path,” provides some really interesting insight into the issues that are causing network managers to delay their deployment of next-generation applications.

Based on a survey that targeted hundreds of network managers, we found that network concerns outside of managers’ control are slowing application deployments, especially for VoIP and Unified Communications. Apparent understands that network managers are completely on board with these next-generation technologies, but they are not confident enough in the third-party network performance necessary to make these technologies meet their performance requirements.

We’re committed to helping network managers address these issues through our patented path visibility to ensure that deployments of these new applications will work properly and deliver the desired operational improvements.

We recently introduced PathView as a streamlined, yet powerful way for network managers to evaluate the performance of their networks. Information about PathView, as well as a free trial download, is available at http://www.apparenttools.com.

We’re at Cisco Live in San Francisco (booth 443) this week. Pay us a visit and we’ll provide you with more details about how we can make you the next network hero.

-JimM

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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

While building AppCritical Version 3.6, our development team had many spirited discussions about the underpinnings of networked services and applications. Services delivered over a network have been around since…well, since before the Internet. This isn’t a history lesson so we can skip the details. What’s important is that this model of computing and communications has thrived during all the technology paradigm shifts over the years, including today’s cloud computing initiatives. I think the reasons for this long-term success boil down to layers, encapsulation and path. Let’s briefly look at each and see how they enable simple network communication.

Layering: Build a stack of functionality, with each layer building upon the capabilities of lower layers.

Encapsulation: Keep complexity in a ‘box’ and don’t let it influence other layers. Layers aren’t concerned about other layer’s functionality and complexity; in fact they are obliviously to it.

Path: An abstracted view of the communication channel between a provider and a consumer. Applications view the network as a path because it is the most convenient and powerful abstraction available.

Let’s look at the Internet Protocol suite:

  • Application: HTTP, SMTP
  • Transport: TCP, UDP
  • Network: IP, ICMP
  • Link: Ethernet, Wi-Fi

With this arrangement, a task such as viewing a webpage, which is actually quite a complex process, is simple because you provide the location of the webpage and everything else is taken care of for you. This is the path concept in action – define server and client end points and just let everything else happen. All four layers of the client and the server are involved, but the user isn’t concerned nor should they be. It just works as we expect because complexity is abstracted away.

Just as viewing a webpage is simple; understanding a network from an application’s perspective is a convenient and powerful means to understanding network performance. Application perspective, or ‘path centric’ as we sometimes call it, breaks the network into logical elements from client to server and lets everything else take care of itself. You don’t need to concern yourself with device locations, special access requirements or even different types of network technologies. With a path-centric view, you know when the network is performing up to your expectations, and if not, why not.

– Chris Norris
Director, Product Management

Scott Kirsner recently wrote a great Boston Sunday Globe story and related blog post on the innovation coming out of the Boston area relating to cloud computing. There’s no question that cloud computing is having a dramatic impact on the way we think about networks and how all of us will use them going forward.  

All of us at Apparent Networks are excited to be one of the local companies that’s driving this wave of innovation. We’re also proud that our efforts were recognized recently by the Massachusetts Network Communications Council (MassNetComms) who selected us as a Finalist for their prestigious Cloud Computing Company of the Year Award. Our innovation in this and other areas of network performance management has also been recognized by investors, who recently provided us with a  $12 million round of funding.

But most important to us is the fact that we’re helping enterprises to get their arms around this new, cloud-based delivery of their critical applications. We firmly believe that cloud-based delivery of applications and services will drive tremendous operational efficiencies for all kinds of organizations – as long as they manage it properly.

As Kirsner mentions, cloud computing represents a great opportunity for businesses to reduce costs and receive additional flexibility for the services they rely on as part of their operations. He also points out that large companies will take longer to figure out how these services relate to their existing operations and whether they’re secure and reliable enough.

At Apparent, we’ve observed many of the reliability concerns that these companies have with cloud computing, as well as the finger-pointing that can occur when organizations can’t effectively identify where a problem occurs during application delivery. We’re seeing significant traction among both service providers and service consumers for a service that helps them address this issue and overcome the reliability concerns that serve as a barrier to fully realizing the benefits of cloud computing.

As we’ve said previously, with end-to-end path visibility, companies will be far better positioned to both provide and consume these cloud-based services. The growing momentum for them in both the Boston region and globally is definitely positive for Apparent Networks, and other businesses that will benefit from these cloud-based services.

– Jim M

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If you have been around IT or technology in general for more than a couple of years, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “The network is the computer.”  Often this is mistakenly attributed to Sun Microsystems’ founding CEO, Scott McNealy – when actually it was another Sun visionary, John Gage, who first uttered these now-famous words.

John was oh so right – and wrong. 

The relevance of the network as a method of allowing other “computers” to share information seamlessly has grown to the point where it has become nearly impossible to separate the layers of a service delivery mechanism into the “compute,” “storage,” security” or “network” elements anymore.  And even if you manage to decompose a service into its functional elements – to what end?  To wit, Amazon’s AWS or Google’s App Engine or Microsoft Azure.  Go ahead – rip ‘em apart and point to the layers, I dare you. 

In fact, the boundaries between these traditional IT layers have become so blurry that it’s hard, very hard indeed, to indentify a leading vendor in any one layer that doesn’t also play (and play well) in two or three others.  Cisco – a networking only company? Not anymore.  EMC – storage, sure, but lots more too. The list goes on and on.

What does this have to do John Gage being almost right?  Simply put, it’s the fact that as we build, buy, rent or mash-up services today, we’re leveraging the IP-based network as far more than just a computer – the network (or networks) is actually the platform that serves as the foundation for the next generation of IT service delivery. The network is the platform.  

But in any service based on network, there is always one component exchanging information with another component (be they physical, virtual, or a mix of both…) – or said another way, a source and a destination.  When you plot out this communication and understand how the information moves and what types of conditions it must contend with as it moves back and forth, you quickly arrive at another fundamental:  the network path. 

I’m excited to be here at Apparent Networks because “path” is important. So important that the Apparent team has developed an entire solution around enabling you to understand and manage your network paths – regardless of  where they go or what travels across them. 

Please join me on this blog in the future as I share more about the previously invisible link between service source and destination- the network path.

 

Matt Stevens

CTO, Apparent Networks

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Our customer announcement with BCS Global today really highlights two key points. 

First, whether you’re a provider or a consumer of cloud-based applications or services, it’s very likely that you are experiencing management challenges with those services. 

Second, for innovative organizations that really want to leverage the cloud, there is an effective way to address the inherent IT management challenges. It’s called “Path-based” management.

It is my contention that without an unobstructed view and a clear understanding of the end-to-end path your application traffic takes through the cloud, there is no way to properly manage that traffic – either as a service provider or consumer.  All the other network management tools out there only let measure and monitor the gear you own and control. The view they provide covers just your own environment, which is only a fraction of what you need to see and assess if you want to run your business based on distributed or cloud applications.

So it is quite clear to me that without a path perspective, cloud computing ultimately won’t work. 

Whether you’re on the business side or in IT, if you’re frustrated with the performance and management information you’re getting with these new applications, we highly recommend that you take a new perspective – the Path perspective.

To manage application delivery reliably and confidently over today’s distributed, multi-party networks, you need hop-by-hop visibility all the way through – from one end to the other. Apparent Networks is the only vendor that can give you this capability today. 

Keep your eye on the Path!

Jim Melvin

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