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Posts Tagged ‘RPM

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


It is a sign of the times that I need to clearly define the term “cloud services” if I am going to use it as an entry point to this blog. And since I wouldn’t dare assert my position to be expert enough to properly define this term (any attempt would surely bog down this entire effort), I will turn to the main sources of knowledge of our time…

If I type “Cloud services” into Google, the top response is of course a link to Wikipedia.  The Wikipedia search for “cloud services” gets redirected to “cloud computing” which is defined as:

Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet.

It is nice to see my opening premise is not far off the mark. Simply put, a cloud service is a web-based service that is delivered from a datacenter somewhere, be that the internet or a private datacenter to “computers.” For now, let’s leave the definition of an endpoint alone.  I know that is a big reach, but this is my blog, and it really isn’t the point.  The point is that for all of these services, they are generally delivered from a small number of centralized datacenters and consumed at some relatively large number of remote offices.

That is where things get interesting.

If we lived in a world where email and simple web page delivery was the state of the art, well, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but we don’t.  The mainstream services that are being deployed in education, government, and enterprise accounts are ushering in a completely new level of performance requirements on the networks they depend upon.  Voice over IP (VoIP), video conferencing, IP based storage systems for file sharing, backup, and disaster recovery, and recently the deployment of virtual desktop services all bring with them new performance requirements.  Yes, that means more bandwidth, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  All of these applications also have very real requirements on critical network parameters such as (packet) loss, end to end latency, and jitter.   Unlike simple transaction and messaging applications like HTTP delivery and email, when these new “performance sensitive” applications run into in appropriate loss, latency, and jitter, the result is application failure.  Dropped calls and video sessions.  Failed storage services including backup and recovery, and “blue-screens” where virtual desktop sessions belong.  What causes seemingly healthy networks to suffer from latency, loss, and jitter issues?  More on that in a later blog……

Successful cloud service delivery to remote sites is dependent on managing performance at that remote site.  Not datacenter application performance, or server performance, or network device performance.  Service level performance analysis from a remote site is a new topic, and we call it Remote Performance Management or RPM.

Let’s start with the basics, what do we know about RPM.

First, RPM is a location dependent topic.  Of course, the traditional datacenter performance management issues need to be dealt with.  That is part of datacenter service delivery 101.  No debate.  But if we care about the service quality that the users are experiencing, then we need to understand performance from the perspective of the end user, at the remote site.

Next, we need to address the complete performance management lifecycle.  Simply put, Assess the remote office performance PRIOR to service deployment; Monitor the remote office performance DURING service operations, Troubleshoot issues QUICKLY (like you’re there), and Report on the good, the bad, and the ugly.  When you add it all up, you need a broad set of capabilities to meet these needs

Finally, we need to keep it simple, affordable, and scalable.  The problem with most solutions around the remote office is not the device cost, but rather the administrative cost.

The bottom line is that if you are attempting to deliver today’s critical services for remote site consumption, you need to understand performance, so you’d better check your RPMs…….

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.

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