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Posts Tagged ‘WAN performance

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.

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The reach and popularity of video conferencing, telepresence and visual collaboration services is exploding, enabling business to happen 24×7 around the world. But, if you’re a consumer or provider of these increasingly business-critical applications, you know they depend entirely on one thing: network performance.

IP-based videoconferencing requires high-performance WAN links. This class of applications operates within a narrow Quality of Service (QoS) window. If network bandwidth, latency, packet loss and/or jitter move outside that limited range, performance is disrupted – and conferences dropped or disrupted.

How can organizations deliver the excellent network service quality that video conferencing – along with so many other crucial applications, like cloud services, VoIP, IP storage and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) – require? What does it take to ensure that network performance and QoS stays within that limited range, across an organization’s entire distributed network infrastructure and despite fluctuations in demand?

Many years of experience with customers, including service providers and some of the world’s largest enterprises, show that these are the four key capabilities required:

  1. The ability to continuously monitor all the key network performance metrics (bandwidth, latency, packet loss and jitter) relative to service levels from any location. This is the only way to understand what your users of video conferencing and other IP-based applications are actually experiencing, in real-time.
  1. The ability to monitor network performance all along the service delivery path – even over networks you don’t own. This capability enables you to pinpoint the exact location and cause of performance degradation. It also eliminates the confusion and finger-pointing that can typify network problem resolution. Also, like other IP-based services, the performance of video conferencing services is greatly impacted by the distance packets must travel. So the ability to monitor the entire path enables you to compare performance across multiple providers.
  1. Visibility into all the IP-based applications that are running on the network at any time, and what IP addresses are associated with them. This lets you see how many video conferences (and other bandwidth-intensive IP-based application instances; e.g., streaming audio, BitTorrent sessions, Skype calls) are consuming available bandwidth.
  1. Remote site packet capture and analysis. Relative to video conferencing performance, these capabilities help analyze network problems, monitor WAN bandwidth utilization, gather and report network statistics, and more. Of course, packet capture is also useful for detecting network intrusion attempts, detecting network misuse, filtering suspect network content, etc.

How can your organization quickly and affordably acquire these advanced diagnostic capabilities? Consider the complex network performance management challenges of a business like BCS Global, a leading worldwide provider of managed video conferencing, telepresence and visual collaboration services. This provider must ensure service quality 24×7 across its globally distributed customer base.

BCS Global recently named AppNeta as its network monitoring and WAN performance partner for video conferencing services delivered to thousands of managed endpoints. They made this choice because only AppNeta’s award-winning PathView Cloud suite of performance management services offers all four levels of insight needed to ensure optimal network performance. As an AppNeta partner, BCS Global will leverage PathView Cloud to ensure optimal performance of video conferencing services — offering its customers unmatched insight and time-to-value, while also making sure they get maximum value from their video conferencing investments.

To learn how AppNeta technology can help your organization meet the performance demands of today’s distributed network infrastructure and network-dependent applications like video conferencing, visit www.appneta.com or sign up for a free trial!

Telecommuting in all its forms has been on the rise for years. Today the trend is accelerating dramatically as affordable, cloud-based technology, rising gas prices, and pressure to reduce facilities’ operating costs all converge to make telework more attractive for all — and the enterprise more distributed than ever.

Whether they’re checking e-mail on their iPhones or leveraging their home wi-fi to access secure corporate VPNs, more and more people can work from almost anywhere these days. Echoing the “work from home” trend in the workforce, more and more bricks-and-mortar locations are likewise giving way to virtual offices.

The drive to reduce operating costs is escalating network loads for reasons other than telecommuting. Networks must also meet greater demands for bandwidth at remote offices and branch offices, as enterprises increasingly seek to improve services like Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), storage, and access to applications while at the same time consolidating infrastructure and reducing IT costs.

Whatever the drivers behind the burgeoning numbers of telecommuters in the U.S. and many other countries, one factor is critical: whether they’re at home, in branch offices or across the planet, remote workers need access to corporate data and applications over high-bandwidth, low-latency networks. With today’s IP-based applications, poor performance rapidly leads to application failure and faltering productivity. If you haven’t experienced the frustration of a slow connection or poor performing virtualized application from a remote office, your co-workers have!

Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of network problems for many businesses these days, as more people and more applications – from cloud services and SaaS, to VoIP, to virtual desktops to IP storage to mobile devices – depend entirely on IP-based networks in order to perform properly and deliver critical services.

When faced with resolving problems relating to poor network performance quality and application failure, the ability to isolate issues at remote sites is essential. Network managers not only need insight into how the network is performing, but also need to know what specific applications are running on it,  how they’re performing, and how much bandwidth each application instance is consuming.

Netflow analysis tools can answer these kinds of questions, but they are costly and cumbersome, requiring high-end or redundant network hardware. Consequently, these solutions are almost never deployed to and at the remote offices where netflow analysis capabilities are now so vitally important.

To manage and troubleshoot network performance across town or across the globe, today’s distributed enterprise needs remote performance management capabilities that include both active application performance monitoring and active bandwidth monitoring relative to every remote site, regardless of what network hardware is in place and who owns the network.

The only solution available that cost-effectively gives network engineers and CTOs that level of “active,” enterprise-wide insight into who is using what, where and how it’s impacting the network and the services themselves, is the FlowView add-on module to the PathView Cloud service from Apparent Networks.

Unlike traditional netflow analysis tools, PathView with FlowView requires no special network hardware and consumes essentially no bandwidth. It leverages a no-cost, plug-and-play microappliance infrastructure for generating flow information at any remote site, and also provides a simple and secure remote analysis interface.

To learn more about PathView Cloud and the FlowView Module, visit www.apparentnetworks.com.

Sound familiar? I know this is a question many of you ask yourself regularly, if not daily.

There aren’t too many people that would debate the value provided by understanding flow data: the ability to get deep and near real-time insight into the applications and users that are consuming resources on your network.  Flow analysis has been built into a wide array of network analysis tools so you have more options than ever before to understand your network usage. Additionally, flow tools no longer slow down the performance of routers and firewalls because high end and mid-range hardware is powerful enough to avoid the impact on these devices.

But, until now, getting Flow visibility to and from remote sites has been too expensive and cumbersome. Despite the evident value of understanding flow data, I see some major needs in getting this insight into remote offices in a way that is:

  • Easy – Admins don’t want to manage and maintain another server or software sensors at the remote site.
  • Inexpensive – it needs to be affordable enough to rollout to each office without breaking the bank.
  • Universally available – it needs to work at each office, regardless of which network gear is installed there.

There are solutions that may hit one or two of these, but until now all three have been elusive.  Today, Apparent Networks is officially integrating FlowView into the PathView Cloud service and brings all three benefits to network managers in a simple, cloud based package.

PathView Cloud has been built from the ground up to give you real time performance visibility to and from remote offices. With a cloud-based service enabled by zero-administration microAppliances, remote site organizations are finally able to get true end-to-end performance visibility. BUT, the first thing we hear out of peoples’ mouths is:

With PathView Cloud and the new FlowView module, organizations have an inexpensive option that not only gives them real time performance to and from all remote offices, it can drill down from those reports and view the users and applications in use at those remote offices.

FlowView is unique from most Flow Analysis systems in that it does not take flow feeds from existing network devices. Instead it creates its own flow records. A Gigabit Ethernet switch-tap is included free with the service which runs at line speed and sends a copy of all network traffic to the PathView Cloud microAppliance. We then analyze that traffic and generate Flow records that are securely sent to the cloud service for reporting, and can also be streamed to a local flow analysis tool for companies that have already invested in a tool.

FlowView was designed to be self sufficient, and does not require a span, tap port, or network devices capable of generating Flow records at the remote offices. At a total price of $499 (including one year of service, all hardware, training and customer support) FlowView is dramatically more cost effective than other flow-only solutions on the market and, quite simply, it can’t get any easier to use. Within the web user interface a single switch turns on flow analysis and the collection, streaming to the cloud through a secure, compressed SSL tunnel and in-line reporting with real time performance analytics is all done automatically.

Having issues with the performance from to or from remote offices? Well, you now have a tailor-made solution to finally answer “exactly what is going on at that remote office” in an easy, cost effective and universal package.

Sign up for a free demo, or learn more about FlowView here!

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments are irresistibly appealing to organizations of all sizes, especially those with multiple sites. From browser-based access, to painless installations and upgrades, to minimal IT overhead, seamless scalability, and lower TCO, SaaS is a smart, cost-effective option.

SaaS differs from “cloud” in that SaaS applications can be hosted inside a company’s firewall, as well as remotely. More and more businesses are using SaaS for mission-critical applications like e-mail, financial management, ERP, backup and disaster recovery, HR management, collaboration and CRM. But, by definition, SaaS solutions are accessed over a network – and therefore run into performance challenges, threatening service degradation and more often failure.

Most SaaS deployments are significantly more sensitive to network performance and availability than traditional, on-premise software or even transaction-based network applications like e-mail. This is equally true for a wide range of network-dependent services not generally considered “SaaS,” such as VoIP, video conferencing and virtual desktop infrastructure.

These mission-critical services depend on high-bandwidth, low-latency networks to deliver an acceptable user experience. Issues such as packet loss, latency and jitter can make today’s performance-dependent networked services fail – abruptly! When calls and video sessions are dropped, backups don’t happen and business software disappears into the “cloud,”  and business stops.

The quality of users’ experience is a defining factor in the success of a SaaS deployment. But how do you measure service quality or adherence to SLAs from a remote user’s viewpoint? How do you know when service is degraded or what to do about it? This lack of visibility into the remote user’s experience of hosted services is a major stumbling block preventing organizations, from SMBs to large enterprises, from enjoying the benefits of SaaS.

Apparent Networks’ “State of Cloud Services” survey of network managers released in March 2010, found that:

  • 50% of cloud consumers have no performance measurement SLAs.
  • 75% of cloud users are unable to measure network performance between their users and the cloud provider.

Remote Performance Management enables remote, real-time monitoring of whatever network(s) your SaaS applications or other IP-based services are running on, whether hosted remotely, in-house, or a combination of both.

With Remote Performance Management you can measure end-to-end service quality, troubleshoot performance degradation and pinpoint network problems. Available as a cloud-based service, it takes minutes to install, is highly scalable and cost-effective for organizations of any size.

Visit www.apparentnetworks.com for more information.

What are the top performance challenges when virtualizing infrastructure and services? As organizations make this transition to virtualization, new complexity arises, especially when managing the networks that connect it all. Is there enough network capacity?  How is the network affecting application performance? Is there adequate network response time? These issues can all affect the success of virtualization initiatives.

When you virtualize systems and applications, it is critical that you can see from core virtualized resources to remote clients around the world. These network paths may consist of virtual NICs, virtual switches, hypervisors, connectivity from virtual desktop, soft phones, handsets connected to branch offices, wireless networks, carrier networks, corporate WANs, and more. The question all network managers need to have an answer for is: How is this entire virtual and physical infrastructure performing together and how do I ensure the performance is enough to support the applications and services that traverse it?

One tool that helps you to see through both physical and virtual network to answer these questions quickly is PathView Cloud.

PathView Cloud is a free hosted network management service that resolves many of these issues by providing clear performance analysis from the point of service delivery to the point of service consumption. The PathView tool analyzes performance of your network without putting agents all over. In the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee, you can download, install, and configure PathView Cloud so you can measure total capacity, utilization, latency, jitter, packet loss, and Quality of Service. You can troubleshoot problems with intuitive root cause analysis and monitor the network continuously while comparing performance against pre-set thresholds.  All you need to do is specify a target system and PathView quickly measures the performance of the end-to-end network path; whether the target is a virtual server in the same data center, a virtual desktop client around the world, or any place in between.

PathView can also tell you if your LAN or WAN will support your virtualization-powered fault tolerant or disaster recovery plan.  Install PathView on a system and measure to your secondary host.  PathView will quickly display the key performance indicators you’ll need to feel confident in your infrastructure.

So go ahead, embrace virtualization and all of its benefits. But embrace it with PathView to increase your chances of success.


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