With the Observer Platform from VIAVI Solutions, we have been able to prove when it is (or isn’t) the network that is the problem. We can also help application programmers and system administrators understand and correct what the problem may be.
VIAVI network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) offer the ability to mine network data and apply deep analysis to optimize IT resources in real time or post-event.
Monitor Network Performance to Gain Valuable Insight
Wondering how to baseline and monitor network performance? Too many fingers pointed at network teams and too little time to read and get ahead of complaints, logs, and reports can be a source of ongoing frustration. The greatest network performance monitoring challenge is knowing where to begin searching for the true source of issues. Decentralized networks, the IoT, SD-WAN, and the complex topology of SaaS cloud solutions have only added to this dilemma.
Need to optimize network performance? In today’s remote working environment, many IT departments have only limited access to remote users and their endpoints. The need for comprehensive infrastructure monitoring and deep insight into the remote end-user experience has never been greater.
The network performance monitoring system, or NPM tools, from VIAVI proactively identify the most serious network issues. IT teams are pointed to solutions through advanced end-user experience scoring, logical diagnostics, and intuitive out-of-the-box workflows. All Observer 3D intelligence can be backed by complete, unaltered packet and flow data, providing the granularity needed to support cybersecurity investigations. VIAVI NPM solutions empower IT teams to dive in quickly, triage network performance issues, and drive intervention before a blackout can occur.
Network Performance Monitoring with Observer 3D and GigaStor
With the introduction of Observer 3D, full-fidelity packet data, flow visibility, and active test insights are bolstered by patented VIAVI end user experience scoring. Over 30 network KPIs are intelligently analyzed through machine-learning driven algorithms to produce improved issue identification and prioritization. Observer 3D uses predictive analytics to optimize network performance monitoring in any hosting environment. This includes public and private cloud, SaaS applications, remote user locations, and on-premises data centers.
With Observer GigaStor, VIAVI delivers the fastest independently validated wire data capture stream-to-disk (S2D) speeds at 60 Gbps in one easy to install appliance, allowing you to scale with the demands of today’s increasingly connected world. GigaStor provides a treasure trove of back-in-time packet data insights along with valuable end-user scoring input to support the Observer 3D platform with every network conversation.
Maintain Peak Performance of all IT Services
Observer provides comprehensive status visibility and insight into critical IT resources. By providing network performance monitoring from the end-user perspective, Observer allows network and operations teams to ensure application delivery and effective IT services through three critical use cases:
- Managing Business Delivery & Cybersecurity Posture: IT teams improve visibility into the end-user experience for critical applications and remote working environments while aligning their own capacity and resources. This enables a more proactive approach to cloud service delivery and cybersecurity in a hybrid environment.
- Mitigating risk from planned and unexpected events: Effective network performance monitoring minimizes the inherent risk, frequency, and impact of project delays, regulatory compliance issues, and cybersecurity remediations. Pre/post cloud migration assessment and benchmarking is a key element of this proactive strategy.
- Solving Performance & Cybersecurity Issues Faster: Cloud-hosted applications can create monitoring blind spots. This makes it challenging to identify the origin, scope, and impact of security and performance issues quickly. Observer replaces siloed responses and subjective end user complaints with end-to-end network visibility and predictive intelligence.
What is Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) and Management?
Also referred to as network performance management, NPM is defined as the practice of measuring, analyzing, and optimizing the quality of service over a network, from the user’s perspective. Effective network performance monitors characterize and report on metrics relevant to IT services and resources. They also provide troubleshooting tools for networks, remote users, applications, or security anomalies along with capabilities designed to improve overall service delivery and end-point receptivity.
Network performance monitoring solutions utilize various data types, including network flow data, active monitoring, packet data, and infrastructure metrics. Armed with comprehensive real-time and forensic data along with superior analytical capabilities, network administrators can manage daily operations and monitor trends to optimize performance while minimizing security risks.
Why is the complexity of performance monitoring growing?
Network monitoring challenges are tied to the growth of remote user access along with the emerging hybrid IT environment in general and cloud-hosted assets specifically. Innovations like server virtualization and software defined networking (SDN) add complexity and visibility obstacles. With control functions previously performed by traditional routers, servers, and firewalls migrating to secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, monitoring practices must adapt quickly. Network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) can help.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) brings convenient, cloud-based delivery of application software, configuration services, and automated software updates to consumers and businesses. SaaS benefits customers through ease of deployment and advanced, cloud-based security features.
- Network tiers and hosting locations continue to multiply. With applications and computing services no longer limited to on-premises deployment, multiple cloud and external geographic locations overlap with traditional local deployments.
- Remote users create visibility challenges by accessing network resources from outside the enterprise environment. The surge of remote workers has led to overloaded VPNs (Virtual Private Network) and troubleshooting headaches as IT teams struggle to monitor remote traffic while maintaining high levels of productivity and cybersecurity.
- Growing complexity has led to the progressive and customizable approach to NPM that brings big data analytics, machine learning, cutting-edge software solutions, and cloud computing into the fold.
Understand how Observer 3D Platform delivers integrated hybrid monitoring visibility:
What are the largest challenges when troubleshooting network performance?
According to the VIAVI Solutions State of the Network Global Study for 2021, measuring underlying network health (e.g., latency, retransmissions) and understanding the end-user experience were the technology challenges most often cited by IT professionals. Network performance monitoring becomes more difficult in distributed, remote work environments. When faced with performance issues, network teams need to know how the end user is impacted and whether it is caused by the network, software, application, mobile app, client, or a combination of factors.
Enterprise network performance management also faces the added challenge of device propagation brought on by the Internet of Things (IoT). Centralizing NPM can be an effective strategy to minimize the siloing that leads to incomplete issue resolution and the lack of overall network-wide visibility needed to troubleshoot issues efficiently.
How can NPM network performance monitoring solutions aid in troubleshooting?
The symptoms are easy to recognize: Slow connections, outages, and intermittency are among the issues most often reported by users. The benefits of network performance monitoring lie in accurately identifying the root cause associated with these symptoms so that quick and effective corrective actions can be taken.
- Forrester Research reports that nearly one-third of all network monitoring and performance issues take over a month to resolve or are never resolved. These unresolved or slowly corrected problems will undoubtedly re-occur without an effective strategy for issue resolution.
- Diagnostic and analytics capabilities of NPM solutions can be used to automate troubleshooting and analysis for any performance or security issues that arise.
- Pre-defined alerts based on performance level thresholds are an essential network performance monitoring tool used to increase awareness of issues before they reach critical (blackout) levels of performance degradation.
- Problem remediation can be accelerated by the capture and long-term storage of all packets, traditional flow, system logs, SNMP, IP (Intellectual Property) and MAC addresses, conversations, and transactions.
- Data retention and advanced analytics allow IT teams to quickly browse backward, tracing massive amounts of traffic post-event to determine when an episode related to service or security occurred. Think of it as an “always-on” video security system for your network.
- Cybersecurity improves significantly when comprehensive network data sources and analytics are leveraged to quickly identify indicators of compromise (IOC), recreate network conversations, and accelerate remediation and clean up after a breach.
What capabilities are needed for a solution to quickly solve problems?
Three key capabilities feed into an effective network performance monitoring strategy.
- User Experience: The most essential of these capabilities is an accurate and timely understanding of the end-user experience. With over 40% of problems first reported by users, the end user experience score is a highly valuable metric. Adaptive intelligence is used to monitor network conditions and interpret inputs from the user perspective. Issue resolution is streamlined while customer satisfaction and retention are enhanced. Read more about our patented end-user experience score.
- Full-Forensic Data: The second key network performance monitoring capability is the availability of full-forensic data for investigations. This includes enriched-flow records detailing historical application, device, and traffic patterns, as well as packet-level data with a more granular level of file and URL information. Troubleshooting success is built upon the capture and retention of all transactions, events, and network conversations through high-capacity forensic capabilities.
- Streamlined Workflows: The third essential capability of a robust NPM solution is the inclusion of streamlined, automated workflows to quickly bridge the gap between problem identification and root cause. Machine learning is used to identify and assess the impact of events on end-users and determine their scope and cause. When problems are reported, IT teams rely on out-of-the-box workflows that accurately score the end-user impact and harness available forensic data to diagnose and resolve the issue.
How can network performance monitors aid existing IT cybersecurity initiatives?
In the past, network operations (NetOps) and security operations (SecOps) teams would remain isolated from one another. Today, a growing number of organizations have converged their IT security and network performance management into one community. This makes logical sense when security-related issues are also common contributing factors behind network service issues.
- Security threat risks can lead to costly downtime or compromised data. Advanced network performance monitoring practices mitigate these risks through high-fidelity forensics and cutting-edge investigation and detection capabilities that accelerate response times.
- Comprehensive NPM solutions enhance security by offering in-depth visibility into traffic traversing the entire network and underlying infrastructure that controls conversation flows.
- Equivalent visibility into the network for SecOps and NetOps teams empowers them to speak the same language. This increases collaboration between the two traditionally isolated departments.
- SecOps and NetOps teams can profile user and device activities, quickly detecting and alerting one another to possible rogue behavior. Documented discovery information helps to quickly restore compromised assets and intellectual materials post-event.
What are the benefits of network performance monitoring?
Technological innovation, strategic cloud migration, and digital transformation are among the common organizational objectives that require highly focused and agile IT teams to remain competitive. This creates challenges for many Chief Information Officers (CIO’s) in creating the appropriate balance between business innovation and operational excellence. A comprehensive network performance monitoring solution supports operational performance and efficiency, allowing IT teams to focus on digital innovation and proactive changes.
- Daily operational management, mitigation of risks from planned and unplanned events, and the investigation and resolution of performance problems are also part of this multi-layered approach.
- Flexible dashboards and reports provide enterprise-wide situational awareness and real-time observability into network health. This enhanced visibility is essential for the risk mitigation of network growth and unexpected events.
- Based on industry research, the average cost for one hour of network downtime is $336,000. This makes staying one step ahead of potential issues, including everything from human errors to configuration issues, essential for maintaining a profitable operation and satisfying customers.
Why is a network performance management system important?
Previously, administrators focused on monitoring baseline network performance, but baseline monitoring is no longer sufficient. The overall focus on operational excellence has many facets with each contributing to ongoing availability, performance, and security.
- Trending: With ongoing network performance monitoring in place, trends can act as a roadmap pointing to potential performance degradations or security threats. These trends can also be compared to performance baselines to detect sporadic or potentially damaging conditions.
- Planning and configuration management: Resource and bandwidth utilization reporting are readily available to support growth-related planning functions. Configuration management is also simplified with improved network visibility.
- Pre and post deployment validation: Utilizing tools like emulation and modeling, proactive pre-deployment validation can prevent unforeseen issues from impacting users. Post-deployment validation allows any real-world network errors to be identified and corrected quickly.
- Security: The importance of keeping networks secure and data protected cannot be overstated. With traffic continuously monitored, potentially harmful files or activities are identified on a real-time basis and escalated accordingly.
What are the key features of a network performance monitoring solution
To effectively monitor performance, create value, enable innovation, and assure ongoing security, several features must be included. Any list of essential features certainly includes continuous real-time monitoring, analysis, and visualization capabilities. With the complexity of today’s networks and the ever-present security threats, any latency associated with awareness and response can be a non-starter.
- Remote Monitoring: The top network performance monitoring solutions also include remote-monitoring capabilities that allow complex operations to collect and analyze data from multiple locations, mobile devices, and cloud deployments. This includes the intelligence required to detect, track, and roadmap new devices and hardware automatically.
- End-User Experience: The end-user is the most important and relevant indicator monitored by a network performance management system. Endpoint performance monitoring and end-user experience scoring are highly recommended features.
- Dashboards: Flexible dashboards, intuitive graphics, and easy-to-read reports are important features for improved IT performance and satisfaction. Network performance monitoring inputs, outputs, and alert levels should be easily customizable and accessible.
- Automation: Diagnosing and correcting issues efficiently without direct oversight is only possible through automation. With cloud propagation bringing an exponential increase in connection paths, minimizing the number of issues requiring direct, manual response by the IT team improves efficiency and operational excellence.
What is included in the network performance monitoring process?
Obtaining the right network overview solution for your organization is just the beginning. Proactive review, analysis, and prioritization are required to ensure valuable software and personnel resources are deployed effectively. Important decisions regarding what to monitor, how to monitor, and how often are necessary prerequisites for baselining your key performance indicators. Alert levels should be set as closely as possible to the actual threshold of service-impacting trends or events to prevent IT overload. These setup considerations must be accompanied by personnel decisions to establish who will monitor, who will receive alerts, and how information will be accessed and shared. With essential network performance monitoring hierarchy and structure in place, operational excellence should be the expected outcome.