Category Archives: Network Performance Management

When it Comes to Network Performance, Being Proactive is the Key

The best way to solve a big problem is to catch it while it’s still small. Undoubtedly, over the years you have probably heard this same sentiment expressed in a variety of different ways, and it certainly holds true for network monitoring and performance. No matter what business you are in, the importance of proactive monitoring is difficult to overstate.

Information from the research firm TRAC indicates that in 37 percent of cases, IT departments first learn of performance issues from users. Simply put, that is a major problem, because these end-users often don’t even take the time to alert an organization about problems with a website or application, choosing instead to simply abandon it, costing the company money in the process. Not surprisingly, 42 percent of organizations TRAC surveyed reported that improving the quality of the user experience is one of their top strategic goals for managing network performance, but 64 percent said that managing network performance has become more complex over the last 12 months, meaning that some of these companies are unsure as to how they’ll meet that goal.

If your IT is struggling to find and snuff out network performance issues before they become major problems, don’t worry—all hope is not lost. Here are some of the best ways to implement a more proactive network monitoring strategy:

Analyze Performance in Real Time
If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of your users’ experience, you’ll need to find a way to instantly know how a given application is performing at any moment. Simplistic tools merely report response times, but more comprehensive solutions enable network engineers to take a more detailed view of an application and provide some context into the reports being generated. With that information, the engineers have a much clearer understanding of how well or poorly an application or network is performing, and if poorly, what the possible causes are.

Match Equipment with Network Speed  
Increasingly, organizations are turning to 10G and 40G networks. Unfortunately, many of these same companies are using the same network monitoring equipment they used with 1G, and often the legacy technology simply falls short.  With a state-of-the-art monitoring solution that can handle today’s faster networks,  information is available for real-time analysis, alerting, troubleshooting and post-capture “forensic” searches that pinpoint specific network faults or issues.

Implement Sophisticated Alerts and Notifications
With a top-flight alert system, when performance dips below a pre-determined baseline, important contacts are immediately notified. Network traffic is captured quickly, allowing for fast diagnosis and corrective action of minor issues before they become major problems.

Use a Network Traffic Dashboard
With a best-in-class solution that supports real-time dashboards, your IT team can take a broad view of your network or look closely at a specific node or protocol. Any of your IT personnel can instantly view and quickly make sense of information on the dashboard from anywhere on the network, meaning troubleshooting can take place from anywhere that you happen to be working.

Has your business used proactive network management tools to its advantage? Share your experience in the comment section below!

The Changing Landscape in Network Performance Monitoring

Network performance monitoring is increasingly essential to organizations, especially as they transition to 10G+ networks.

In late 2013, TRAC Research, a market research and analyst firm that specializes in IT management, published research findings on key trends in the Network Performance Monitoring market. The research highlighted some challenges and common misconceptions, with the state of Network Performance Monitoring solutions.

Examining insights from more than 500 network performance monitoring user organizations, key findings included:

  • The network is becoming more of a strategic asset. Fifty-three percent of organizations are looking to network performance management to enable networks to support new technology rollouts and major strategic initiatives.
  • Troubleshooting in virtualized environments is a top challenge. Organizations reported that the inability to troubleshoot problems in virtualized environments is a top challenge for using Network Management Systems (NMS). As organizations virtualize their infrastructures, they are finding that the tools they previously deployed are no longer sufficiently effective in these new environments and they are looking for better solutions.
  • 10G networks are challenging to manage. As organizations adopt 10G networks, they are finding that the tools they previously used are no longer sufficient for monitoring and recording high-speed traffic. As a result, they are looking for solutions that are capable of analyzing and reporting issues at 10G line rate.
  • Price is an important factor. Fifty-eight percent of organizations said that vendor pricing for NPM solutions is very important in their selection process. “This shows that organizations are increasingly looking for more flexibility when evaluating NPM solutions and are expecting shorter time-to-value from these deployments.”

On Thursday, February 20, at 8:30 am PST, we’re hosting a webinar on The Changing Landscape in Network Performance Monitoring. TRAC Research Principle Analyst Bojan Simic will join WildPackets to discuss the findings of their research and his insight on the state of the network performance monitoring market. Sign up today to join us. You can register online.

Do you think 10G network performance monitoring tools are too expensive? Think again…

As more and more enterprises make the switch to 10G networks, the ability to perform 24×7 network monitoring is essential. Yet many of the current 10G network monitoring solutions are cost prohibitive because they are designed for recording and analyzing fully utilized, full-duplex, 10G networks.

To overcome this cost obstacle, many organizations try to limp along with their 1G network performance monitoring solutions. But TRAC Research found that there are several key challenges when using this approach, including dropped packets, lack of capabilities for analyzing and searching recorded network traffic, and inability to collect packets at all network locations. Below is a graph from a recent TRAC Research survey that displays the frequency of these problems.

Represented data from TRAC research on network monitoring research

At WildPackets, we know how important it is to have a full-featured network performance monitoring solution in place. And we also know that not every 10G network segment needs a six-figure appliance capable of monitoring a full 20G of network traffic. For this reason, WildPackets created a new midrange 10G solution with our new OmniAdapter 10G MX. This new 10G analysis solution allows network engineers to get visibility into less demanding 10G networks at a reasonable price. It is packed with a ton of capabilities, providing the ability to analyze and report network issues from all network locations.

Below are several areas that OmniAdapter 10G MX addresses, and that other packet-based network performance monitoring solutions often miss.

Collects every packet at all locations 24X7, minimizing network outages
Omnipliance Core with OmniAdapter 10G MX allows you to fully identify and address the conditions causing a network problem, monitoring all data coming in and out of the network. As a result, you are able to better understand why a problem occurred in the first place.

Reliable and deep insight into data collected
WildPackets’ new 10G solution provides organizations with the insight into how their networks are operating, with the additional benefit of evaluating how the network will continue to perform as network demand grows. With this added insight, organizations can easily detect network bottlenecks and remedy the issues in a timely and effective manner.

Rich reporting and search capabilities
Omnipliance Core’s enhanced capabilities help organizations reduce the time it takes to solve 10G network issues. With a new, intuitive user interface and Expert analysis and filters, organizations are able to detect network anomalies faster and more reliably.

In addition to these capabilities, WildPackets new 10G network monitoring solution is able to address the key capabilities organizations need per TRAC’s research. These capabilities are highlighted below.

Represented data from TRAC research on network monitoring research

Interested in learning more? Check out our What’s New in OmniPeek page.