Combating Enterprise IT Ops Challenges in China
by June 20, 2016

Filed under: Industry Insights

Many of our enterprise clients are growing and expanding to more remote locations around the world, especially in areas of high economic growth such as China and India. Accelerated business growth can be exciting and full of potential, but it comes with lots of strategic and tactical challenges for the business.

When it comes to remote locations in heavily regulated and censored areas of the world like China, enterprise IT Ops teams must be prepared to support a new, unexplored and little-understood networking world that’s behind a heavily controlled firewall. That means figuring out how to see into networks and apps beyond that firewall while gaining control and visibility even in challenging locations.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve added 46 new monitors across the globe to our AppView Global synthetic monitoring, including monitors across Europe, the US, Asia and specifically in India, mainland China and Hong Kong. By having monitors both inside and outside the Great Firewall, AppNeta customers will be able to understand the impact of the Great Firewall on their business.

To help prepare you for ongoing network operations challenges at enterprise locations in China, we’ve put together this quick list of monitoring must-haves:

1) Actionable performance data that goes beyond availability

  • Due to the highly complex, changing and dynamic networking environment within China, IT Ops teams need to monitor network and app performance and not simply application availability.
  • Hop-by-hop performance monitoring will give you actionable insights into poor performance with key metrics for each and every hop from your user through the internet and into the application.
  • Performance metrics at each hop: latency, round-trip time, data loss and jitter from all your remote locations into all your applications.

2) Traffic monitoring from behind and just outside the Great Firewall of China

  • To understand the impact of the Great Firewall on your network and app performance, you need to baseline the performance against a local monitor just outside China.
  • Here is a quick example we set up, monitoring our website (AppNeta.com) from within the Great Firewall in Shanghai as well as just outside it, in Hong Kong.
Data-Loss-Shanghai-(image-2)

Behind the Great Firewall: Slow due to regulation and censorship (hop-by-hop path from Shanghai to AppNeta.com)

  • Many more hops: 10 hops within China and the Great Firewall alone
  • Higher RTT at Great Firewall: Hop 10 had a 348 ms RTT
  • Data loss of 20 to 40%: Anything beyond 2% loss renders most web apps useless to end users
Path-from-Hong-Kong-(Image-3)

Outside the Great Firewall: Slow due to distance (hop-by-hop path from Hong Kong to AppNeta.com)

  • Fewer hops: Two hops within HK before reaching the transatlantic network
  • RTT increases only with distance: Hops 3 and 4 across the transatlantic increase to over 200ms
  • Data loss less than 2%: Users are impacted but the app is still performant and usable.

3) Continuous monitoring is required

  • In China’s highly dynamic networking environment, changes and blocks occur all the time without notice or logic due to censorship regulations and the Great Firewall.  
  • Continuous monitoring is required to ensure IT Ops is aware of any random internet network changes, regardless of when they occur, that may have a big impact on network and application performance and could result in user experience issues.
  • Continuous performance monitoring ensures IT Ops remains proactive and is never surprised by erratic network changes impacting users on the other side of the world.

4) End-user experience visibility

  • Beyond application and network performance metrics, you need to understand the user experience from within major cities in China.
  • Monitor app performance and experience the network as your users would with synthetic monitoring. Get visibility from the user perspective at each step of your users’ workflow.
  • Make sure you have monitoring coverage within the major metropolitan business cities in China where your users are. Or if you prefer, deploy appliances running synthetics from behind your corporate firewall to get an even more precise measure of user experience.

5) Diagnostics when things go wrong

  • Understand what is actually happening when application and network performance is poor for your users at remote locations.
  • Performance data is a great indicator of the health of your network and applications but this needs to be combined with diagnostics to ensure you can quickly find the root cause and resolve the issue.

Monitoring performance and ensuring successful user experiences within China’s highly censored and regulated internet network can be a daunting task. Following our simple checklist can help you tackle the growing problem of poor visibility. Ultimately, you need a solution that combines the power of synthetics and user experience impacts with hop-by-hop network visibility across the backbone of the internet from your users to the application. This powerful combination of user experience impact data with critical network data and visibility will help you gain back control of remote and highly censored user locations.

To learn more about our launch you can read our press release here.