Managing Branch Office Network Performance in the Cloud Era
by February 22, 2012

Filed under: Industry Insights

An increase in cloud services means more remote office-based users than ever. According to studies by Gartner and others, 85% to 90% of the average company’s employees now work away from the main corporate office taking full advantage of our cloud era. Those remote workers still need the same high-quality experience of application access and performance as employees at headquarters, especially because many of them have customer-facing roles.

Branch locations often have lower-performing network technology to begin with, and the ongoing practice of consolidating IT resources away from branch locations further compounds network QoS challenges. Meanwhile, the need for pervasive wireless connectivity and mobile device support has rapidly become the norm.

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Given all that, it is no surprise that many remote office employees complain of chronically poor application response time and reliability.

Trends around cloud computing and SaaS adoption turn the heat up even higher. Cloud-based applications and data are not only “more remote” but also more dependent on network performance. Accessing more and more remote services over the WAN greatly increases the likelihood of bandwidth, latency and QoS issues, and further complicates the task of managing the performance of remote office networks.

As the network manager, the ability to validate and assure service quality is essential. Yet you often lack visibility into the user experience. This is particularly true for cloud and SaaS services, since these may not pass through a central monitoring point and are delivered over highly complex multi-owned third party networks.

IT is also challenged with troubleshooting in today’s bandwidth-hungry, network-sensitive applications. Is degrading application performance a result of insufficient bandwidth, inefficient application design, spikes in network usage, or some other issue that you can’t see? Sending network engineers to remote sites is expensive, and often fails to resolve intermittent problems. A lack of visibility and performance metrics also makes it difficult to optimize the network or plan for new services or capacity upgrades—a major concern as more and more organizations transform their network architectures to better support cloud services.

To pinpoint and rectify problems and ensure the quality of cloud and SaaS applications (as well as other bandwidth-intensive, IP-based services like IP storage, VoIP, video conferencing and virtual desktop infrastructure), you need the capability to remotely monitor bandwidth, latency and other key metrics across the network path end-to-end—from branch locations to third-party clouds and back, regardless of who owns the networks.

End-to-end visibility into network performance is the only way to know what services are consuming what network resources; and to understand the level of service quality remote users are experiencing. It is also extremely helpful for monitoring and tuning network performance in the context of cloud-driven network topology changes and the rollout of new, IP-based services.

AppNeta’s Performance Manager meets the requirements of any size organization for remote office network monitoring and management. It delivers unlimited insight and is simple and cost-effective to deploy and manage, while readily scaling to meet the evolving needs of today’s branch and remote locations and their diverse cloud service traffic.