Network Visibility Isn’t the End Goal
by Joe Michalowski on

The day security and monitoring appliances were added to network infrastructure was the day that visibility became a major IT concern. However, IT complexity has grown exponentially in recent years, making network visibility a bit of a buzzword.

Perhaps the biggest reason is the widespread shift to cloud computing. Cisco research found that by 2019, 89% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers. For all the benefits of cloud-based workloads, the reality is that cloud applications present new monitoring challenges.

Maximizing network visibility is more important than ever. And yet, our jobs aren’t done when we do so.

When you’re trying to improve security and application performance, network visibility is only as good as the actions you can take because of it.

3 Ways Cloud Computing Impacts Visibility

You’ve been managing cloud workloads for years, now. But that doesn’t change the fact that network visibility was easier to maintain when all workloads were run through on-premises infrastructure.

Now that multi-cloud and hybrid cloud have become the norm, network admins suffer from the following visibility challenges:

  • Security Blind Spots: Traditionally, IT could monitor traffic for security by capturing data packets as they flowed through physical, on-premises network devices. But cloud traffic can flow between virtual machines and application instances without ever hitting these physical devices, now. Attackers can exploit any blind spots in network visibility if the challenge isn’t addressed.
  • Ineffective Analytics: When you can’t see all the network traffic, you can’t export every packet to your monitoring and analytics tools. As a result, you can miss key data that would otherwise let you know of any user experience issues.
  • Complex Data Collection: The visibility problem is exaggerated by the fact that you aren’t just dealing with a single cloud data center. Because you’re working with multiple cloud environments, you need to collect highly-dispersed datasets without dropping packets.

Overcoming these challenges to achieve total network visibility is hard enough as it is. There’s a whole market full of vendors specifically focused on delivering solutions that create more visibility-friendly IT infrastructure.

Solving the network visibility challenge isn’t an end goal. Rather, once we solve that problem, we gain the opportunity to address the real challenge—maintaining the end-user experience.

End-User Experience Is the End Goal of Visibility

As great as it would be to embrace SaaS and other cloud-based applications as “set-it-and-forget-it” solutions, we can’t. Even if you aren’t directly managing the workloads, end-users will be coming to internal IT teams with problems, not cloud providers.

That’s why network visibility has to be used to feed IT insights—regardless of where the workloads exist.

When you’ve solved for network visibility, you know that your monitoring solutions are seeing each and every packet. From there, you can track the entire end-user experience and derive valuable, actionable insights.

The benefits your business gains from cloud-based workloads are canceled out when you can’t capitalize on visibility to guarantee applications are successfully delivered to end users. Having the full context for application experiences means you can be proactive as an IT department—identify potential anomalies in traffic that would indicate a cyber attack; resolve experience issues before they impact end users; and troubleshoot with pinpoint accuracy.

Taking network visibility and turning it into actionable insights requires the right monitoring solution. If you want to learn more about the need for total cloud visibility, check out our free white paper.

Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: end user experience , network monitoring , network visibility