Optimizing Your Cloud Transformation: How Experience-Driven NetOps Can Help
by Alec Pinkham Alec Pinkham on

Introduction: The Move to the Cloud and the Implications

In a relatively short time frame, businesses have started to place increasingly significant bets on their cloud services. It isn’t just more workloads, but more business-critical workloads that are now running in the cloud, including in IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS environments.

This has fundamentally changed the nature of network traffic for enterprise users. Increasing volumes of transactions and transmissions are traversing the internet, with users going directly to the cloud provider’s network. Further, given the prevalence of remote work, the corporate network may be bypassed entirely for an ever-broader swath of users’ daily activities.

These new realities present a completely different paradigm for network operations (NetOps) teams. In years past, a big percentage of network traffic would be running within corporate networks, and fairly easy to track and manage. That’s now changed fundamentally.

Further, the way networks are architected has evolved. Now, a number of infrastructure strategies and technologies may be employed. Many of the monitoring tools used in the past simply weren’t designed for these diverse sets of technologies. This means teams must either juggle a complex array of tools, with point tools employed for each technology or domain, or they have to resign themselves to using a single tool that doesn’t offer complete coverage of anything.

Given these limitations, NetOps teams are confronting major blind spots. They can’t truly understand the user’s network experience, let alone be in a position to optimize it. This lack of visibility can leave an organization exposed to a number of consequences, including performance issues, lost productivity, and lost customers.

As the reliance on the cloud continues to grow, the need to establish complete visibility gets increasingly critical. In spite of all the advantages promised by cloud transformations, this lack of visibility can ultimately diminish or even negate the return organizations receive from their cloud investments.

The Traditional Monitoring Choices, and the Limitations

To ensure their organization’s cloud transformations are successful, IT operations teams need comprehensive network visibility so they can mitigate the blind spots they’re confronting today.

Historically, teams relied heavily on passive monitoring for infrastructure and networks they owned. As the popularity of cloud-based apps continued to grow, active monitoring has gained increased acceptance. Following is an overview of each of these options:

Passive Monitoring

Passive monitoring is typically done via traffic analysis and device data collection. These solutions usually collect network device data via protocols like SNMP, and user traffic through standards like NetFlow.

One of the key limitations of these approaches is that, with passive monitoring alone, teams only find out about issues after they’ve occurred and have already created problems for end users. In addition, these approaches can typically only be applied to network infrastructures that the NetOps team owns and manages. For example, they won’t be able to track WAN connections to third-party SaaS applications.

In years past, this wasn’t such a significant stumbling block. Today, however, that’s not the case. Given the increased reliance on cloud services and remote work, users’ digital experiences are now much more reliant on the internet. As outlined above, internally managed networks continue to account for an ever-smaller percentage of the traffic that users and the business rely on.

Active Monitoring

Active monitoring is usually done via network testing and web synthetics. This enables teams to routinely test network connections and emulate user behavior.

Active testing enables teams to be more proactive, so they can spot and potentially preempt potential issues before they have an impact on the end-user experience. In addition, active monitoring can be employed on virtually any application, whether it’s hosted on premises or in the cloud.

The Requirements: Active and Passive Monitoring Combined

The problem is that today’s NetOps teams don’t need one or the other—they need one solution that combines the key components of both passive and active monitoring. They still need to do traditional, device-centric passive network monitoring. In addition, they have to establish continuous, active testing of application delivery paths, no matter which networks those paths may traverse.

To maximize efficiency and insights, it’s important to leverage unified solutions that combine both of these core capabilities. With these combined capabilities, teams can begin to establish experience-driven NetOps. Through experience-driven NetOps, teams can monitor the entire user experience, hop by hop, transaction by transaction.

Following are a few of the key requirements these solutions need to address:

  • Equip teams with end-to-end monitoring across internal and external networks.
  • Deliver both network and application-level insights, so teams can begin to truly understand the user’s experience.
  • Offer complete coverage, including path, packet, web, and flow data.

Advantages

With experience-driven NetOps, teams can gain a solid understanding of the end-user experience, from a single monitoring point. They can establish a clear picture of normal application performance levels and patterns, and use those as baselines for assessing potential performance issues.

When teams can leverage a single solution that offers a complete network picture, they can be better positioned to track, manage, and optimize the user’s experience. With this visibility, teams can successfully navigate their cloud transformations—and maximize the value derived when they’re running in the cloud.

Conclusion

As cloud transformations continue to grow more common and strategic for today’s enterprises, it falls to NetOps teams to adapt to some fundamentally different network realities and requirements. By harnessing experience-driven NetOps solutions, like AppNeta by Broadcom Software, teams will be able to establish the end-to-end visibility they need to ensure optimal user experiences, no matter where users are or which networks they rely on.

To learn more about AppNeta, be sure to visit our product page, or sign up to request a demo.

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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: Work From Anywhere , Broadcom Software , IT Transformation , Passive Monitoring , Active Monitoring , SaaS , NetOps , End user Experience , Monitoring

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