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Sow the Seeds for Network Operations Success

I love summer. But I hate the list of gardening chores that come with it. I seem to spend a lot of precious time trying to juggle key tasks ? from mowing the lawn and pruning hedges to evicting weeds from the borders.

Today?s network teams are locked in a similar struggle, as existing and emerging forces place additional pressure on network monitoring and management. Here?s a look at the top four forces that are impacting networks and network operations and how the enterprise can best respond.

1. The Application Economy: Understand the Customer Experience

There are now tens of thousands of apps helping to run businesses and connect people around the world. As the variety, velocity, and volume of apps increases, so too does the pressure on the network ? both in terms of performance and resources. To succeed in the application economy, network teams need access to network monitoring software that not only analyzes performance at a packet or component level but also at a user and transaction level.

Takeaway: Think about how many times your apps need updating on your mobile phone. This is just a small example as to the speed at which changes in applications put pressure on the network. This requires network monitoring software to be able to track the impact of these changes on not only the network but the customer experience.

2. Cloud: Find the Blind Spots

In response to the application economy, organizations are increasingly using cloud-based resources to keep pace with the demand for additional infrastructure and development capacity. While the cloud boosts agility, it also escalates complexity by creating blind spots beyond the doors of the data center. To safeguard the availability of apps and services, network teams need network monitoring software with extended visibility that encompasses off-premises IT resources.

 Takeaway: Think about this ? enterprises are moving workloads out to cloud providers and network access to these apps are no longer over LAN connections, but internet connections. This is a new challenge to manage and monitor connectivity to corporate apps like SAP, SalesForce, etc, for network operations teams today.

3. SDN: Track the Complexity

In today?s application and digital economy and in response to infrastructure agility demands, network architectures need to provide greater flexibility as well. As a result, organizations are increasingly embracing new models, such as software-defined networking, which enables resources to be ramped up or down as business and customer demands evolve. This means the network architecture is constantly changing with objects appearing and disappearing. To ensure nothing falls through the monitoring gap, network teams need network monitoring software that can quickly spot the arrival of a new physical or virtual asset and capture the relevant operational metrics and new relationships.

Takeaway: SDN may close the gap on network automation but also brings with it a complexity unheard of by most network operations teams today. Avoid network monitoring software that doesn?t fully support a wide array of SDN vendors and technology stacks and cannot future-proof your network transformation initiatives. You may not be ready to dive headfirst into the deep end of the SDN pool but when you are, shouldn?t your network monitoring solution be ready to support you?

4. IoT: Scale to Ensure Success

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), the network borders have changed forever. In fact, there are no borders anymore. Smart meters, wearables, and drones are just some of the things that will make up the 80 billion connected devices predicted for 2020. To cope with a dense and borderless network, organizations need highly scalable network monitoring software that can not only capture performance metrics of millions of devices but also analyze them to provide insights into root causes and improvement opportunities.

Takeaway: IoT will push the scale limits of today?s traditional network monitoring. A dense network architecture should be expected from the anticipated tsunami of data that comes with IoT and SDN and these new technologies will cripple most monitoring systems. You should expect a modern network monitoring platform to scale into the millions of monitored items along with support for hundreds of thousands of polled metrics per second. It will be the only way to keep up!

Nip Problems in the Bud

These fantastic four forces can equip the enterprise with super-powers, but their full potential will only be unleashed if your network monitoring software is primed for their arrival and advancement and problems are identified and addressed quickly.

By transforming traditional approaches with a scalable and open network monitoring platform, enterprises will be able to tap into new operational insights and analytics that maximize agility and availability while minimizing risk and cost.

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JeremyRossbach contributed to this article