Modern applications enable enterprises to scale faster with better efficiency and resilience. The main advantage of a multi-cloud/hybrid cloud infrastructure is in its highly distributed architecture that offers proximity – bringing end users closer to the service provider. Cloud computing has transformed application delivery and brought in the era of “everything-as-a-service.”
The digital ecosystem has become very diverse; the building blocks of which are a mix of complex components and third-party services. Managing the network that binds these components together is critical to maintaining digital experience. With so many service providers involved, complete visibility into application performance is not possible.
Traditional device-centric network monitoring solutions do not provide sufficient visibility or the ability to analyze and correlate data that is necessary to maintaining service availability and reliability. It’s time to take a look at how to transform and adapt network monitoring strategy to effectively manage the performance of modern applications.
Goals of Network Monitoring
Before discussing how to redefine network monitoring strategies, let’s define the goals of such a strategy. This will help you better understand what to monitor and how.
Monitoring data helps you:
- Gain visibility into network architecture.
- Understand end-user experience – availability, reachability, performance, and reliability.
- Analyze network health and utilization – packet loss, latency, and jitter.
- Detect and alert performance issues quickly.
- Improve root cause analysis.
In addition to these goals, consider at what stage your organization is in your digital transformation journey and the different challenges that comes with that transformation.
- Managing multi-cloud/hybrid environment - Performance and availability are heavily influenced by the performance of your SaaS, IaaS, and/or PaaS provider. Can you identify from the end user perspective how your application performs across different geographies and providers? As you plan, migrate, or support applications in the cloud, you need to understand how or if performance will change and independently validate SLAs. Recent research shows that 51% of organizations do not have effective performance monitoring tools in place for dynamic and hybrid environments.
- Supporting remote employees - With remote employees, it’s not just your corporate network you have to worry about, but also the network at your employees’ homes. Are SaaS and internal applications available from all geographies where you have employees? If a regional ISP is having problems, how does that impact application performance? Having visibility into application performance and availability from their vantage point results in happy, productive employees.
- Tracking network bandwidth - As employees increasingly use personal devices at work, networks may see increased traffic and congestion. Increased network traffic can have a negative impact on business-critical applications. How do applications perform on the network? Can users access internal and SaaS applications? Being able to monitor critical business applications from the corporate network reduces help desk calls complaining about poor application performance.
- Refreshing monitoring solutions - Even if you aren’t currently considering or supporting one of the above situations, but are looking to refresh or replace existing solutions, now is the time to choose a toolset that will grow with your organization.
Transforming Network Monitoring
The first step towards transforming network monitoring at your organization is to analyze the current state of monitoring –the solutions used, how effective these are, and what value they add to your ITOps and SRE teams. Addressing the challenges discussed above and aligning network monitoring goals with the overall monitoring strategy is the next step in the process.
Digital experience monitoring (DEM) should play a central role in any effective monitoring strategy. Figure 1 illustrates the different steps and processes involved in DEM.
Proactive monitoring with synthetic monitoring methodology can help detect issues faster, reducing the impact on end-user experience. A network monitoring strategy for modern applications must consider the different vendors/third-party services that are beyond the control of the organization.
Here are some additional aspects to consider when building your network monitoring strategy:
- Invest in an external network monitoring solution that offers synthetic monitoring. With synthetic monitoring, you can analyze network peering, BGP, ingress, and egress. You gain visibility across the entire network, making it easier to detect and resolve issues, from the last mile to any peering issues.
- Implement synthetic monitoring to track and analyze internal network health, including bandwidth, latency, error rate, jitter, throughput, and traffic management. You gain visibility into network capacity, configuration, and any third-party service issues.
- Combine synthetic monitoring data with real user monitoring (RUM) to corelate real end-user experience with business outcomes. You gain visibility into infrastructure health and SLA breaches.
Redefine Network Monitoring With Catchpoint
Software, platforms, and infrastructure have all become a “service” and hybrid and multi-cloud environments are becoming the norm. Thus, monitoring strategies must shift from individual, silo-based system to a more unified, data-driven system.
Catchpoint supports such a holistic monitoring approach to provide customers end-to-end visibility of the network (Figure 2), as well as the application infrastructure. Equinix, a Catchpoint customer, is a leader in the digital infrastructure space providing a platform that guarantees flexibility, scalability, and security. The company is a strong proponent of utilizing network monitoring tools to ensure digital experience.
“From multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud to distributed and edge cloud environments, network monitoring tools provide visibility across these environments and measure the impact of network components (routers, switches, etc.) and endpoints(containers, VMs, etc.) on service delivery.” - Zac Smith, Managing Director, Bare Metal at Equinix.
Figure 2: Traceroute highlighting packet loss in the network path.
To achieve this level of visibility, there are some important features that the network monitoring tool must offer:
- Real-time network diagnostics that leverage packet capture and performance data for every layer in the network and infrastructure.
- Ability to analyze end-to-end network path to identify latency and performance degradation.
- Integrate multiple data sources to build comprehensive dashboards and reports.
- Alerting with minimum noise and considering established thresholds.
The network monitoring solution you invest in must correlate and analyze performance of applications, network, and infrastructure across complex environments. With this in mind, the Catchpoint platform offers an array of network-specific tools such as:
These different network monitoring capabilities allow you to proactively detect and resolve issues throughout your entire network, to improve end users’ digital experiences.
Watch this video to understand how a company like Equinix utilizes Catchpoint or click here to learn more about how you can use Catchpoint to transform your network monitoring strategy today!