Cloud computing is fueling tremendous changes in IT. As applications are moving to the cloud, enterprises are realigning their networks from the typical branch-office/central-office connectivity to accommodate cloud services. Many enterprises are planning to migrate their WANs to the Internet (46% according to Nemertes). And, with Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN), enterprises can benefit from the economy of the Internet without compromising reliability and quality.
These transitions mean your once private network will now include the public Internet. Your applications are no longer just running in private data centers but in public clouds. You are consuming software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that are not managed by the traditional IT, yet you are responsible for supporting these applications over which you have no visibility or control. Consequently, there are ever more challenges to the already complex application and network performance monitoring space.
What follows are three emerging requirements you cannot afford to ignore.
1. SaaS Performance Monitoring
When it comes to SaaS, you have no visibility into how well the applications are performing. Worse yet, users access SaaS applications from the public Internet. The multiple administrative domains inherent to SaaS present plenty of finger-pointing opportunities among different organizations.
Traditional network performance monitoring tools do not provide visibility into public networks. Innovative performance monitoring tools are entering the market using a combination of DNS, Web, and network-active testing to replicate end-user experience and improve visibility into the public network. They promise that you can proactively identify cloud performance issues and quickly identify whether the problem is inside your network or in the public domain.
The potential pitfall of such a SaaS performance monitoring solution is that it can become a siloed tool, and it lacks the deep visibility that traditional network performance monitoring tools provide for managed network devices. Enterprises do not desire another silo – the better approach is to combine traditional network monitoring with the new active testing capabilities to get the best of both worlds.
2. End-User Experience Monitoring
Enterprise Management Assoc iates (EMA) found that network operations teams are increasing their focus on higher-level objectives beyond simply network availability and performance. Good user experience means good business, so it is not surprising that service quality (66%) and end-user experience (59%) are becoming important issues for network operations teams, according to EMA.
However, traditional network performance monitoring solutions are delivered as network probes, using packet capture to gather response time, packet loss, and delay metrics. This type of solution does not truly reflect the real user experience. More importantly, a probe-based solution falls short with increasingly mobile users who are accessing applications in the cloud from anywhere. Quite simply put: You cannot deploy probes everywhere.
3. SDN Evolution
Enterprises are beginning to explore SD-WAN for a better, cheaper, and faster WAN in support of the new cloud workload. Visibility is a key use case in the world of SD-WAN. Although Software-Defined Networking vendors are including monitoring as part of the SDN solution – providing visibility into applications with user-oriented metrics – EMA notes that enterprises are still looking to current tools to manage SDN.
In many ways, wireless shares many characteristics with SDN, with its wireless LAN controller and its own independent management solutions. The separation of wired and wireless solutions is going away, so one would expect the same with SDN over time. Unified management of wired and wireless is the new norm. Therefore, it only makes sense to prevent SDN from becoming another silo requiring its own independent management tools stack.
Cloud and mobile are driving additional complexity in the application delivery chain. Adopting new technologies does not necessarily imply a new siloed management solution. Where possible, you should drive toward an integrated solution, extending existing tools to support new trends and technologies.
The complex application delivery environment means many potential points of failure and performance degradation. It is no longer sufficient to simply monitor the infrastructure – you need to adopt the perspective of the end-user. User experience monitoring should be high on your network monitoring agenda.