Make IT perform

The Industry’s trend to move from real client-server applications in favour of centralised, web-based programmes is going forward fast. In addition, many companies, no matter from which industry, are in the process of moving their voice communication towards a partially or even fully integrated Voice over IP system. As a result additional data (VoIP control and call traffic) will be transported on the existing data network. Together with the fact that MPLS has reached many companies as well, there are new challenges IT managers are confronted with today if they have aligned their IT strategies to follow these trends.
    
Monitoring and troubleshooting converged environments also means that the different groups (silos) within the IT organisation will have to grow a lot closer together because they are sharing the same infrastructure to deliver different services to the end users. As a result, there will be a larger overlap with respect to the monitoring and management tools the different IT groups (functions) will use. The fact that different management solutions will present similar information from different data sources in a completely different way does not help the communication between the members of the IT organisation either.
    
Hence, there is a need for an integrated platform to manage Application, VoIP and Network Performance, which is capable of delivering broad enterprise or carrier network visibility, as well as deep analysis and troubleshooting. This allows IT organisations to maximise the value and performance of their IT infrastructure and deliver a superior end-user experience.

Some of the new challenges
Data Centers – Escalation Process Owner: There are multiple infrastructure pieces in a data centre (routers connecting the data centre to other locations, distribution switches, load balancers and of course the servers running the applications) that can have a negative impact on the performance of an application (Data or VoIP). In case of application performance degradation, the question is who owns the escalation? Is it the Network, Server or Application “department”?
    
The solution? One integrated performance management system (Network, Server and Data-/VoIP-Application) that is capable of sorting out the escalation by pinpointing the problem domain.
    
WAN Management – Lack of visibility: The WAN becomes more and more of a “Black Hole.” The reason is MPLS. Carriers are migrating their networks to support higher traffic volumes as well as the need to reduce distances between branches and/or headquarters to support new technologies such as VoIP. MPLS allows the carrier to create a virtual network for each customer with what we call “any to any” connections. The positive effect is that headquarters traffic volumes drop dramatically. In addition, distances a packet (VoIP or data) has to travel between two sites could be reduced by 100 per cent or more, which has a great impact on performance.
    
Visibility, however, becomes a real challenge in these environments, since not all traffic is routed through a central location where it could be monitored. With “any to any” connections, the visibility from the central location is gone.
    
The solution? Depending on the depth of information needed, existing infrastructure information from the Routers (even from carrier edge routers) can be used to gain back the broad visibility. For the in depth analysis and troubleshooting, dedicated HW can be deployed at key locations. All the information from the sources can then be managed in the integrated performance management system.

Trouble shooting
Remote/Branch Office – On site staff: Imagine a remote office or a branch office, that has no IT staff on site, a few hours away from the HQ. To gain visibility into the performance of the network and applications on that site is one thing. But to troubleshoot such a problem is a completely different story. Usually it means to send someone from the IT staff to the site with an analyser to collect information which allows them to understand the root cause of a problem and to solve it. This is certainly not the most efficient way of dealing with a challenge like that. Apart from the cost and travel time for the IT person to go on site, the actual down- or browntime is a large factor.
    
The solution? Instead of having no visibility and/or having to send staff onsite for troubleshooting, there are options available today that allow you to gain visibility into remote sites for remote WAN/LAN monitoring and troubleshooting from a central location. The information from the sites will be centrally collected, stored and presented on the integrated platform allowing the isolation of problem domain and fast problem resolution without having to travel onsite.
    
Fluke Networks offers Performance Management solutions that provide superior visibility to more effectively optimise network, VoIP and application service delivery to your end users. Our solution, Visual Performance Manager is a unified system that provides unparalleled breadth of visibility, coverage and depth of analysis for end-to-end application, VoIP and network performance management.For more information
www.flukenetworks.com

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