5 Common Blind Spots Hindering Network Transformation
July 24, 2019

Jay Botelho
LiveAction

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It's no secret that IT professionals are overwhelmed with the evolving technology landscape. According to a recent study, 42% of network operations (NetOps) professionals report spending too much time troubleshooting the network. As a matter of fact, the domains where they encounter the most issues include (in order of most to least): wireless networks, cloud/multi-cloud, branch/remote sites, endpoints, data centers, WAN/SD-WAN, and campus. Without proper visibility into the entire network, NetOps teams struggle with blind spots in these areas, forcing them to spend time troubleshooting issues instead of focusing on network transformation initiatives.

Additionally, 35% of NetOps reported network visibility and monitoring performance as major challenges for their teams. The lack of visibility into any and all network domains jeopardizes network uptime, performance, and end-user experiences. This can severely impact the business, as the average cost of network downtime is approximately $5,600 per minute according to Gartner. Here's a breakdown of 5 common blind spots that are hindering network transformation for NetOps.

1. Wireless Networks

Wireless networks are difficult to manage because they have a fixed capacity. Each access point has a limited number of users that it can accommodate at a minimum data rate. With more and more users piling on the network, the design degrades to where users are unable to get the minimum data rate that the network is designed to deliver. Thus, without proper visibility, NetOps teams can't see the data rates users are connecting at, or if the network is being oversubscribed.

2. Cloud/ Multi-cloud

Cloud visibility can be very difficult to achieve because IT teams can't actually install software to monitor hosted applications, such as Salesforce or Microsoft, on the servers running those services. These applications can be blind spots for NetOps teams because they are unable to tell if or when trouble is brewing. As a result, when issues do occur, NetOps has to fix the problem after it has already happened, and must face the consequences of the issue.

3. Endpoints

Endpoints like remote sites are blind spots for NetOps teams because they're extremely difficult to monitor given the scale, especially for enterprises with large numbers of remote offices or branch locations. Traditional monitoring solutions that are based on appliances are too expensive to put a solution in place for each endpoint. Thus, maintaining such a large-scale solution requires modern network monitoring systems that can be deployed at scale.

Lastly, as enterprises employ more SasS and cloud-based systems, endpoints make direct connections to web services and bypass the usual corporate network visibility solutions, making visibility a must-have at each remote location.

4. Data Center

Enterprises still have them and they're not going away entirely. And with the rise of edge computing, IoT, and software-defined networking, data center architectures are more complex than ever, with far more connected devices. Thus, it's more important than ever to review your data center visibility solutions to ensure they're capable of monitoring these new technologies.

5. WAN/SD-WAN7

SD-WANs create virtual networks using a number of tunnels, which restricts IT's visibility. SD-WANs also have increased telemetry data that most older monitoring tools are not equipped to handle. Thus, many teams using legacy tools can't achieve the required visibility to monitor SD-WANs. While some SD-WAN vendor tools offer some level of visibility, these tools don't hook into an enterprise's day-to-day operations or provide adequate visibility. This often leaves SD-WAN devices as the least visible part of the network, making it a major blind spot for NetOps.
                
Visibility into all domains of the network is imperative for success. A lack of visibility into these blind spots can lead to frustrated users, decreased productivity, time-consuming troubleshooting, and network downtime. Fortunately, there are tools that can help provide the required level of visibility into all domains of the network.

Unified network performance monitoring and diagnostic (NPMD) solutions provide end-to-end visibility across all fabrics of the network. Comprehensive visibility gives NetOps teams insight into baseline performance to help in the planning process of network transformations. This helps determine what sites and application policies need to be developed. Proper visibility also helps in the deployment phase to ensure and verify that the policies are performing as expected. Lastly, visibility allows NetOps to monitor and manage the entire network, even at common network blind spots. With end-to-end visibility, teams can proactively monitor the network and resolve issues quicker – even before they happen. As a result, IT professionals can focus less on tedious troubleshooting and more on the network transformation.

Jay Botelho is Director of Engineering at LiveAction
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