10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Network Performance Management Solutions - Part 1
August 09, 2022

Jay Botelho
LiveAction

Share this

Network performance is one of the most critical aspects of successful business operations. Effective network performance enables internal and external communication between various company locations, as well as clients and partners — imperative in today's dispersed workforce. When networks do not perform well and experience malfunctions and failures, companies face disruptions and loss of business continuity. Understanding how efficiently and effectively a network performs helps mitigate these issues, leading to increased productivity and profitability.

Successful insight into the performance of a company's networks starts with effective network performance management (NPM) tools. However, with the plethora of options it can be overwhelming for IT teams to choose the right one. Here are 10 essential questions to ask before selecting an NPM tool.

Question #1: Does the solution provide comprehensive End-to-end visibility?

With today's digital landscape, network management solutions must support a high-performance digital experience and deliver comprehensive, application-focused analysis, processing data from many locations, including routers, firewalls, and more. It also must be able to alert on network and application-performance issues anywhere in the network path, displaying these alerts as part of the end-to-end flow map which helps find the root cause of issues more quickly.

A modern NPM solution must provide correlated information from the entire network, including complex, hybrid environments.

Question #2: Does your solution provide visibility into SD-WAN?

As organizations become increasingly distributed, many look to SD-WAN for better communications and lower costs. This makes SD-WAN a critical element in your network infrastructure, and one which must be factored into your end-to-end network visibility.

SD-WAN has a direct impact on network routing, and therefore on network latencies, so it's essential to ensure that SD-WAN is delivering the expected benefits from a network, security, and cost perspective. The dynamic nature of SD-WAN puts additional pressure on network performance monitoring, so be sure the NPM solution can easily track and visualize any WAN routing changes.

Question #3: Is cloud monitoring supported?

"Cloud" can mean different things to different organizations, but whether it's corporate applications in a hosted private cloud, full-on public cloud, or SaaS applications, the NPM solution must be able to monitor and visualize it, end-to-end. This may require the use of additional modules, and sometimes even proprietary features of the cloud provider, so it's important to determine up front both if, and how, the NPM solution will provide the end-to-end visibility you need to eliminate the blind spots that are common once applications are moved to the Cloud.

Question #4: Does the solution provide comprehensive application monitoring and optimization?

Optimized application performance is critical to business efficiency, yet optimization is becoming more complex as core business functions are moved out of the data center and distributed across multiple service and application providers. Legacy NPM solutions often lack the visibility needed to even monitor, much less optimize, these highly distributed applications.

To address this complexity, a network performance monitoring solution should tackle these three essential functions: application visibility, network optimization, and application performance assessment. It must address application performance within the context of network infrastructure metrics, since the applications do nothing useful without the network. Application performance can only be optimized when built on a solid network foundation, and an effective NPM solution must provide visibility into both.

Question #5: Does the solution provide insights into voice and video applications?

Gone are the days when voice and video ran on their own, expensive networks. Voice and video are now just other applications running on the network, and given their real-time nature, they are some of the most demanding applications. Both voice and video are extremely sensitive to network latency and packet loss. Voice and video traffic is useless if it's delayed more than a few hundred milliseconds, so voice and video traffic must be tagged and given priority on the network for these applications to work effectively.

If voice or video traffic is degraded, the source of that degradation is often network latency, so it's imperative that the NPM solution be able to visualize the traffic end-to-end, and quickly identify specific network hops that are introducing latency. The solution must also be able to analyze and report on the priority tagging of voice and video packets, called QoS (Quality of Service), and identify areas where QoS is not properly configured. And as a bonus, the solution should be able to correct QoS configuration issues to quickly restore the quality of voice and video communications.

Go to: 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Network Performance Management Solutions - Part 2

Jay Botelho is Senior Director of Product Management at LiveAction
Share this

The Latest

October 03, 2022

IT engineers and executives are responsible for system reliability and availability. The volume of data can make it hard to be proactive and fix issues quickly. With over a decade of experience in the field, I know the importance of IT operations analytics and how it can help identify incidents and enable agile responses ...

September 30, 2022

For businesses with vast and distributed computing infrastructures, one of the main objectives of IT and network operations is to locate the cause of a service condition that is having an impact. The more human resources are put into the task of gathering, processing, and finally visual monitoring the massive volumes of event and log data that serve as the main source of symptomatic indications for emerging crises, the closer the service is to the company's source of revenue ...

September 29, 2022

Our digital economy is intolerant of downtime. But consumers haven't just come to expect always-on digital apps and services. They also expect continuous innovation, new functionality and lightening fast response times. Organizations have taken note, investing heavily in teams and tools that supposedly increase uptime and free resources for innovation. But leaders have not realized this "throw money at the problem" approach to monitoring is burning through resources without much improvement in availability outcomes ...

September 28, 2022

Although 83% of businesses are concerned about a recession in 2023, B2B tech marketers can look forward to growth — 51% of organizations plan to increase IT budgets in 2023 vs. a narrow 6% that plan to reduce their spend, according to the 2023 State of IT report from Spiceworks Ziff Davis ...

September 27, 2022

Users have high expectations around applications — quick loading times, look and feel visually advanced, with feature-rich content, video streaming, and multimedia capabilities — all of these devour network bandwidth. With millions of users accessing applications and mobile apps from multiple devices, most companies today generate seemingly unmanageable volumes of data and traffic on their networks ...

September 26, 2022

In Italy, it is customary to treat wine as part of the meal ... Too often, testing is treated with the same reverence as the post-meal task of loading the dishwasher, when it should be treated like an elegant wine pairing ...

September 23, 2022

In order to properly sort through all monitoring noise and identify true problems, their causes, and to prioritize them for response by the IT team, they have created and built a revolutionary new system using a meta-cognitive model ...

September 22, 2022

As we shift further into a digital-first world, where having a reliable online experience becomes more essential, Site Reliability Engineers remain in-demand among organizations of all sizes ... This diverse set of skills and values can be difficult to interview for. In this blog, we'll get you started with some example questions and processes to find your ideal SRE ...

September 21, 2022

US government agencies are bringing more of their employees back into the office and implementing hybrid work schedules, but federal workers are worried that their agencies' IT architectures aren't built to handle the "new normal." They fear that the reactive, manual methods used by the current systems in dealing with user, IT architecture and application problems will degrade the user experience and negatively affect productivity. In fact, according to a recent survey, many federal employees are concerned that they won't work as effectively back in the office as they did at home ...

September 20, 2022

Users today expect a seamless, uninterrupted experience when interacting with their web and mobile apps. Their expectations have continued to grow in tandem with their appetite for new features and consistent updates. Mobile apps have responded by increasing their release cadence by up to 40%, releasing a new full version of their app every 4-5 days, as determined in this year's SmartBear State of Software Quality | Application Stability Index report ...