10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Network Performance Management Solutions - Part 2
August 10, 2022

Jay Botelho
LiveAction

Share this

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. This blog continues the 10 essential questions to ask before selecting an NPM tool.

Start with: 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Network Performance Management Solutions - Part 1

Question #6: Does the NPM solution support machine-learning, advanced anomaly detection and correlation?

Most solutions make broad claims in these areas, without much to show for it. Networks, and the demands on those networks, are highly unique between companies, so it's extremely difficult even with today's computing technologies to apply generalizations across network performance monitoring. But what is becoming more practical is the ability of NPM solutions to learn and apply knowledge based on machine learning of data trends over time, to create baselines and identify anomalous behavior without having to pre-configure limits or behavior characteristics.

Legacy systems require a great deal of a prior knowledge, and then significant configuration, for anomaly detection to work effectively. ML and AI are beginning to change that, but it's important to really validate the claims of any NPM solution.

Question #7: Is the solution utilizing advanced analytics and reporting?

To derive meaningful insights into complex issues, analytics platforms must provide reports and analyses on most, if not all, of a network's performance. This includes offering custom reporting for baselining and trend analysis and the ability to easily pivot reports to focus on key network performance intelligence.

Additionally, a modern NPM solution should correlate data across multiple network domains offering a cohesive, big-picture view of performance metrics and providing intelligent alerting, giving back valuable time to strapped IT teams.

Question #8: Does the solution assist with capacity planning?

Under-provisioning network resources can lead to congestion, bad user experience, and loss of productivity — overall, a negative business impact. Over-provisioning can lead to excess spending and a hit to the bottom line. Therefore, capacity planning is critical in helping to avoid performance problems and negative impacts.

When looking at an NPM solution, it is critical that it supports capacity planning through these features:

■ Service Level Agreement (SLA) management

■ Network and application analysis

■ Baselining and trending

■ Exception management

■ QoS management

Question #9: Does the solution facilitate root-cause analysis?

Most NPM solutions focus on visualization and reporting based on flow data (NetFlow, sFlow, IPFIX, etc.). These solutions, and the flow data that feed them, provide enough detail to troubleshoot many network and application issues. But at times flow data are simply not enough to get to the root cause of a problem. When more detailed data are needed, a recording of the network traffic itself, at the packet level, provides the detailed data needed for root-cause analysis. And when this packet data is analyzed with appropriate software, the software itself can identify many of these detailed network and application issues.

An NPM solution that can quickly pivot from flow data for visualization and reporting to packet data for analysis provides the most comprehensive solution and will significantly reduce the mean time to repair (MTTR).

Question #10: Can the solution provide scalable, enterprise support?

As the number of devices in many organizations continues to grow, it's important to implement tools that support this growth, particularly for large-scale organizations. A modern NPM platform must be able to analyze devices and environments at scale without latency and extend into additional environments such as multi-vendor WAN, public and private clouds and more. It also must support capacity planning and predict if a network can support an increase in business-critical traffic.

As organizations continue to grow and disperse, it is more evident than ever that ensuring optimal network performance is critical to business efficiency. When choosing a network performance monitoring solution, considering the questions above and implementing a unified platform will help organizations eliminate the cost and complexity of point solutions, reduce downtime, and successfully address the challenges of a modern network system.

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

The Latest

May 23, 2024

Hybrid cloud architecture is breaking the backs of network engineering and operations teams. These teams are more successful when their companies go all-in with the cloud or stay out of it entirely. When companies maintain hybrid infrastructure, with applications and data residing across data centers and public cloud services, the network team struggles. This insight emerged in the newly published 2024 edition of Enterprise Management Associates' (EMA) Network Management Megatrends research ...

May 22, 2024

As IT practitioners, we often find ourselves fighting fires rather than proactively getting ahead ... Many spend countless hours managing several tools that give them different, fractured views of their own work — which isn't an effective use of time. Balancing daily technical tasks with long-term company goals requires a three-step approach. I'll share these steps and tips for others to do the same ...

May 21, 2024

IT service outages are more than a minor inconvenience. They can cost businesses millions while simultaneously leading to customer dissatisfaction and reputational damage. Moreover, the constant pressure of dealing with fire drills and escalations day and night can take a heavy toll on ITOps teams, leading to increased stress, human error, and burnout ...

May 20, 2024

Amid economic disruption, fintech competition, and other headwinds in recent years, banks have had to quickly adjust to the demands of the market. This adaptation is often reliant on having the right technology infrastructure in place ...

May 17, 2024

In MEAN TIME TO INSIGHT Episode 6, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at EMA discusses network automation ...

May 16, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of software development and infrastructure management, observability stands as a crucial pillar. Among its fundamental components lies log collection ... However, traditional methods of log collection have faced challenges, especially in high-volume and dynamic environments. Enter eBPF, a groundbreaking technology ...

May 15, 2024

Businesses are dazzled by the promise of generative AI, as it touts the capability to increase productivity and efficiency, cut costs, and provide competitive advantages. With more and more generative AI options available today, businesses are now investigating how to convert the AI promise into profit. One way businesses are looking to do this is by using AI to improve personalized customer engagement ...

May 14, 2024

In the fast-evolving realm of cloud computing, where innovation collides with fiscal responsibility, the Flexera 2024 State of the Cloud Report illuminates the challenges and triumphs shaping the digital landscape ... At the forefront of this year's findings is the resounding chorus of organizations grappling with cloud costs ...

May 13, 2024

Government agencies are transforming to improve the digital experience for employees and citizens, allowing them to achieve key goals, including unleashing staff productivity, recruiting and retaining talent in the public sector, and delivering on the mission, according to the Global Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Survey from Riverbed ...

May 09, 2024

App sprawl has been a concern for technologists for some time, but it has never presented such a challenge as now. As organizations move to implement generative AI into their applications, it's only going to become more complex ... Observability is a necessary component for understanding the vast amounts of complex data within AI-infused applications, and it must be the centerpiece of an app- and data-centric strategy to truly manage app sprawl ...