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

Jay Botelho

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

January 26, 2023

As enterprises work to implement or improve their observability practices, tool sprawl is a very real phenomenon ... Tool sprawl can and does happen all across the organization. In this post, though, we'll focus specifically on how and why observability efforts often result in tool sprawl, some of the possible negative consequences of that sprawl, and we'll offer some advice on how to reduce or even avoid sprawl ...

January 25, 2023

As companies generate more data across their network footprints, they need network observability tools to help find meaning in that data for better decision-making and problem solving. It seems many companies believe that adding more tools leads to better and faster insights ... And yet, observability tools aren't meeting many companies' needs. In fact, adding more tools introduces new challenges ...

January 24, 2023

Driven by the need to create scalable, faster, and more agile systems, businesses are adopting cloud native approaches. But cloud native environments also come with an explosion of data and complexity that makes it harder for businesses to detect and remediate issues before everything comes to a screeching halt. Observability, if done right, can make it easier to mitigate these challenges and remediate incidents before they become major customer-impacting problems ...

January 23, 2023

The spiraling cost of energy is forcing public cloud providers to raise their prices significantly. A recent report by Canalys predicted that public cloud prices will jump by around 20% in the US and more than 30% in Europe in 2023. These steep price increases will test the conventional wisdom that moving to the cloud is a cheap computing alternative ...

January 19, 2023

Despite strong interest over the past decade, the actual investment in DX has been recent. While 100% of enterprises are now engaged with DX in some way, most (77%) have begun their DX journey within the past two years. And most are early stage, with a fourth (24%) at the discussion stage and half (49%) currently transforming. Only 27% say they have finished their DX efforts ...

January 18, 2023

While most thought that distraction and motivation would be the main contributors to low productivity in a work-from-home environment, many organizations discovered that it was gaps in their IT systems that created some of the most significant challenges ...

January 17, 2023
The US aviation sector was struggling to return to normal following a nationwide ground stop imposed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) early Wednesday over a computer issue ...
January 13, 2023

APMdigest and leading IT research firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) are teaming up on the EMA-APMdigest Podcast, a new podcast focused on the latest technologies impacting IT Operations. In Episode 1, Dan Twing, President and COO of EMA, discusses Observability and Automation with Will Schoeppner, Research Director covering Application Performance Management and Business Intelligence at EMA ...

January 12, 2023

APMdigest is following up our list of 2023 Application Performance Management Predictions with predictions from industry experts about how the cloud will evolve in 2023 ...

January 11, 2023

As demand for digital services increases and distributed systems become more complex, organizations must collect and process a growing amount of observability data (logs, metrics, and traces). Site reliability engineers (SREs), developers, and security engineers use observability data to learn how their applications and environments are performing so they can successfully respond to issues and mitigate risk ...