A lack of network visibility (i.e., ability to capture, record, search and visualize network traffic) negatively impacts the ability of IT staff to identify and resolve critical application performance issues, leading to substantial losses in business productivity and revenue, according to a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Emulex.
The study entitled Improving Incident Response: Building a More Efficient IT Infrastructure was based on a survey of 158 IT organizations with more than 1,000 employees in North America with direct responsibility for business-critical applications.
The study analyzed the current state of application availability and performance, the consequences of limited availability and performance issues, and the desire for an ideal service management automation solution.
The survey that was conducted as a part of the study revealed that network performance and network security have a direct effect on application Quality of Service (QoS), and that the increasing complexity of enterprise networks has been impacting the ability of IT organizations to maintain QoS levels.
Despite continued corporate IT investment hiring/training the best people and providing them with tools, the challenge of providing secure and highly available enterprise networks continues to increase because network operations (NetOps) and security operations (SecOps) staff often do not have the data they need to resolve critical issues.
Network visibility was identified as a critical strategy to address this issue, and to improve workforce productivity and cost management related to the identification and resolution of network and security issues in the data center.
The Forrester study focused on the key challenges facing enterprise IT staff in the face of such trends as the arrival of public/private/hybrid cloud computing, server/network virtualization, and software-as-a-service applications. While these trends are without question enabling enterprises to conduct more transactions per dollar and per second, they also can hide the factors impacting network performance and security, and hence impact the ability of IT staff to resolve these issues.
One of the key findings of the study that illustrates this was that 56 percent of the IT operations staff can resolve less than 75 percent of their performance and availability issues in 24 hours.
The importance of addressing this situation was illustrated by three conclusions from the study:
- Performance of business services and their underlying applications and transactions are affected by the network, not only to improve or maintain productivity, but also as a way to contain costs.
- As business initiatives add complexity to an already complex series of business services, networks grow in importance relative to the overall infrastructure, not only as the backbone supporting client interactions, but also as the highway between all aggregated applications that constitute a business service.
- Business productivity and IT productivity are greatly dependent upon each other.
Recent catastrophic breaches in the retail sector and network issues in the banking sector highlight the negative impact that such network issues can have, not only on the bottom line of organizations, but also on customer loyalty and an organization’s brand.
One of the key recommendations of this study was that a disciplined approach to incident response, including end-to-end visibility of network infrastructure, is critical to resolving incidents like these more effectively and to reducing the disruption such incidents has on enterprises, the IT staff of those enterprises, and on their customers.
Mike Heumann is Sr. Director, Marketing (Endace) for Emulex.
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