Why Network Change Initiatives Must be Data-Driven
January 13, 2021

Jay Botelho
LiveAction

Share this

Enterprise IT infrastructure never ceases to evolve, as companies continually re-examine and reimagine the network to incorporate new technology advancements and meet changing business requirements. But network change initiatives can be costly and time-consuming without a proactive approach to ensuring the right data is available to drive your initiatives.

Common network change initiatives today include cloud migrations, new SD-WAN deployments and adopting 802.11ax. Data should be your guide when removing, upgrading or replacing any IT infrastructure and managing a transition to such technologies. You must monitor key performance metrics for all network elements involved before, during and after every network change operation. Failing to do so will elevate your risks of failed deployments, as well as obfuscated performance issues, poor user experiences and more, throughout rollout and beyond.

Cloud migrations are particularly timely network change initiatives we can examine to understand importance of a data-drive approach. Given COVID-19's impact on how and where people leverage network resources, cloud adoption has spiked in 2020. In fact, nearly 60% of enterprises expect cloud technology usage to exceed prior plans due to increasing distributed and remote work as a result of the pandemic. Let's explore the consequences of a cloud migration project without the necessary data involved, how data impacts each step in the process and the visibility you need to succeed.

Cloud Migration Crises Abound Without Data

A cloud migration without foundational data can be an ugly affair. Without baselines for your existing network and application performance, you're likely to be greeted with a complex set of issues to untangle throughout the migration process. These can range from poor connectivity and higher latency, to even security issues.

For example, after migrating several key business applications users might experience increased latency. But is it truly worse than before?

Is it unacceptable?

And are the migrated applications really the cause?

Or could it be due to increased VPN connections and bandwidth as more users working remotely attempt to access the new cloud services?

Without solid data from before the migration, these are difficult questions to answer. And they need to be answered quickly because a perceived degradation in performance will encourage employees to circumvent established processes requiring VPN usage to access key cloud-based applications such as Salesforce, WebEx or Zoom. This would change the workflow before a clear diagnosis can be made, and make things less secure by reducing your visibility into user activity and any suspicious anomalies. Data is the key to getting in front of just about every cloud migration issue.

The Role of Data Throughout the Cloud Migration Lifecycle

Rooting your migration in data and leveraging data-driven insights throughout the initiative can deliver end-to-end visibility from on-premises environments into the public cloud, and help ensure a successful rollout. From "Day 0" planning and "Day 1" deployment to "Day 2" ongoing monitoring and optimization, here's why data is king when it comes to cloud migrations:

1. Planning a cloud migration should start with establishing a baseline across your existing IT infrastructure. Here you'll measure key data and metrics to define what's "normal" for network performance levels, application performance trends, and behaviors across users, devices, key services and more. You'll leverage all this information to map out existing bandwidth usage and throughput patterns, SLA requirements and quality of service (QoS) policies. Without collecting and understanding these data upfront, you'll lack the context and specifics you need to be able to truly determine, tune and control how your new cloud deployment is functioning. It's also critical that you have the solutions in place to ensure that the visibility and data you're able to access pre-deployment carries over across the cloud migration.

2. Implementing a new cloud deployment successfully will rely heavily on the data you've collected pre-rollout. The cloud migration phase itself will be a true test of how well your team has planned the initiative and if you've established the historical baselines needed to effectively measure and manage post-migration. You'll need to quickly identify and resolve any network or application performance issues such as poor connectivity, high latency, unforeseen capacity limitations, degraded user experiences and more, as well as verify the SLAs and QoS policies you established during the planning process.

Whether you're migrating limited portions of your system such as a few specific databases or servers, or an entire application stack or data center, you need deep, end-to-end visibility from on-prem into the public cloud, and into VPC traffic and the cloud services running through it.
Most cloud monitoring tools are burdensome to manage alongside existing monitoring products and can't provide a comprehensive view of network or application issues that extend across the hybrid environment. This goes for both monitoring dashboards from cloud providers themselves as well as specialized point solutions.

That's why it's critical to leverage advanced monitoring solutions capable of capturing network traffic that traverse the public cloud and converting it into flow data for in-depth 360-degree performance analytics and visualization, all using the same integrated solution. Without this level of detail, you'll lack a complete understanding of traffic behavior, application usage and performance within your new cloud infrastructure, and be unable to verify the new implementation is working as planned.

3. Effective cloud monitoring and optimization over the long term is heavily dependent on your level of visibility. The third and "final" phase of a cloud migration is all about continual improvement. Your goal is to continuously monitor the deployment, proactively identify and resolve issues before they happen, and optimize performance to meet your business' needs.

If you've established the baselines and visibility required to identify network and application performance issues across your cloud workloads, you should be able to take advantage of automated alerting that proactively "predicts" potential issues — or at least the warning signs that those issues might arise — so you can mitigate them before they impact the business.

For instance, if you have multiple automated alerts of application latency exceeding your defined threshold, and these reports span a wide range of users, you can proactively test the latency from your location and quickly determine if the source is in the cloud. And if so, assuming you have a solution in place that can also capture network data from the cloud, you can quickly isolate the issue and the source, and take corrective action.

End-to-end visibility that extends from the network to the cloud is a basic requirement for successful cloud migrations today. This is just one example of the many network change initiatives organizations often tackle, and the one major commonality across them all is that their success depends on data. Knowing your network through in-depth data will ensure your team is able to plan, deploy and optimize key network change initiatives that will better support and enable your business in 2021 and beyond.

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

The Latest

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 ...

September 19, 2022

In this second part of the blog series, we look at how adopting AIOps capabilities can drive business value for an organization ...

September 16, 2022

ITOPS and DevOps is in the midst of a surge of innovation. New devices and new systems are appearing at an unprecedented rate. There are many drivers of this phenomenon, from virtualization and containerization of applications and services to the need for improved security and the proliferation of 5G and IOT devices. The interconnectedness and the interdependencies of these technologies also greatly increase systems complexity and therefore increase the sheer volume of things that need to be integrated, monitored, and maintained ...

September 15, 2022

IT talent acquisition challenges are now heavily influencing technology investment decisions, according to new research from Salesforce's MuleSoft. The 2022 IT Leaders Pulse Report reveals that almost three quarters (73%) of senior IT leaders agree that acquiring IT talent has never been harder, and nearly all (98%) respondents say attracting IT talent influences their organization's technology investment choices ...

September 14, 2022

The findings of the 2022 Observability Forecast offer a detailed view of how this practice is shaping engineering and the technologies of the future. Here are 10 key takeaways from the forecast ...