Maintaining visibility in a hybrid environment


Wednesday, 05 July, 2017


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Businesses are consuming more data and compute resources than ever and most are moving towards a more cloud-centric environment. The result is a hybrid cloud environment where organisations combine on-premise infrastructure with public and private cloud infrastructure to get the optimum IT environment. But maintaining visibility into apps and services in this complex, hybrid environment can prove challenging.

“If a business can’t understand how services are being used and whether they’re performing accordingly, then it has a challenge in ensuring it gets what it paid for,” said Amit Rao, director of APAC channels for NETSCOUT.

“Business IT environments are no longer monolithic and transparent. People are using so many different types of tools and technologies that it can be hard for the IT team to effectively manage problem-solving. Instead, they put out spot fires without a clear understanding of root causes.

“Add to this the way apps are changing in design, using microservices instead of a single, large structure, and it becomes obvious that it’s harder to get the visibility required to manage these environments effectively,” added Rao.

According to Rao, there are eight key challenges for organisations moving to the cloud:

  • Gain visibility both before and after migration.
  • Illuminate the data centre so teams can see all apps and user experiences.
  • Understand interdependencies and how they interact with each other; if there is a lot of traffic between them, they may need to be co-located.
  • Understand what they’re paying for, how it’s built and how it’s performing.
  • Ensure a consistent, uninterrupted user experience.
  • Extend monitoring to all components of a complex app, wherever it’s deployed.
  • Continue using the same proven troubleshooting and root cause analysis workflows as before.
  • Accurately assess, redesign and optimise existing apps, ensuring they can move to the cloud without service interruption and extend to provide high value to users.

Wire data, which is the traffic that exists on the network, is the key to gaining visibility and control. According to Rao, his company’s solutions use adaptive service intelligence to examine traffic in real time and build out different sets of data. This can include key performance indicators (KPIs) such as availability, error codes, application response times, and more; all in real time, as it happens. They also build session records that let IT teams understand what’s happening over a period of time for an individual transaction.

“Packet capture can be used to solve the stickiest problems that involve decoding information. This is ideal for forensic analysis into security problems,” said Rao, adding that NETSCOUT’s approach is different in that it “uses smart data to understand what’s happening at the service level early in the investigation process”.

“Other providers prefer to use as much information as possible from various locations, then sort through it all to find the problem. That can take time and resources that simply aren’t needed.”

Rao says that NETSCOUT’s approach makes it very clear whether the problem is at the network level by delivering visibility into capacity needs, ensuring reliability, availability and responsiveness. It leverages application assurance to see how all the application’s various microservices relate to each other and could therefore be contributing to issues.

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