Organisations are increasingly dependent on the performance of their business applications – which, in turn, depend on the performance of their network.
The traditional approach has been to monitor the performance of network and applications separately, but their increasing interdependency and the high cost of downtime makes this inefficient and increases the time required to solve problems.
It's no longer sufficient to say: "it's not the network" or "my servers are fine". IT teams need to work together using correlated data to find root cause and solve problems quickly before they impact the business.
Application Aware Network Performance Management
The solution that has emerged is termed Application Aware Network Performance Management (AANPM). It takes an application-centric view of everything that happens across the network, helping engineers overcome the visibility challenges provided by virtualisation, BYOD and cloud services.
By providing end-to-end visibility across Layers 1-7, from data centre to branch office, AANPM enables network engineers to identify problems anywhere along the network path.
Using application performance data they can identify when a user is experiencing poor response times and what application component is contributing to the delay – data they can share with the application team to ensure a rapid solution.
- End-to-end infrastructure visibility - it brings together key data points from network management systems (NMS) and application performance management systems, providing a single dashboard view and helping engineers monitor KPIs and track device performance and usage.
- Faster problem-solving – different IT teams can work together using common tools to resolve issues.
- Improved user experience – applications can exist in many different places and different infrastructure tiers, making it difficult to discover root cause of problems, but AANPM enables teams to monitor all levels of the user experience and address issues before they become serious.
- Enhanced productivity – by speeding up MTTR (mean time to resolution), AANPM reduces expensive downtime and improves overall quality of service.
- Cost savings – an AANPM solution eliminates the need to use multiple tools to monitor the network and application infrastructure. Additionally, Gartner advise that, because poor network and application performance impact infrastructure costs as well as productivity, organisations need to focus on the user experience and capture data that enables them to fix the "right" problem first – which AANPM enables them to do.
- Improved infrastructure optimisation – AANPM enables engineers to identify poor performance and prioritise projects such as server upgrades, make the business case for approval and verify the results. It also provides data to support capacity planning.
- Better business understanding of IT - AANPM helps executives understand the cost of running critical applications and the impact if they go offline, as well as the dependencies between critical applications and the supporting infrastructure.
Strictly speaking AANPM addresses LAN, WAN and data centre, including all tiers of the server and application environments.
We're extending this across the WLAN and to remote locations, providing comprehensive visibility from user device to data centre. However you implement it, AANPM is something we can expect to hear a lot more about in 2014.
- Roger Holder is Fluke Networks field marketing manager for network and application performance solutions for the enterprise with 20 years' experience helping organisations design and manage the performance of mission critical business applications.