Network visibility technology has been deployed by Service Providers and Enterprises for the last 15 years or so and remains as important to a successful business and IT outcomes today as it was then. The use cases for visibility technology have developed as networks have changed and are now able to provide new, incremental value to organizations.
The purpose of this series of blogs is to examine the value of visibility solutions and the reasons why they are essential for the success of contemporary IT initiatives and business outcomes. This first blog discusses the high-level value of visibility solutions and subsequent blogs will describe the value of specific use cases.
To start, let’s remind ourselves of several considerations for successful IT outcomes including:
Network visibility technology solutions can include many discrete products but the general broad product categories include:
Functionally, visibility solutions observe all traffic traversing an organization’s network and copy relevant packets from any part of the network, including on premise, in the cloud and in virtual environments. The packets are passed efficiently to tools in the format they require when they need it, to ensure there are no monitoring ‘blind-spots’ and that the tools do not receive packets that are not required for their function. The tools thus have full visibility of all network traffic to allow them to execute their function effectively and efficiently to improve IT services’ performance and enhance data security while the tools’ loading is minimized to extend their lifespan, and they are able to monitor previously disparate and speed incompatible networks and services.
Originally, visibility solutions provided the option to remove geographically dispersed monitoring tools to manage networks by copying relevant network traffic and sending the copied traffic to a smaller number of centralized monitoring tools to provide a more effective monitoring solution at lower cost.
Over time, as networks have become more complex and higher performance, visibility use cases have expanded to include:
These use cases demonstrate some of the value that visibility technology can provide to network tool effectiveness and improved network technology infrastructure performance and security. The Technology value provided improves IT services’ quality and reliability, operational flexibility, higher ROI and budget management. Typically, these IT Operational benefits help the Business to improve customer retention and acquisition by boosting customer services, protecting shareholder value by securing data and maintaining regulatory compliance, and increasing business flexibility while managing costs.
Many of the current IT and technology initiatives in both Service Provider and Enterprise organizations, such as 5G/4G/3G Service Assurance, SDN/NFV, Digital Transformation, Virtualization, and SD WAN, are being deployed to improve competitive advantage while maintaining security and managing costs – and all of them introduce new and incremental network performance and security risk creating network blind-spots – which can be resolved by deploying network visibility solutions.
The old adage – you can only manage what you can see – remains true, and the value that visibility technology can provide for IT Technology, IT Operations and Business Operations continues to be essential for the successful outcomes of these and other forthcoming technology initiatives.