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Why network visibility is essential for successful Digital Transformation outcomes?

  • 4 min read
By Paul Brett

Organizations’ business objectives for digital transformation initiatives typically include increased revenue, profitability and share value. These can be achieved by improving business operational efficiency, productivity, agility and innovation which in turn can increase competitive advantage through improved customer experience, customer retention and acquisition, and cost control.

Digital Transformation is the process of the incorporation of digital technology across all areas of a business or organization which changes how the business operates towards achieving the goals described above. This can mean replacing non-digital or manual business processes with digital processes or refreshing existing digital technology.

Examples of digital transformation processes include digital order processes using a range of devices from computers through to smartphones and smart TVs, tracking of delivery schedules from smart devices, predicting product defects in real-time by collecting product performance data from deployed products, and predicting customer behaviour by using big data analytics.

There are, of course, a wide range of business processes and they use IT applications which have a wide range of attributes and characteristics that need to be supported appropriately by the IT network to ensure the business processes execute correctly. For example, some applications may be hosted in the public cloud and others on-premise with varying performance, security and cost considerations.

This means that in many instances, the optimum IT network architecture for digital transformation and digitized organizations consists of hybrid public cloud, private virtual network and on-premise networks which form a single, cohesive network to transport data around the organization.

This approach simplifies the use of the business process for the user but it also increases the complexity of the network and risk to network performance, as well as increases the security attack vector and vulnerability risk to the network and data security. At the same time as the risks increase, network performance, security and analytics tools are less capable of monitoring and managing the network because the network technologies deployed to deliver high performance, high scale hybrid networks – such as SDN, SD-WAN and virtualization – all make extensive use of network traffic encapsulation protocols – such as VLAN, VxLAN, ERSPAN, MPLS, and GRE –  that create network ‘blind spots’.

‘Blind spots’ are created when network tools are unable to read network traffic because it has been encapsulated by a protocol the tool does not understand – analogous with a postal letter that cannot be read while inside an envelope – and can hide network performance and/or security threats and vulnerabilities.

Few network tools are able to read encapsulated network traffic adequately and so the most technically and cost-effective approach to address this challenge is to deploy a network visibility solution based on next-generation Network Packet Brokers, such as Cubro’s Sessionmaster NPBs, to remove the network ‘blind spots’. NPBs understand encapsulation protocols and so are able to remove them, copy the contained network traffic and send the copied traffic most efficiently to the relevant network tool, and if necessary, re-encapsulate the network traffic to allow it to continue its transmission across the network.

The IT technology value of the NPB approach is that the network tools have complete visibility of all areas of the network, ‘blind spots’ are removed, and the network operation and transmission are uninterrupted to allow the tools to correctly execute their purpose of identifying, analysing and preventing IT performance degradations and security breaches.

The IT technology provides IT operational value so that high performance, high scale, hybrid networks can be deployed reliably and securely to successfully deliver and support digital transformation business process’s IT applications whether they are hosted in public clouds, private virtualized environments or on-premise.
As a consequence of the IT value it provides, visibility NPB technology can help businesses and organizations to significantly reduce the risk of not achieving or delaying a successful digital transformation outcome to help them increase their revenue, profitability and share value.