Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal, FinTech Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Article

Network Performance Monitoring | @CloudExpo #DataCenter #SDN #DevOps

Converged applications and network monitoring tools greatly enhance cross-team communication and collaboration.

Four Ways to Boost IT Performance with Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring
By Amrutha Aprameya, Evangelist, ManageEngine

In an era of unified IT, you can no longer afford to take a silo-based approach to monitoring and troubleshooting IT problems. It's time for network engineers, server admins and application engineers to expand beyond their particular domains and department-specific tools. It's time to embrace a new, integrated approach to network and application monitoring that lets you view your entire IT infrastructure from a single console and resolve issues before they affect end users. It's time for applications-aware network performance monitoring (AANPM).

AANPM tools are network- and application-level data collectors, monitoring network devices as well as monitoring business-critical applications to establish cross-platform visibility. With AANPM tools, engineers can make better decisions while monitoring the applications and networks that, in turn, help maintain high performance of critical business applications. AANPM, though, must be used judiciously. Otherwise, you can easily drown in meaningless data and miss key factors.

So what's the best way to use AANPM to drive down your mean time to repair (MTTR), the metric most organizations use to measure the performance of IT service providers? By measuring the following four IT performance metrics:

  • Bandwidth utilization rate
  • End-user page response time
  • Network latency or round trip time (RTT)
  • Volume of transactions processed

Bandwidth utilization rate
This metric measures the total amount of traffic for a given period of time. Typically, bandwidth utilization is measured by analyzing packet flows, and it can be tracked for an entire organization, business unit or data center. In the most basic sense, this metric expresses link utilization as a percentage of network traffic. It's measured by using SNMP polling and flow packets (NetFlow, JFlow, SFlow, etc.).

The problems related to bandwidth utilization rates often occur when the personal, user-related activities consume excessive bandwidth, leaving very little bandwidth for business-critical applications. This can significantly lower the performance of business-critical applications and may even lead to network outages.

Benefits: AANPM tools provide engineers with capabilities such as real-time network visibility, bandwidth monitoring and traffic shaping. By using AANPM tools that collect data on both the network and the application, organizations can gain real-time visibility into where and when the network is busy. The real-time visibility helps network engineers monitor the network and prioritize which applications need additional bandwidth. These tools also help in shaping the network traffic at the network interface level with complete granularity. Therefore, by using AANPM tools, network engineers can enhance the bandwidth utilization rates for business-critical applications.

Data based on bandwidth and application usage patterns also helps managers plan and control their IT budgets.

End-user page response time
This metric identifies the time taken for the client system to process information related to the original page request. This is done by placing probes near the client system. These probes monitor turnaround time and validate if the page request has been processed in a timely manner.

Benefits: AANPM tools help you to evaluate the likely experience of users from multiple locations by identifying potential bottlenecks in resources. This way, the end-user experience of business-critical network services such as DNS, LDAP, DHCP and Mail servers can be monitored easily. Using the tools' data, engineers can reconstruct events, analyze flow forensics for identifying the traffic on key links, and replay VoIP calls. These statistics can be particularly useful for analyzing and solving historic problems related to application performance.

Using the end-user page response time statistics collected by these AANPM tools, system engineers can also monitor and track the SLAs of service providers. These same patterns of response times can further help system engineers plan and counter any overall application outages that may occur in the future.

Network latency or round trip time (RTT)
Network latency refers to the time elapsed between transferring a packet of data from the host system to the destination system, or vice-versa. Typically, it's measured using the metric round trip time (RTT), which refers to the amount of time taken for a packet to reach from source to destination and back again. ICMP ping and Cisco's IPSLA would come in handy for RTT calculations.

Ideally, the RTT should be as close to zero as possible. Excessive network latency creates bottlenecks, therefore reducing the bandwidth needed for critical applications. This network latency metric can majorly impact end-user experiences. The impact of network latency on bandwidth can be classified as intermittent (lasting a few seconds) or constant, depending on the source of the delays.

Benefits: AANPM provides performance data from both network and application perspectives that includes application response time analysis and SNMP, ICMP or CLI polling data. Network engineers can assess this data to identify and resolve problem areas, which will drastically reduce the RTT.

AANPM tools help network engineers establish a baseline for network flows under three categories: stable, degrading or unacceptable flow rate. These details can also support capacity planning, as they help network engineers determine where the bottlenecks occur and which applications require more bandwidth.

Volume of transactions processed
This metric refers to the total amount of Web transactions processed during a specific period of time. If the volume of transactions is too high, they can sit in the queue for too long. This causes client systems to reprocess the transaction requests, which may result in application outages.

Benefits: AANPM helps system engineers gain an application-centric view of events happening across the network by outlining the inter-dependencies between an application and the network. It also enables engineers to identify Web transaction data by providing insights into average end-user response times, throughput, and APDEX (application performance index) scores so that the most critical paths can be prioritized over less critical ones. System engineers can then monitor and optimize the end-user experience by assessing applications in terms of how they are deployed and how they perform. This technique can directly improve network uptime and the availability of critical business applications.

In Closing
Converged applications and network monitoring tools greatly enhance cross-team communication and collaboration. AANPM tools provide a single performance management interface that offers a holistic view of both network and application performance. Using this interface, network engineers gain deeper knowledge they need to tune their organizations' networks, servers and applications. Ultimately, that knowledge can help IT departments effectively plan and monitor network traffic, server loads, and transaction volumes as well as dramatically reduce MTTR.


Amrutha Aprameya is an IT management/marketing evangelist at ManageEngine by profession and a passionate blogger by choice. She writes extensively about technology, management consulting trends, and social causes.

More Stories By ManageEngine IT Matters

ManageEngine believes IT management can be simple and affordable. Our authors share insights and how-to tips for SMBs and large enterprises. Over 120,000 companies around the world – including three of every five Fortune 500 companies – trust our products to manage their networks, data centers, business applications, and IT services, and security. We take a straightforward, customer-centric approach to IT management software. Our customers' needs drive our product philosophy. And we've built a strong, in-house R&D team to support our product team and turn customer requests into product realities. We look forward to hearing from you.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...