For many organizations, solving performance challenges faster improves the bottom line. But for a telecom carrier, a strict service level agreement (SLA) means the network team has only hours to resolve performance issues – otherwise they risk paying the client money for downtime and outages.

Founded in 1996 and located in west central Germany, GELSEN-NET provides regional telecommunications services to Bottrop, Gladbeck, Herten, and Gelsenkirchen.

Recently, two of the organization’s largest cloud customers hosting LDAP and SQL database traffic in the carrier’s datacenter began experiencing slower response times between the hosted servers and external clients. Their plan of attack was for the network team to use Wireshark to identify the cause of slow response times.

“Wireshark provides a lot of information,” says Network Engineer, Bjoern Ferber who leveraged the protocol analyzer to capture packets and assess performance. The team sought application-layer visibility to find the issue between the servers, network, and clients.

Down to the Wire

Rather than being an easy fix, the slow response time proved challenging for Ferber, and his team experienced frustration as the hours ticked away.

“Isolating problems requires significant upfront knowledge that we simply didn’t have,” says Ferber on the traffic analysis. Though the team had often relied on Wireshark for basic troubleshooting, Ferber acknowledges initial hurdles.

“You need to know the MAC and IP addresses along with packet payload details,” he says. “Given the number of clients we have and the very nature of data being warehoused in the cloud, there’s a lot to sift through. Navigating through large trace files was an unmanageable waste of time.”

Ferber knew GELSEN-NET needed a flexible solution that could provide visibility and monitoring intelligence to resolve performance problems like this one, only faster. Network consultants GORDION Data Systems Technology answered the call by recommending the Observer Performance Management Platform.

Powerful Tools on the Go

Observer GigaStor, a retrospective network analysis appliance and key component of the Viavi Observer Platform captures terabytes of traffic and applies advanced analytics to resolve performance challenges. It performs like a video camera on the network and can rewind to reconstruct problematic traffic to enable faster resolution – without having to recreate the problem.

The carrier chose the portable GigaStor appliance because flexibility was critical, allowing Ferber and his team to begin troubleshooting problems at their datacenters and go offsite to the client when necessary.

To select a monitoring solution, the network team created test scenarios around a common Citrix® connection issue. In running the scenarios, GELSEN-NET’s network team knew it was either a bandwidth issue or there were too many Citrix connections on the server. With GigaStor at the customer’s site in the test situation, they were able to capture traffic, generate a filter, isolate the issue to the server, and provide resolution in an hour.

“Compared to other monitoring solutions, GigaStor allowed us to resolve problems faster,” says Ferber. “It was very intuitive and had a lot of features that quickly pinpoint problem causes. Competing tools weren’t as user friendly to manage or in utilizing various analysis features.”

Rather than running around for several days with two laptops and copies of Wireshark to solve problems, Ferber’s team is now able to track and resolve the same issues in less than 60 minutes using GigaStor Portable.

Solving performance challenges faster also protects GELSEN-NET’s bottom line. With a strict SLA in place, Ferber’s team has between 5 to 8 hours to resolve the performance problem, otherwise the service provider risks paying the client money for downtime and outages.

“With quick problem solving, our GigaStor has quickly paid for itself,” said Ferber.

Read the full case study today to find out how GELSEN-NET also ensures successful VoIP certifications and rollouts for their customers with Viavi.

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