IT teams recount some of their most problematic network challenges – and how they eventually resolved them with the Observer Platform.

  1. A Retailer’s Remorse

Major retailers often rely on Black Friday deals to remain profitable. In some cases, technical snafus can put the brakes on sales. For one Fortune 500 retail company, the quick thinking of a network engineer likely made the difference between driving profit or stalling out.

“We were able to solve an obscure problem where an entire depot was hobbled due to low level, hard to see, broadcast storms that had neutralized our bar code printers,” says the network engineer. “Someone said, at one point delivery trucks were backed up for miles.”

The team was able to leverage the capabilities of the Observer Platform to find the root of the problem.

“The interface is rich and fairly easy to work with,” the network engineer says. “You can take captures collected from tools with no analytics and a primitive dashboard and easily import into Observer.”

With the Observer Platform, the team gets more out of their network assets.

“It adds a lot of value to other tools and collection agents,” he says.

  1. Tech Firm Finds Fix for App Error – Potential Exploit

It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong. This is especially true for application vendors fessing up to buggy apps. Frequently, it comes down to their word against the IT team. That was certainly the case for the network administrator of one S&P 500 software company when they experienced poor performance.

“We were troubleshooting file transfer speed issues,” says the network administrator. “The vendor of the software was hesitant to admit their software was the cause of the problem, but by using the Observer Platform we were able to prove that packets were being delivered to the system and not being acknowledged properly at the application layer.”

The network administrator and his team busied themselves collecting data to prove their theory that, rather than the network, it was the application causing the file transfer speed problems.

“After providing this data to the vendor, they finally did identify a problem in their software,” says the network administrator. “By doing this, we were able to save countless network and systems engineer man-hours troubleshooting issues in their areas that didn’t exist.”

But that wasn’t the end of it for this particular team. While monitoring their network with the Observer Platform, they noticed something unusual.

“I can’t go into much detail, but we have been able to use the tool to verify a vulnerability had not been exploited prior to remediation,” explains the network administrator.

Fortunately, the network and security teams were able to work together to ensure that organization took proper precautions with the potential exploit. Both teams cite the Observer Platform’s ability to capture packets useful in security forensics.

“Both the security and network teams can approach troubleshooting and research issues with more confidence than ever,” says the network administrator. “We can rest assured knowing the packets are there if they are ever needed.”

  1. Water Works (Except When IT Doesn’t)

A municipal utility recently found itself in hot water when it received a series of turn-off requests for existing customers. The issue was escalated to the IT manager who needed a quick fix to the problem. The team’s biggest initial concern was “identifying fraudulent requests to turn off water services,” the IT manager says.

However, as the team began investigating the complaints, it became clear that this was a much deeper problem.

“We discovered a packet delivery issue with the VoIP system sending calls to the voicemail system, as well as SQL errors in a database application,” says the IT manager. Troubleshooting unified communications (UC) often requires packet-level analysis, something at which the Observer Platform excels.

“Our application performance analysis quickly outlined where the issues were between the client, the network, and the application,” the IT manager explains.

Using the Observer Platform to find the root cause of the UC problem, the utility was able to maintain services.

Find out more about the Observer Platform and how to drive more value from all of your performance management tools this year.


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