Packet-based monitoring with active test helps solve user experience and performance challenges in hybrid IT and cloud environments.

Network operations teams tasked with monitoring cloud environments and highly distributed networks are finding that active test monitoring is an important complementary solution to traditional packet-based monitoring.

Currently, packet-based network monitoring is a proven solution for managing network performance and security. With robust storage and the ability to capture packets at extremely high rates, packet analytics solutions like Observer GigaStor, part of the Observer network performance management platform from VIAVI Solutions, can deliver insights into networks, applications, user activity, security incidents, and more.

Beyond the Packet

Despite the high value of packet-based analytics, enterprises often struggle to scale packet-based monitoring solutions effectively in a distributed network. It can also be expensive to capture packets in public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) environments such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

In other cloud environments, particularly software as a service (SaaS) applications, enterprises have no access to packets at all.

The Basics of Active Test Solutions

When packets are impractical or impossible to capture, active test, otherwise known as synthetic test or synthetic traffic monitoring solutions can help. Active testing solutions like ObserverLIVE from VIAVI, typically include remote testing agents that can emulate or synthetically produce application or user traffic, and an analytics platform that collects and analyzes network test data produced by those agents.

Get a free trial of ObserverLIVE for active test.

Active testing solutions also include a central console that manages test agents, offers a dashboard view of performance, displays alerts, and provides analytics to identify, triage and resolve issues.

Testing solutions can be coded to emulate any kind of application to reveal user experience for a range of things, from VoIP call quality to remote-user application experience. They can monitor applications in the cloud, hybrid cloud, or the traditional data center.

A Comprehensive Solution

An enterprise can use an active testing solution to alert, triage, and resolve many performance problems in the cloud. When in-depth, granular investigation is required for security and performance issues, network operations can then use captured packets for detailed forensic analysis of the event.

SaaS applications present a whole other cloud monitoring challenge. Enterprises typically lack any access to packets in a SaaS provider’s data center. According to Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), 24 percent of all digital experience management initiatives recently identified SaaS applications as their number one focus, nearly twice as much as any other part of the enterprise application ecosystem. An active testing solution can acquire visibility into SaaS environments by transmitting test traffic to the cloud and analyzing the results.

When managing user experience and performance in hybrid IT and cloud environments, network operations teams should take a dual approach, using both active testing and packets for complete coverage.

To learn more about active test and the top three cloud challenges, check out this comprehensive EMA white paper.

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