Ten months ago, we had a nice chat about the importance of having a simple, reliable means of understanding the end-user experience and efficiently identifying problem domains. While much has changed since then, it appears that we still have a score to settle when it comes to end-user experience management.

VIAVI Solutions has just released its 2020 State of the Network Annual Global Survey. The initial Key Finding is an attention-grabber: “For the first time in the thirteen years of the survey, “understanding end-user experience” is the top challenge for troubleshooting applications.” Perhaps that last blog back in 2019 was somewhat understated, a tad too subtle so…let’s get serious this time, people, it’s time to start keeping score!

First, let’s review the evidence from the survey that this is a real need.

 

Exhibit A:

Survey says: We really need visibility into the end-user experience. Okay, so have plenty of proof that we’re ready to get serious about this now. “The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one.” – Many People. Now, let’s further substantiate that claim before we move on.

Survey says: We really need visibility into the end-user experience. Okay, so have plenty of proof that we’re ready to get serious about this now. “The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one.” – Many People. Now, let’s further substantiate that claim before we move on.

 

Exhibit B:

Survey says: Understanding end-user experience is our number one challenge when it comes to application troubleshooting. There are some other challenges here but we’re in agreement that we need to address this end-user experience issue.

PLEASE understand: This. Is. What. We. DO! We are here to help. We say this with complete and total conviction. We won’t be repeating that whole subtlety and understatement debacle of 2019.

VIAVI Solutions have developed a patent-pending, machine-learning based approach to analyzing dozens of KPIs in order to yield a single composite score that accurately reflects what the user is experiencing. When performance degradations are observed, the score is accompanied by automated domain isolation – client, server, application or network – and simple descriptions of the primary contributor(s).

 

Exhibit C:

Here we see a very low EUE. On a scale of 0 to 10, this is…quite bad. We know we have a real problem. Note the identified domain: Network, and the description: Packet loss and retransmissions are preventing connection setup. Can we provide the evidence to back that up? Yes, on the same screen. Look at the (attempted) conversation between a client, on the left, and a server, on the right. The client sends a SYN, the server promptly responds with a SYN-ACK, but the client never sees it, hence, it retransmits the SYN (twice) and the connection never gets established.

Note that the way that this information gets analyzed and visualized, means that we don’t need to rely on Tier 3 Tim, the one guy who really understands packet decodes, to solve our problems. Our existing Helpdesk/Tier1 staff can now become far more efficient in validating, accurately assigning, even resolving problems (we still love you, Tim).

This is just one simple example of how EUE scoring provides the ability to understand what the end-user is experiencing, identifies the problem domain, and provides the details that back up the conclusions. That said, our simple example has gotten us pretty far down into the bit stream here so let’s come up for air, shall we?

 

Exhibit B (revised and re-submitted):

Look at how many of these top challenges we’ve addressed (by the way, we can help monitor bandwidth consumption too) through this one simple-to-use capability.

There’s another benefit here as well. Turns out, the survey also says that NetOps folks are needing to spend more of their time helping out their SecOps brethren. When we give our network team what they need to more efficiently manage the end-user experience and troubleshoot application issues, both teams benefit.

 

Exhibit D:

So, ladies and gentlemen of the survey, there is our evidence. We respectfully submit to you that it is time to start keeping score! Now, please, let’s not have this conversation again next year…

Here’s the rest of the 2020 State of the Network Annual Global Survey story. Thanks for listening.

 

About The Author

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Ward Cobleigh, Sr Product Manager for VIAVI Solutions, understands the balancing act between network ops and security that IT pros are facing today along with the challenges they have in solving issues due to limited visibility and complexity. His experience in engineering, product management plus design and marketing give him a unique ability to cut to the heart of the problem and demonstrate solutions that give engineers a sigh of relief. He brings a refreshing bit of humor to the dry, technical topic of network performance management and security threat hunting.

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