Over the next few years, vendors in the network performance management industry will accelerate their pace of innovation to serve the rapidly shifting requirements of IT operations teams.

Network performance management (NPM) is a mature market, with a core set of tried-and-true techniques for collecting and analyzing data from on-premises network infrastructure. But Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) has observed that NPM requirements are expanding and evolving. For instance, our research has revealed that the pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption and led to a permanent increase in the number of enterprise employees working from home.

These trends have redefined the meaning of an enterprise network. It must be multi-cloud and flexible enough to support employees working from anywhere. In the face of all this change, IT leaders might think that NPM solutions, which have traditionally monitored on-premises networks, are less relevant. They might look to cloud-native application performance management or digital experience management solutions instead. However, EMA believes that NPM solutions will increase their pace of innovation and remain a core solution for IT operations teams for the foreseeable future.

A Wave of NPM Innovation

EMA sees evidence of innovation in the NPM market already. Vendors are extending their visibility into the cloud and the work-from-anywhere edge by collecting and analyzing traffic and metrics from these new environments.

As networks change, they also become more complex. Thus, NPM vendors are investing in AIOps technology to streamline and automate processes like anomaly detection and root-cause analysis. NPM vendors are also adding security insights to their solutions to support network managers who are working closely with information security teams to reduce security risk and streamline responses to security events.

EMA Radar Report for Network Performance Management

These new innovations factored into EMA’s analysis for our recently published Radar Report on Network Performance Management (NPM). This report evaluated 15 leading NPM vendors for their ability to support the network monitoring, troubleshooting, and capacity planning requirements of enterprise IT organizations. While EMA’s Radar considered traditional architectural and functional capabilities in its analysis of solutions, we also considered cloud visibility, edge visibility, AIOps, and other new capabilities that IT operations teams will be looking for over the next few years.

EMA’s Radar Report offers a guide to NPM buyers who are creating a shortlist of vendors. It evaluates each solution for overall product strength and cost of ownership. EMA identified VIAVI Solutions as a Value Leader, for offering a strong balance of product strength and cost of ownership.

The NPM solution from VIAVI – the Observer platform – offers a strong foundation of traditional NPM capabilities, particularly around packet and network flow monitoring. Its ability to capture and analyze network packets in real-time gives it deep visibility into application performance and very strong forensic analysis functionality. Its flow monitoring capabilities give IT organizations broad visibility into conversations across the network.

VIAVI has also demonstrated a commitment to innovating in areas that EMA has identified in its research. In particular, it has developed a strong core of network analytics and AIOps capabilities. The VIAVI flagship technology in this area is its patented End User Experience (EUE) Score capability, which applies advanced analytics and machine learning using 30 different kinds of network-based measurements that VIAVI collects for every network conversation. The result is a numeric, color-coded score with domain isolation details. EUE scoring integrates with workflows across the VIAVI suite, from the flow-centric GigaFlow product and packet-centric GigaStor to the more advanced, insight-centric Observer Apex product. This cross-suite integration allows IT professionals of different skill levels to easily troubleshoot and determine the root cause of service issues.

Given its strong balance of traditional capabilities and its commitment to ongoing innovation, EMA believes that IT operations teams should consider the VIAVI Observer suite of NPM solutions when assembling a vendor shortlist.

To learn more about evaluating NPM solutions, download the EMA Radar Report today.


About The Author

Shamus McGillicuddy is the vice president of research at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), where he leads the network management practice. He has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry. His research focuses on all aspects of managing enterprise networks, including network automation, AIOps-driven network operations, multi-cloud networking, and WAN transformation.

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