Network Observability

Network observability is more than just the capture of wire data. True network observability means understanding the how and why of network performance in support of business goals – all while delivering the right data as actionable metrics.

Network Observability e-book tileIn the recent VIAVI Perspectives blog, 5 Steps to Network Observability Checklist, the critical and actionable network monitoring metrics like wire data, metadata, and enriched NetFlow analysis were identified as key to understanding network performance.

The blog also introduced a helpful checklist revealing the first five steps to selecting the right solution. After choosing a solution, organizations are ready to move on to the implementation phase.

Implementing Observability

Installing the solution is the first step to greater visibility of your network. Unfortunately, with many vendors, this can be a lengthy and complicated process.

In fact, there are four key questions to immediately consider:

  • Have there been any changes to your network or monitoring needs?
  • Who should be involved on a cross-team basis?
  • Are there any timing considerations such as end-of-year vendor sales or fiscal year budgets?
  • Will the team need training or is there documentation that needs review or sharing?

Using Observer as an example, consider implementation in a more ‘plug and play’ scenario.

Step One: Install

When you receive an Observer appliance, it is already licensed. All you need to do is make sure that the memory, OS, and drive type are correct and configured. Observer comes with quick start guides for each solution.

Software editions of the GigaStor, GigaFlow and Apex platforms make it easy to install Observer on any server or rack-mounted appliance. Based upon the average utilization you expect for the Observer GigaStor, this calculator will estimate how many days and hours of data your appliance will store.

Step Two: Network Discovery and Data Gathering

The next step to network observability is to pinpoint where to access data and which sites need priority monitoring. Always prioritize the mission-critical applications to optimize service delivery for end-users.

For optimal network observability of traffic:

  • Deploy TAPs and specialized high-speed probes on core switch connections to servers, server farms, and other critical network infrastructure.
  • Deploy less-costly probe appliances on switch monitor (e.g., SPAN/mirror) ports at the edge of your network.
  • Gather volumetric information from any and all infrastructure devices you can, including packet brokers, load balancers, SD-WAN forwarders, and next-generation firewalls.
  • Leverage traffic mirroring from cloud service providers such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure to get visibility into cloud-hosted applications.

When defining the need for, and deploying, probes to get visibility into sites like satellite offices, data centers, and other locations, make sure that you understand any unique deployment goals, where sensitive data is stored, and your network architecture.

Step Three: Using & Configuring Dashboards

Data without actionable insights is just data. It only becomes information when there is context. Once you have set up your monitoring solution, it is critical to have the ability to build and configure the necessary dashboards that support the charter of your network and executive teams.

These dashboards give you at-a-glance visibility into your network’s underlying health with special widgets for web collaboration services, remote user monitoring, and much more.

Now that you have your network teams and executive-level dashboards configured, what’s next? You can learn about management and optimization, get a sample use case on capacity planning, and more by accessing the full Road to Observability eBook today.

About The Author

Maria is a senior marketing leader with more than 30 years' experience in B2B marketing roles at a variety of technical agency and technology vendors including digital agencies, IT networking, enterprise software, open-source software, cybersecurity, cloud and IT managed services organizations.

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