Network Visibility Layer


Buying more tools to deal with spiraling demands is counter-productive; it’s like trying to simplify a problem by increasing complexity. Visibility merits its own architecture, capable of addressing packet access and packet stream management. A visibility architecture that collects, manages, and distributes packet streams for monitoring and analysis is ideal for cost-savings, reliability, and resilience.

An architectural approach to visibility allows IT to respond to the immediate and long-range demands of growth, management, access, control, and cost issues. This architecture can optimize the performance and value of tools already in place, without incurring major capital and operational costs. With the ability to see into applications, a team can drill down instantly from high-level metrics to granular details, pinpoint root causes and take action at — or even before — the first the first sign of trouble, dramatically lowering mean time to repair (MTTR).

A scalable visibility architecture provides resilience and control without adding complexity. Because lack of access is a major factor in creating blind spots, a visibility architecture provides ample access for monitoring and security tools: network taps offer reliable access points, while network packet brokers (NPBs) contribute the advanced filtering, aggregation, deduplication, and other functions that make sure these tools see only traffic
of interest.

Application- and session-aware capabilities contribute higher intelligence and analytical capabilities to the architecture, while policy and element management capabilities help automate processes and integrate with existing management systems. Packetbased monitoring and analysis offers the best view into the activity, health, and performance of the infrastructure. Managing a visibility architecture requires an intuitive visual/graphical interface that is easy to use and provides prompt feedback on operations – otherwise, architecture can become just another complexity to deal with.

Application intelligence delivers real-time application data to monitoring tools so that users have more accurate application data in order to make better decisions. It does this by providing rich data on behavior and location of users and applications, in any format needed – raw packets, filtered packets, or metadata. This allows IT teams to identify hidden network applications, mitigate network security threats from rogue applications and user types, and reduce network outages and/or improve network performance due to application data information.

As part of designing a visibility architecture, management needs should be investigated and factored in ahead of time. If not considered from the start, managing network elements (monitoring switches, taps, monitoring tools, etc.) can become a very cumbersome task. The management of network monitoring devices needs to align with your needs and the needs of your customers (both internal and external). Engineering flexible management for network components will be a determining factor in how well your network scales.

An inevitable increase in the size and complexity of the network doesn’t have to mean an increase in the complexity of your monitoring solution itself. With the right management approach, you can control and minimize monitoring complexity. Think intuitive, integrated, and intelligent.