Network performance optimised through improved visibility
Despite the lower costs and increased availability of bandwidth in South Africa, network managers are still engaged in a continuous struggle to ensure business applications perform optimally, enabling users to maximise their productivity. Unfortunately, measuring network performance is all too often relegated to connectivity issues, says Alan Rehbock, Sales Director, sub-Saharan Africa, Exinda.
The reason for this could be that network managers are rewarded according to the uptime of their networks, not the actual performance. The result is managers monitor their connectivity and can easily see when they reach or regularly breach the 80% threshold of their available capacity. When this happens, the normal response is to simply buy more bandwidth.
However, while adding more bandwidth may seem to solve the problem, it is only a temporary solution, as bandwidth usage always increases to consume the amount available.
Bandwidth availability is not the primary cause of poor network performance. Performance problems are often the result of a lack of visibility into the application layer of the network, or layer 7 for the more technically inclined.
Unfortunately, while network managers focus on ensuring their networks are connected and operational, they can neglect the real issues affecting the performance of applications at the user interface. In other words, they fail to gain insight into exactly what is hampering the performance of business applications.
When network managers do manage to gain insight into their networks at the application layer by in-depth examination of the traffic in transit over their networks, they usually find their performance issues are not related to bandwidth. The problem is usually unauthorised applications hogging corporate bandwidth as some users take advantage of what they view as “free bandwidth”.
Port 80, for example, is left open in all networks for Internet data transmission. Companies may assume this will be used for loading legitimate Web pages; but by leaving it open, they automatically also allow Skype conversations, the downloading of torrent data through which most movies and audio piracy occurs, and live streaming of videos from YouTube and other sites.
If a company fails to gain visibility over the application layer, it will not be able to properly manage this unauthorised usage of network resources. The result is corporate bandwidth vanishes and the performance of business applications declines.
In-depth visibility not only delivers insight into data to determine what applications are being used, but also allows management to set and manage service-level agreements (SLAs) on a departmental or even a per-user level. In other words, each user can be guaranteed a specific level of network performance to ensure they have optimal access to the relevant business applications by automatically reducing the priority of, or even ban the use of unauthorised applications.
Effective application visibility enables efficient management that ensures networks perform optimally. The result is more productive users, better performing business applications, and, in some cases, can even result in lower bandwidth costs.
Exinda is a proven global supplier of WAN optimisation and application acceleration products. The company has helped over 2 000 organisations in over 80 countries worldwide improve the end-user experience, manage application performance, manage congestion over the WAN, and reduce network operating costs for the IT executive. For more information, please visit http://www.exinda.com.