The software defined network (SDN) is growing at a phenomenal rate. According to Gartner, by the end of 2016, its deployment will have expanded to over 10,000 businesses, a ten-fold increase in less than two years. However, SDN implementation doesn’t always produce immediate results. Its complexity and unpredictable performance sometimes cause poor end user experiences.
Although SDN often looks great during the pilot stage, when going live, the end user issues that surface tend to derail expectations. Uncovering and solving those issues becomes a major challenge for IT personnel, especially when combined with application servers and wide area network (WAN) connectivity. Performance problems are difficult to detect without clear visibility. However, by implementing end-to-end and component monitoring practices, many SDN issues can be headed off before they create serious difficulties for productivity and revenue generation.
Measuring the end user experience is the emphasis of end-to-end monitoring. It determines the metrics required for acceptable performance by measuring web page and mobile app responsiveness, which is a key aspect of quality of service (QOS) indicators. By measuring latency and throughput of the entire system, companies are able to ascertain problems with the SDN before they evolve into larger issues.
This type of monitoring also offers the ability to incorporate continual improvements that maximize entire network performance. Businesses see a reduction in their helpdesk requests, which lowers costs and improves efficiency.
Components operate within in the system, and orchestrating complete visibility into the application delivery environment provides key data on response latency from the standpoint of the end user. Component monitoring looks at each individual tool, gauging for any component that is performing outside of the standards established. Components include:
- Virtual and physical machines
- Web pages and mobile applications
- Web and application servers
- Storage and operating systems
Finding the Right Solution
There are a variety of monitoring tools available that perform both end-to-end and component system monitoring and which work in a physical data center or a cloud model. By mimicking the actions of an end user, these tools deliver crucial performance information. Look for products that offer:
- Individual server monitoring, with the ability to speak the different protocols for each (FTP, HTTP, VoIP, etc.)
- Agents that can monitor OS, servers, and local applications with a light footprint, in order to minimize the impact on network performance
- Metrics that measure normal response times, packet loss, latency, required memory, and application tuning
Adopting an end-to-end monitoring approach to SDN offers business the ability to manage their network efficiently and remove any barriers to performance, establishing improved end user productivity.