Want your network to run more smoothly? Here’s 4 ways to do it.

MalcolmBy Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant at Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.

With user demand increasing at a rapid rate businesses are spending more and more time and money keeping their networks running and highly available. Investment is now consistently made in redundancy everywhere. Two or more of everything in the network is now normal practice; dual routers, dual firewalls, stacked switches, dual ISP’s, multiple application server, dual power inputs etcetera. All this redundancy will no doubt keep the network uptime high, but will it necessarily keep things running smoothly?
Here are 4 tips worth considering:

  1. Optimum Use of Resources

What is the point of having huge bandwidth, the fastest network with great big servers everywhere if you cannot make the best use of them? Allowing ALL types of traffic/users/applications (the good, the bad and the ugly) through your network without any visibility, policing or prioritisation of business critical services and applications, essentially amounts to a waste of all that investment that you’ve put into providing the robust network in the first place. There are good and bad users as well as good and bad applications both inside and outside of your network and they will always seek to utilise or take advantage of any open, free or unpoliced resources they can get hold of. As C-level executives, IT Managers, Network Managers or IT Administrators, it is your responsibility to make sure you can make the best use of your network resources to provide the best user experience, while preventing malicious usage and controlling the usage of unimportant (low priority) application/traffic.

  1. A Proactive Network

Historically network management has always been very reactive in its approach to dealing with network problems and network traffic utilisation. In general, until there’s a problem (usually reported by users) to investigate, everything is considered to be working and traffic is considered to be “normal”. Ever thought of a “learning network”? A network that can monitor the types of traffic coming in and going out, identify applications and users where applicable and even inform you about changes in the types of applications passing through your network when compared to what is normal (i.e. the baseline). A network that can monitor applications and server response times then proactively alert you based on a traffic light system “Red-Amber-Green” highlighting potential issues. A network that can provide you with recommendations on optimum policies to apply to your network based on your traffic and not just wait for you to figure it out (usually only after there is an issue to troubleshoot). It might sound a bit futuristic, but the good news is, it’s not. All of these elements that make up “a proactive network”, already exist in the Exinda Network Orchestrator solutions.

  1. Application Performance Monitoring

Almost everything within a network today comes down to two thing; applications and services. All the infrastructure that underpins everything boils down to providing some sort of application and or service to a user somewhere. Therefore it can be said that keeping the user experience good and ultimately the user happy comes down to making sure the application or service is performing optimally. To do this you first need to have complete visibility of all applications running through your network. Then you need to be able monitor the most critical applications to your business (usually productivity applications) and establish a baseline of what can be considered “normal”. You then need to be able to observe when these applications start not performing optimally and very quickly figure out why that is the case. Scrolling through pages of log data will not speed up this process, so most importantly you need something that can do all of this for you easily and provide that information back to you in simple (ideally) graphical format.

  1. Speedy Troubleshooting

By making sure your network resources are used optimally and your network proactively informs you of the performance and utilisation of your network applications; you will already have decreased the time it takes to troubleshoot network issues. Having done all this however, it is important to have a monitoring tool available to you that can instantly provide real time analysis of traffic passing through your network as well as being able to look instantly at historic utilisation data for comparison. This will inevitably speed up troubleshooting and reduce downtime.

Want to know more? Please get in touch. info@netutils.com

If you’re responsible for managing your company network bandwidth we would like to personally invite you to join our free half day technical workshop on Wednesday 3rd December 2014 at the National Space Centre, Leicester, UK. For more information and to sign up visit: http://www.netutils.com/exindaSpace.php

About Malcolm
As Senior Technical Presales Consultant at Netutils Malcolm consults and advises on specialist IT Networking, Security and Service Management requirements.


Puzzled by how to get more WAN optimisation power for your pound?

By Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils. These views are her own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.


Welcome back to the Netutils blog. As we start 2014 we have become preoccupied with thoughts on how we can be more efficient, more effective and get better value for money when delivering services and solutions to the business and this got us thinking about how we can help you to make smarter network decisions and lower your bandwidth expenditure.

So with that in mind we kick start our blog with some thoughts on network visibility and this blog post from Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant at Netutils on the 5 reasons why visibility is crucial to your network is a must read for those of you who recognise that real time visibility into network traffic on the LAN and WAN is the essential starting point towards making easier and smarter network decisions.

Read the full blog post here.

Malcolm will be delivering a webinar for us on Wednesday 22nd January and if any of the following sound familiar to you we urge you to register for a place and get some invaluable hints and tips on how you can take back control of your internet links and corporate WAN, improve user experience and productivity and establish rapid financial returns and renewed ROI on your existing infrastructure

  • I struggle to understand what is using all of our bandwidth.
  • I am often faced with unexpected bandwidth spikes causing costly downtime.
  • I am concerned that personal social media and video streaming is adversely affecting the performance of our business critical applications.
  • I am fed up with spending my limited budget on accelerating all applications in the knowledge that some of them are the main culprits for slowing down my network.

Register Here: 22nd Jan at 11:00am. – Exinda: Reduce WAN Costs & Make Apps Perform Better

The App World: Don’t Let Apps Cripple Your Network

Do you really know how much of your network bandwidth is being used for business?

By Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils

This post contains original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Network (Utilities) Systems Ltd. These views are his own.

We’re all too familiar with the world of applications, which are now available to users on a variety of devices, such as smart phones, tablets and laptops. As time has passed, network and security personnel are not only concerned with “bring your own device” (BYOD) and the issues that come with this, but now that there are over 500,000 apps available just for iPhone users and at least 320,000 apps available in the Android market IT Managers increasingly have to pay more attention to “bring your own application” (BYOA) issues in the workplace.

Users can walk onto your corporate network with their personal devices, which have their personal applications installed and utilise your network bandwidth/resources as they see fit, even if your policy only allows for internet access. This might not be a major problem for most applications that don’t access the internet or even for those that use very minimal amounts of bandwidth, but with certain applications such as the new BBC iPlayer “app”, which allows users to download BBC TV programmes through an internet connection and store it on their devices, your corporate bandwidth utilisation is likely to increase dramatically due to the size of these TV programmes and the number of users downloading programmes on your wireless network rather than at home in an effort to avoid any personal data allowance limits.

As more applications like these become more readily available across multiple devices and operating systems, network administrators need to be able to monitor their bandwidth usage and have clear visibility of who is using their network, what applications are being used and how these are affecting business critical applications. Once there is that visibility, user access to non-business critical applications can then be controlled in order to make sure the network is not adversely affected.

Suggested Further Reading: Exinda ‘5 Best Practices to Assure Your Network For the Next Big Social Event

Proactive Solutions to Common Bandwidth Issues

Are unexpected bandwidth spikes causing issues on your network? In this Video Blog we discuss a common network issue you may have experienced during the Olympic Games.

[vimeo vimeo.com/48740548]

Are unexpected bandwidth spikes causing issues on your network?

Did you experience bandwidth issues during the recent Olympic Games?

By Dean Goldhill, Network & Security Specialist, Netutils

This post contains original thoughts posted by Dean Goldhill, Network & Security Specialist, Network (Utilities) Systems Ltd. These views are his own.

Here we discuss a solution to a common network issue you may have experienced following an unexpected bandwidth spike. If you’ve been following our round ups you’ll see that recently we’ve been regularly blogging and video blogging on how both enterprise and service providers can take control and accelerate their WAN traffic. And recently we’ve had an increase in calls asking for advice and direction on some typical network issues experienced during the recent Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games whilst being a unique event, in some instances, had the effect of highlighting network problems that already existed. The result being that some company networks just simply couldn’t cope with the increase in network traffic as users tried to stream video of the games or use personal applications at work and business critical applications suffered as a result. But the issues highlighted by the games should not just be seen as isolated events there are many other reasons why your network may experience a bandwidth spike and downtime can be costly and time consuming.

In this blog post we’ll walk you through a typical example we’ve recently been presented with from a company with a site-to-site VPN between themselves and 2 other branch offices.

Background: The set up at this branch office allows employees to work from one branch and connect back to the servers in their own branch offices. So for all these users all traffic, mail server, Intranet, SharePoint etc. all has to go via the VPN/Internet.

When the Olympic Games started, users started complaining about slow, unreliable service for business critical applications.

And it wasn’t immediately as the games started, it was as the word spread around the building, and more and more people started watching the games online, the normal business service just got worse and worse until about the middle of the first week these users started saying they pretty much couldn’t work at all. The issue affected about 100 users in total and that’s quite a loss of productivity!

The challenge for this company was that they had a lack of network visibility, they couldn’t see what was causing the issue and they had no control over how to fix it.

Solution: Following our initial site inspection and investigation we discovered that the issue was that the internet bandwidth was being chewed up by people watching the Olympic Games online.

Another factor which made a solution trickier was that the broadcaster streaming service used for the games coverage does not use the video streaming protocol like most other services. Instead it transmits over the regular HTTP (port 80) so the affected company’s proxy server which is configured to stop regular users using video streaming services, was not stopping any users from streaming content like the games.

Furthermore, it was very difficult to block the streaming services because the broadcaster use a large number of IP addresses for load balancing, and we also did not want to be to block the service from the broadcaster altogether.

We successfully managed to find the actual URL for the video streaming servers and blocked it via their proxy servers. This effectively stopped the vast majority of users from streaming the games.

But the point here is that ideally, we don’t want to block these services by using URL’s, we want to block them by using a product that understands the traffic at the application layer (layer 7) and be able to block (or control) them irrespective of where the traffic is coming from or what protocol is being used to deliver it. Regardless of whether your company applications are network or cloud based your network is likely to face performance challenges often exacerbated by events like the Olympic Games or BYOD.

As a result more & more companies across a variety of industries are investing in online tools, resources and portals that deliver continued control, actionable performance insights & user driven application optimisation. Exinda Edge is an all-in-one WAN optimisation suite designed specifically to deliver a complete solution for branch networks.

Suggested further reading Exinda Edge White Paper – Assuring The Strategic Branch Office Network

A deeper dive into the benefits of Exinda’s UPM to the Service Provider

In this video blog we are joined by an expert from our service provider team who illustrates how Exinda can enable an even more agile network for the service provider.

[vimeo vimeo.com/47859253]

A deeper dive into the benefits of Exinda’s UPM to the Enterprise

[vimeo vimeo.com/47438499]

In this video blog we are joined by an expert from our service provider team who illustrates how Exinda can enable an even more agile network for the enterprise.