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.

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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

Webinar Recording: What Every Network Manager Should Know

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/71886182]

Do you need improved visibility & control of your WAN traffic to maximise user experience & network performance? View our recent webinar and learn how to monitor user experience across devices, provide consistent access to corporate apps from anywhere, create a central policy to assign bandwidth to specific users and devices and assess and fix application performance issues, quickly and easily.

Your Top 3 Questions Answered on Network Visibility

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/71028119]

We recently ran a workshop on WAN Optimisation solution Exinda. In this video blog we share the top 3 questions attendees asked us on visibility:

1. What level of application visibility does Exinda deliver out of the box?
2. Can you get real time visibility of what is happening on the network for trouble shooting?
3. What level of user integration is available?

Your Top 3 Questions Answered on WAN Optimisation

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/70114373]

We recently ran a workshop on WAN Optimisation solution Exinda.  In this video blog we share the top 3 questions attendees asked us on Optimisation / Acceleration:
1. How does Exinda deliver optimistaion?
2. Does Exinda support mobile client for optimisation?
3. How does the Exinda Licensing work?

5 reasons why visibility is crucial to your network.

By Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils

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

Network visibility has always been sought after in one form or the other; historically it’s been more focused on monitoring and providing reactive insights into the network usually following some sort of incident.

But nowadays enterprise networks are changing. Users are accessing the network with multiple devices, applications proliferate and networks are extending to include cloud based infrastructures. Real time visibility into network traffic on the LAN and WAN is the essential starting point to make easier and smarter network decisions and lower bandwidth expenditure.

So if network visibility is the key, here are 5 reasons why visibility is crucial to your network.

  1.   Return on Investment

For starters if more services, applications and network elements are being moved to the cloud, such as CRM, Email, and Storage etc. enterprise decision makers need to see and measure performance improvements and the benefits of their investment. ROI target requirements have to be measurable. In a nutshell, if you do not have an awareness of the various applications and conversations traversing the network, whether over the LAN or WAN, then you can’t even begin to control network activities, measure performance or hold cloud service providers accountable.

2.      Prioritisation starts with visibility

We are all too aware that throwing more money at more bandwidth to resolve network issues or deal with user complaints does not necessarily solve the problem.  Users are always more that capable of using up more bandwidth at work doing non business critical stuff. So making intelligent decisions by prioritising business critical applications over other types of traffic traversing your network makes more sense, but this can only be possible once you have visibility of all the applications running on the network. In addition rich content applications like VOIP, media and video conferencing, which run on the same corporate IP network, have to deliver a guaranteed user experience with no visible performance degradation to the end user.

3.      Security

From a security perspective having visibility into unauthorised LAN and WAN traffic on your network can make a big difference. The increased use of wireless networks extending the boundaries of our networks and the popularity of “Bring You Own” (devices, applications etc.), as well as the ever increasing variety of threats from the public internet, result in huge security challenges for IT administrators, therefore having visibility and subsequent control (allow, block, limit etc.) of everything connecting to and traversing the network, irrespective of how, where, who or what is connected is absolutely paramount.

4.      User experience; proactively troubleshooting and resolution of problems

The end user experience is front of mind for most IT personnel as making things simple, always available and accurate inevitably makes light work for IT helpdesks. So having visibility into the end users application performance and being able to proactively rather than reactively deal with any application performance issues, even before the user is aware of them and providing resolution to issues in the background will make the perception of the service being delivered to the end user very good. In environments where applications are being delivered as a paid service this can lead to invaluable positive testimonial rather than avoidable negative press.

5.      Planning i.e. capacity planning, bandwidth management and planning for future network trends

Dealing with budgetary requirements and planning for the future of networks and what services and technologies should be invested in can be extremely difficult for IT decision makers without information. Information on things such as bandwidth usage, network capacity and user experience over a period of time are crucial in making intelligent informed decisions about how to move the network into the future, while keeping costs as low as possible. Without network visibility (of real time as well as historical data at least going back a year or more) planning can be a shot in the dark.

So there are my 5 reasons why visibility is crucial to your network. In actual fact there are probably 10, 15 maybe 20 good reasons why network visibility is crucial to networks and the type of network topology, applications in use, devices and users will all play a part as the list goes on. The key however is finding services, vendors, tools and or service providers that can provide you with a holistic view of everything on your network under one umbrella, without having to stitch various solutions together to achieve the overall picture or objective.

If you are responsible for managing your network bandwidth then please join our technical workshop on Thursday 4th July in central London. Visit our website here for more.

Webinar Recording: Take Control of your Network & Manage BYOD

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/66222337]

The more devices employees bring to work, the more difficult it becomes for network managers to ensure a good user experience. BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) complicates how you manage bandwidth consumption and assess and fix application performance issues. View our webinar and discover how to quickly restore order to your network. Exinda can help you address the challenges of BYOD and assure a reliable user experience by improving visibility, optimisation and control—allowing your users to be productive from anywhere, anytime and on any device.

WEBINAR: 360 Visibility and Control of Your Business Critical Apps

[vimeo vimeo.com/49833081]

Do you need improved visibility & control of your WAN traffic to maximise user experience & network performance?

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. In this 30 minute webinar with Exinda we demonstrate a complete & cost effective wan optimisation solution for the branch network , showing you how to gain deep user & application insights and how to segregate & prioritise large, medium & small applications based on your business need.

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