Video: The Exinda Technical Boot Camp

What’s Your Biggest Networking Challenge?
Are your applications spinning out of control? Is social media chewing up all your bandwidth? Is BYOD causing problems on your network? Do you have visibility of all the applications on your network?

Watch our video from our latest event with Exinda at The National Space Centre in Leicester where our technical specialists shared knowledge and expertise to help customers with their biggest networking challenges.

Got a question or need advice on how to tackle your networking challenges? Please get in touch at info@netutils.com or visit www.netutils.com/exinda.php for more on Exinda’s Wan Orchestration.

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.

 

Exinda: The Business Case for WAN Orchestration

Do you need improved visibility & control of your WAN traffic to maximise user experience & network performance? Watch our short video blog on the key features of Exinda’s WAN Orchestration. The webinar referenced in this video will be available on this blog shortly.

WAN Orchestration Boot Camp with Exinda

Take a look behind the scenes at The Cabinet War Rooms in London where we ran a free technical boot camp with Exinda for network and IT Managers. The event gave attendees 1-2-1 access to Netutils and Exinda technical experts, helping them learn essential tips to keep their networks running and apps performing well. All attendees qualified for a free network health check. Please visit netutils.com for details of our next technical boot camp.

Users watching sport at work this summer are chewing up your network

Ok, so England may be out of the World Cup but there is still plenty of sport to watch this summer, and all that steaming video will be slowing down your network. Here’s some insight into how Exinda WAN orchestration can help give you the visibility you need to see what’s happening on your network and how to control and prioritise your business critical applications. (I mean it’s not like were gonna block the sport, right?!)

The IT Manager’s World Cup Playbook from Exinda

4 tips from our partner’s Exinda to help network managers tackle streaming video on their corporate networks. It’s definitely worth a look.

Understanding Your WAN = Troubleshooting Problems Faster

MalcolmBy 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.

The network is an integral part of any organisation today. Most enterprises rely heavily on the local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) for daily operations and access to applications and services. As a result, reducing any network downtime and resolving issues affecting network performance quickly is critical. Troubleshooting the familiar help desk calls of “the network is slow” or “I can’t access…” or my personal favourite, “the internet is down”, (which is technically nearly impossible), need to be done fast. So how does an IT manager achieve this? I would suggest it starts with a very good understanding of your network.

Similar to the defense in depth security principle, does traffic management also require a layered approach, with multiple devices or solutions? Arguably, maybe not. More often than not, network administrators want to access a single network management portal that can provide all the information about the traffic on their network. There are a variety of things that need to be available to troubleshoot network problems on such a platform. Let’s highlight a couple of them and explain why they are so important.

Intelligent Real-Time Monitoring of Network Traffic
Being able to see what traffic is traversing your WAN in real time is absolutely critical to understanding your network and subsequently, troubleshooting network issues. Especially when it pertains to issues with bandwidth utilization or issues affecting application usage across a network. Being able to view real-time traffic statistics on a router, firewalls, switches or even running packet captures has been available for several years, but there are many drawbacks with using these methods to troubleshoot network issues. Some of these include:

  • Having to log into several devices to access these real-time traffic logs, which makes it more difficult to correlate the different logs into a single logical stream.
  • In many cases one has to run packet captures over a period of time and then analyse the resulting log file in a packet analyser application. Meaning one isn’t actually looking at real-time traffic.
  • Running and analysing the results of log files requires an advanced skill set and is a very time consuming process.
  • Lack of insight past the network layer, meaning lack of application and user level information.

What enterprise administrators need from a WAN solution in today’s geographically dispersed networks is real time monitoring and interactive analytics that can provide insight into all inbound and outbound traffic on the network, in an easy to understand way.

Additionally, efficient network troubleshooting in today’s IT environment should involve more than IP addresses and port numbers. Administrators need to easily identify the source or destination of traffic anomalies without having to track or crawl through other systems or databases to pinpoint where a particular bit of traffic is going to or coming from. Integration with popular directory databases such as Microsoft Active Directory is becoming a must have for network devices, and complete real time traffic monitoring across all users and applications provides the foundation needed to truly understand what runs on your network and is invaluable when it comes to troubleshooting network problems.

Network Utilisation Baselines
We know what happens when there is an issue on the network. It’s usually reported by the end user or highlighted by an alert from a monitoring system. It’s important to have a method of measuring and rating the performance of a network under usual circumstances, normal and peak network throughputs and utilisation, as well as application usage. This kind of in depth network analysis that enables you to view historic traffic patterns from several months or years back can be extremely useful to identify network bandwidth issues, discover vulnerabilities and other WAN-related problems.

In addition, application level baselines can help to determine what type of applications run on your network, drill down to high bandwidth applications and determine which applications are business critical, which require prioritisation over applications that are not strategic to the business. Baselining network and application usage also helps to forecast and determine present and future upgrade requirements, as well as assist in decision making on projects that involve or effect current network performance. If for example, a network manager does not have insight into normal network utilisation on their WAN links available, it makes it more difficult to determine if a company-wide project to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to all sites across those WAN links would require a link upgrade or not. Or even how much of an upgrade would be sufficient, if indeed an upgrade is needed. Having insight into all such data in an easy to view way makes understanding and subsequently controlling your network that much easier.

Are you responsible for managing your company’s network?
Join Netutils’ free technical boot camp in central London on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 at the Cabinet War Rooms and learn essential tips to keep your network running and your apps performing well. All attendees qualify for a free network health check. Visit our website for further information and to reserve your seat.