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Plixer International 2014 Predictions: The Year of Greater Application Performance Insight

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this series exclusive.

Contributed article by Mike Patterson, CEO, Plixer International

2014: The Year of Greater Application Performance Insight

The steady virtualization of more applications is increasing the need for greater insight into the performance of each business application.  2014 will be a year when network administrators seek more in-depth performance metrics that answer tough questions such as:  

  • Which subnets or end systems are suffering from the slowest connections?
  • Why are connections slow?
  • Are the slow connections caused by excessive packet loss, retransmits or low priority?
  • Where was the problem introduced?
  • Which router hop is witnessing the issues first and who is downstream?

Managing application performance is a tricky business.  The complexity introduced when deploying them in a virtual environment can make it more difficult to pin point problem sources. In the virtual world, the application could be hosted on the Internet or within the confines of a local data center.  Even then, the exact location of the application can change dynamically based on resources.  Traditional troubleshooting involved knowing where the application resided. This was a big part of the normal routine, but no longer a simple process in a virtual world.

Today it is important to identify the traffic that belongs to an application and be able to see all of it regardless of where it came from.  In addition, the ability to identify which end of a connection is server related and which is client related is also important.  This knowledge can help ascertain whether a particular problem can be attributed to a server, the application or client device.  Correlating flow data with authentication systems such as Cisco ISE allows administrators to follow users by their login credentials regardless of the IP address from which they login.  Loaded with these contextual details, network administrators can compile information related to connection speeds from certain desktops, mobile devices or areas of the application being executed.  Starting with a big picture view of all application issues allows IT professionals to focus on the most critical areas and work toward problem resolution.

Cisco Application Visibility and Control (AVC) is the best technology available today that delivers the types of statistics needed to gain full comprehension of all application issues.  More specifically, AVC exports application-rich details using NetFlow and IPFIX.  Available on both new and legacy routers, AVC flow exports provide layer 7 awareness of applications such as Salesforce, Citrix, Skype, Facebook and thousands of others.   Application identification is just the beginning. AVC provides performance metrics related to round trip time, jitter, packet loss, retransmits, packet size distribution, TCP windows size and dozens of other critical metrics that you simply won't have access to any other way in a virtual environment. 

With this in mind as we look to pop the cork on a new year, it's clear from my perspective that 2014 will become the year more network administrators will turn to NetFlow and IPFIX to gain greater application performance insight needed to optimize virtual environments.


About the Author

Michael Patterson is the Founder and CEO of Plixer International. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maine and a Masters in Computer Information Systems from Southern New Hampshire University. Prior to starting the company in 1998, he worked for Cabletron Systems in Support, Training and Professional Services. He is an experienced leader with strong insight into the industry and the needs of his customers. He has an aptitude for delivering high performing, value added, systems and service solutions to meet challenging business demands. He started the company as a one man shop and has grown it into a multi-million dollar organization. All this done without the assistance of venture capital.

Published Wednesday, November 06, 2013 2:27 PM by David Marshall
Virtual Server Traffic Monitoring - NetFlow & sFlow Network Monitoring - - (Author's Link) - February 9, 2014 7:21 PM
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