Automatic MTTR

 

Forrester Highlights Anue NTO Network Monitoring Switch as a Core Technology for every Data CenterRecently a potential customer in the financial industry shared the challenges they face when trying to quickly diagnose and fix problems within their data center network. I listened intensely as they explained how determining root cause could drag on for weeks and in some cases months. Fortunately we were able to help them by implementing our Automated Response Technology. You can see a good example of how it works by watching this brief video.

 

In the video you will see how together, the LogMatrix NerveCenter and the Anue Net Tool Optimizer™ (NTO), along with your existing network monitoring tools and management systems, can significantly improve network reliability as well as reduce network Mean Time to Repair – MTTR. This is accomplished by intelligently collecting network traffic and automatically routing it to the right monitoring tool when network problems or anomalies occur. When NerveCenter detects the problem, it alerts the Anue NTO to direct the affected network traffic to a particular monitoring tool. When the anomaly no longer exists, the data capture or monitoring can be automatically stopped as well.

Businesses and Organizations Rely on Networks

Optimize Your Network Visibility: Anue Net Tool OptimizerTM helps improve network visibility and protect your investments in network monitoring tools.Network traffic and application traffic problems can be difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot, especially if the problem is intermittent. Unresolved network issues result in unsatisfied users, customers, and management. Businesses rely on networks performing. When they don’t work or even work optimally not only are users frustrated, but operations and sales can be negatively impacted as well.

 

An automated approach to network monitoring can reduce the time it takes to identify and resolve network and application issues.  Intelligent data gathering is critical when troubleshooting network problems. Watching the video was a real eye-opener for the customer because previously they had no idea it could be so easy to attain the right data to solve their network problems. I’m just happy we were able to help.

A Network Monitoring Switch By Any Other Name…

 

…would still work as effectively as it did with another name attributed to it. Strange that’s not quite as poetic as I expected it would be.

Gartner is the world's leading information technology researchRecently Gartner officially acknowledged a new product category they have called, Network Packet Brokers. Basically, this is a fancy name for networking monitoring switches – those intelligent switches that sit between a data center network and the monitoring and security tools. While we currently call our Anue Net Tool Optimizer (NTO) a Network Monitoring Switch, the name is less important than the “coming of age” of this category. Gartner’s Jonah Kowall and Debra Curtis published the vendor landscape for application aware Network Performance Monitoring and Network Packet Brokers. The Anue NTO is covered as an offering in the Network Packet Broker category. Simply put it provides better visibility into your network. This allows administrators to optimize their security, performance and application behavior. We are extremely pleased that Gartner featured our patented Dynamic Filtering in the report, indicating we have “more sophisticated dynamic filtering” than our competitors.

You will want to read this research – it covers the value proposition of our technology.

This report is important to us at Anue, as we’ve had prospects tell us point-blank – call us when Gartner covers your technology. Well, we’ve been on the phone – a lot. In many cases, our biggest sales challenge is not our competitors, but limited understanding of the value proposition and business relevance of our Anue Net Tool Optimizer offering.  It’s a technology most people don’t even know exists, but when they understand its business and technological benefits they wonder where we’ve been all their lives.

Interop 2012, Anue – Life in the Fast Lane

I’ve been to a lot of Interops, but Interop 2012 Las Vegas was by far the most exhilarating. I joined Anue over a month ago after a 12-year stint leading product development teams at Dell. Dell was definitely life in the fast lane. Now I’m living life in the faster lane! Just think, one month in for me and we announce Ixia will be acquiring Anue. Resultantly, our booth was a hotbed for the inquisitive.

The visionary CEO and management team at Ixia are making an amazing move with this acquisition that will position Ixia in both the pre-deployment arena to a player in production network optimization solutions for data center, cloud providers, telecoms and service providers. While enterprises have often used Ixia in their lab environments, this extends their reach into the production network side of the enterprise in one bold move.

From Anue’s standpoint, the acquisition is going to quickly make us a strong contender in international markets. Our technology is easy enough to understand – we deliver the right data to the right tools at the right time. Yet, not enough have heard about this market. Well, they will now, as Ixia’s reach, both in the US and in other international markets, is extensive and will benefit Anue.

Anue Systems Interop Booth 2012On top of that, Anue’s CTO, Chip Webb, had a session on the Big Data track Monday.  It was interesting –the reality is that you can’t do Big Data without a high-performance, secure network. Anue provides the visibility that enables Big Data to work well. And, yes, Big Data really is a different world. Big Data actually makes Anue’s Network Tool Optimizer technology even more important. Not only is security and performance monitoring important with Big Data, the movement of applications, trend analysis and business intelligence necessitates application behavior monitoring.   One thing that struck me about Interop 2012 overall is a refreshed enthusiasm in IT technologies that deliver business value. To do that you have to be living life in faster lane – seems to me Anue fit right in.

Is Big Data a Big Deal for Monitoring?

 

It depends on where you’re coming from.  If it’s from a network monitoring and management tool perspective, dang skippy it is; if you have network monitoring switches, your life is going to be easier.

Face it,  as a planet of uber consumers, we love our data.  When it comes to data access, we ravenously gobble up every spare megabit of bandwidth and gigabyte of storage out there. What smart  phone user has not felt sort of “lost”  when they’ve travelled outside their coverage area and needed to turn off their data plan and location services? I’m used to getting answers to any questions I have – NOW!. With 3G technology, new 4G/LTE becoming available, easy-access Wi-Fi hotspots, local networks and my mobile broadband card, I can surf, search and post just about anything, any time, and anywhere from my smart phone or laptop. And you can bet I keep two or more copies of photos or documents that I don’t want to lose, in different sizes and formats of course, for web publishing, email or high quality printing. And I’m not a business customer or even a power user!

Learn why Forrester Research highlighted the network monitoring switch as 1 of 3 core technologies every data center needs!

Companies who have busted their budget getting an IT architecture in place frequently try to cut costs anywhere they can, and all too frequently, expenses trimmed are the monitoring components of the network infrastructure. As a network management weenie from way back, I’ve always claimed “I get no respect.” It seems that few care about network management until the network goes down. Then you should see how interesting SNMP, syslog, protocol analyzers and performance management tools become. Suddenly they are very hot!

Symbolic of your data going up in flames if you can’t troubleshoot fast enough for real-time analytics use cases (stock trading, retail web site, etc.).

And this is where it gets interesting depending on where you sit.  The nascent, emerging and legacy monitoring tools manufacturers who have to come up with insightful analytics harvesting meaningful information out of a mountain of moving, changing data are probably pretty stressed.  But it’s not as bad for the network traffic cops.  To them, “big data” really isn’t anything new, it still has switches, routers, servers, databases, pictures and video –just a ton more of it to monitor!  And that’s the real the tricky part; how do you harvest all that “stuff”?

Optimize Your Network Visibility with the Anue Systems NTO

How does an enterprise, over-burdened service provider or even a successful SMB deal with this conundrum? And what about those weary warriors manning the spaghetti factories called data centers armed with Wireshark and iReasoning on their laptops or praying their routing, application, server upgrade, etc. change goes successfully in their 2-5AM outage window when no mere mortal is particularly “sharp” at that hour? How many days are spent praying that you capture enough data off a SPAN port in a protocol trace to track down the bad guys trying to steal your big data or analyzing why errant server sessions aren’t cooperating in your piece of cloud like they should be? Big Data is a tough enough proposition even when life is good; when things go bad, it can go very bad. (e.g., Amazon’s EBS outage 4/21/11) All those sexy Big Data analytics aren’t worth much if you’re storming the northeast sector of your cloud, now are they?

Anue Systems NTO is a key ingredient for any data center operation

At some point, everyone has to pick and choose the juicy bits on what to keep and what to throw away because it’s nearly impossible to harvest everything the way we used to; that’s where a network monitoring switch comes into play. As the plumbers of the data highways, IT departments must prioritize, filter and synthesize information to analyze it in one way or another be it data analytics or security and capacity planning.

Network monitoring switches make this job significantly easier by pre-cabling all those monitoring points from SPANs and TAPs to them instead of directly to the monitoring tools. Your tools are also connected to the network monitoring switch and then all that wonderful info can be shared, filtered, sliced, diced, de-duplicated and directed from one-to-many inbound feeds to one-to-many tools. All with a drag-and-drop control panel that can be automated if you want to sleep in instead of troubleshoot the latest MOP change overnight. Depending on quantity of connections and potential amounts of data in/out (capacity of total ingress traffic vs. total actual processing capacity of your egress monitoring tools), you can filter out huge amounts of unnecessary overhead traffic and/or aggregate tool ports into load balanced groups to keep up with your monitoring requirements. Filters can be changed on-the-fly, thereby avoiding “time-sucking” change board procedures and problem resolution to begin immediately without waiting for permission. This can get you many more months, or even years, of extra performance out of that huge monitoring CAPEX expenditure you laid out only yesterday, i.e. investment protection and another tool in your arsenal.

Bottom line: focusing on your business objectives will tell you what choices to make on how much data is critical to collect and keep, and what you can afford to ignore or look at later.

Anue Big Data Presentation at Interop

Interop Las Vegas: Enterprise Cloud Summit - Big Data

 

Our Anue Systems CTO, Chip Webb, will be interviewed by Jeremy Edberg, Lead Cloud Reliability Engineer from Netflix, at the Enterprise Cloud Summit – Big Data at Interop next week.

Big Data is a technology that is emerging fast, due to its extreme business value. People are really excited about its potential.  Big Data really is different.   I like this description of Big Data from O’Reilly Radar: Big data is data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. The data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn’t fit the strictures of your database architectures. To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it.

Enterprise Cloud Summit - Big Data at Interop Las Vegas

Workloads are bigger, application architecture is different, and applications can be really sophisticated, such as genetic research (protein folding), wind tunnel simulation (one of my personal favorites), stock trading, and web log analysis (think 10s of millions of people visiting websites for targeted advertising.)  Organizations have been collecting logs for a long time, but now have a framework to analyze this mass amount of data and make money from it.

What Is Apache Hadoop?

Whether it is your own implementation of Hadoop on your own infrastructure, or you are using tools like Karmasphere to give analysis capabilities to non-technical users, there are a lot of applications (MapReduce, Pig, Hive and others) and network (how your clusters talk and troubleshooting) work and you want to make sure that your data is secure since it is usually sensitive data.

Three distinct monitoring areas emerge with Big Data: application behavior, network and security.  The tough part is that different groups will be doing monitoring using different tools.  Without a network monitoring switch between the data center production network and monitoring and security tools, a lack of network data access points will force compromises between the different groups, resulting in suboptimal monitoring, which can lead to outages and incidents.Don't Compromise and Learn more about Anue Systems - Net Tool Optimizer 5288 Product Overview

The network monitoring switch aggregates and filters data from across the network so that any number of monitoring tools can get exactly the data they need – no more, no less.  Instead of worrying about limited network access points (SPANs for port mirroring and TAPs) and forcing monitoring requirements from different groups and tools to need to be painstakingly prioritized, you don’t need to compromise.The different groups and tools responsible for monitoring Big Data: application behavior, network and security can all get what they need WITHOUT SACRIFICE, using a network monitoring switch.

Please consider attending Enterprise Cloud Summit – Big Data.  Chip’s time on the agenda is 2:45pm  May 7,  in Mandalay Bay, Lagoon D. Stop by the Anue Systems booth #527.