Value Adding Network Services require real-time insights

User experience is key in the digital economy. Enterprises are continuously challenged to optimize their global network infrastructures to maintain the best experience and performance for their workforce and their customers. To do this, they need comprehensive and real-time insights into their network’s behaviour — something the typical carrier cannot, and will not, provide.

Right now, the user experience is the major battle to be won. Frictionless networking has become a key element in creating that user experience, and has ultimately changed WAN services delivery radically. The times of designing and deploying a WAN that could last for just a couple of years are far behind us. Networking is now a dynamic, real-time effort as the network has become mission-critical for things like traffic profiles or network security. Today, it’s more important than ever that network managers have granulated, real-time information about the performance of the complete network, as well as particular segments and devices in order to enable control and optimisation. But how do you get your hands on that information?

Maze of protocols and infrastructures

That is quite a challenge, because the typical telecom carrier is not transparent, as it prefers selling capacity upgrades over offering the tools for dynamic scaling. What is more: many providers are not even able to give that information. Major providers have no clear picture of their own network topology, let alone of the things that happen on top of that.

Another complication lies in the fact that global networks are generally composed of paths that are delivered by multiple providers. Imagine a fashion brand with production sites in Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, warehouses in China, Netherlands and the US, shops in all the major cities of the world, procurement and administration operations in Romania, India and Puerto Rico, and data centers in the UK, US and Japan. The network that connects all these sites consists of the offerings of many global and local telco’s. The connection between Moscow and Shanghai may run through 5 separate providers in the different countries alone. On top of that, the network is a maze of multiple protocols and infrastructures. DSLA, MPLS and IP, Fiber, coax, Microwave and wireless. Creating oversight of all this is quite a challenge.

Trying to get the overall answer from the carriers is essential an impossible mission. Really, it is far more effective to create a network intelligence infrastructure yourself. But what is even better, and more cost-effective, is having it as a service from one of the few independent, carrier-neutral network integrators in the market.

Take application behaviour into account

But then: be aware of what you ask for. Knowing your network is not enough. The performance of a network is affected – not only by the behaviour of all the elements that together make the network, such as switches, cables, routers, repeaters – but also by the systems and applications that use that network. A skillfully configured network may suffer from insufficient performance that is caused by a badly configured application. So, in order to optimize the infrastructure, you need to not only know the performance and behaviour of the network alone, but also of the applications that it accommodates.

Network and application performance optimization used to be two separate worlds. We now see that those are coming together, thanks to the emergence of Next-Gen WAN services providers like ourselves that use Next-Gen intelligence tooling for covering both network performance and application performance. Those providers give their customers more insight and therefore better control of their infrastructure, offering far-reaching transparency in pricing and performance.

At Custom Connect, we focus on offering the best network services available. The applications that our customers use are beyond our control, although, they may affect the network performance. Therefore, we feel the need to share the information of the application performance that we see in our networks being used by our customers.

He or she is then able to optimize the network load that the applications bring about. In our search for the best intelligence solution, we came across NetDialog and were instantly impressed by the rich functionality of its flagship, NetX. The platform helps us to lay our eyes and hands on the vital information our customers need –giving us the actionable intelligence for optimizing WAN performance.

Granular intelligence

Using NetX, we offer the knowledge to efficiently monitor and overview business-critical networks. That intelligence helps enterprises get complete visibility and control of their applications across their WAN’s and private cloud environments. We continuously monitor and analyze the performance, user experience and delivery of applications in IT infrastructures, as well as the general performance of WANs, providing up-to-the-minute, easy-to-understand analytical information. This results in better control of key applications and more efficient utilization of WANs and other ICT infrastructure components.

Our customers enjoy granular intelligence on the network load, the behaviour of heavily used applications and the causes for network congestion. This helps to optimize the applications and the network, and in the end, to optimize the ROI and performance of their IT assets. Network Intelligence, therefore, is a business issue first and foremost, more than an IT issue.

3 layers of network intelligence

• The topology of your complete network, end-to-end, across the globe: providers, paths, hubs
• The architecture of your network: protocols, devices, vendor platforms
• The application architecture: applications, their location, Quality of Service policies

“There is a tremendous hunger for data to optimize the ROI and performance of assets”

Blog from: Rutger Bevaart, CTO and Lead Architect