September 7, 2015
Today's network manager is caught in something of a perfect storm. Budgets are low, yet demand for bandwidth and other resources is soaring. The network manager has to keep costs down while improving the end user experience, all while applications get greedier and content gets beefier. What are the network manager's challenges, and how can they properly monitor network performance and conduct sound capacity planning for current and future bandwidth needs?
The network manager must balance between sticking within budget constraints and providing a positive user experience for an increasingly demanding user base.
The Balancing Act of Network Performance & Capacity Planning
From one side, budget restraints are tighter than ever. Stinging from a post-recession lackluster economy, upper management is loathe to increase the IT budget, leaving the network administrator struggling to make current resources work. On another side are the users, ever demanding a better performance. The age of the Internet and mobile devices has taught them that gratification must be instant -- nobody is willing to wait around for a site to load or content to download. From yet another angle, applications are hungrier for bandwidth. Content is increasingly rich, and demand for cloud access, video streaming, VoIP services, and other bandwidth suckers is at an all-time high.
How to Optimize Capacity Planning
There are several considerations when balancing end user experience with costs, while handling such a marked spike in the demand for bandwidth. First, the network manager must determine when and where there is actually a need for more bandwidth. This requires that the network manager answer several key questions:
- Which links are the most congested?
- How long does the congestion last? Seconds? Minutes? Hours?
- Is the congestion due to business use or personal/social use?
- Is there a way to reduce capacity without hindering business productivity?
- Is there a way to use the existing bandwidth more efficiently and effectively?
- What exactly is the end user experience? Drastically slow? Just a little slow? An unnoticeable difference?
- Which links are most critical to the business' needs?
- If the link is downsized, can it continue to maintain a quality level of service to the business?
- Can an increase in capacity be justified for the link(s) experiencing the most congestion?
- Does the congestion occur after hours when systems are processing data and backing up? If so, this may not affect end user experience enough to justify increasing bandwidth.
- How can you distinguish between legitimate traffic and personal/social traffic? How can you discourage personal/social traffic in order to preserve capacity?
|For every problem, there is a solution. When it comes to network performance and capacity planning, your obvious solution is TruView.|
How NETSCOUT Can Assist Network Managers with Capacity Planning Solutions
Before the network manager can begin capacity planning, they need a reliable, robust way to track traffic and evaluate it according to current bandwidth and end user experience. This requires a means for monitoring app performance and an alert system to notify network managers when capacity or end user experience exceeds a predetermined baseline. The solution also needs to be able to distinguish business traffic from personal/social traffic and to determine the times and length of times that specific links are experiencing excessive traffic.
TruView by NETSCOUT is such a solution. You can learn more about monitoring and improving network performance and improving network capacity planning capabilities in the free whitepaper, "Optimizing bandwidth: why size doesn't always matter." Download this whitepaper here and learn more about the TruView solution today.