Today network is at the center of Information Technology. It is the “element” of that actually touches and sees all data. Today Network Performance Management (NPM) has blended into application performance management (APM) and IT operation management. These segments have become interdependent. However, the network is serving as the core element of that interdependence and requires newer insight and new ways of interaction.
A look back
NPM has always been seen as a work for the ultra-geek, someone clad with pencil and broken glasses which is taped together taking a reading of the network activity and nobody particularly cares about them or their jobs. But now, these geeks have become the Surgeon General of Information Technology, because the network has become its central nervous system. Network virtually touches and sees every nook and cranny of a digital system; applications, connected devices, storage devices, servers, hypervisors, VMs, containers, and micro services. Every operation of IT elements depends on the operation of the network, so NPM must combine the aspects of APM and IT operation monitoring.
One of the primary challenges is the introduction of big data, analytics and the cloud in both NPM and APM. One of the biggest challenges that Network Management Performance faced is to maintain historical data for trend analysis and prediction. Data center provided raw data could only be stored for a few days or a week, so, the planning based on these were not 100% reliable. These also accounted for micro-bursts of data traffic that caused more latency, packet loss and generated more problems for the network.
Cloud-based computing has become the norm and it has revolutionized the whole IT world. Cloud is an example of the evolution that has taken place into NPM, APM and IT operation management. NPM vendors have started to extend the workload visibility from private, on-premises enterprise cloud into the public cloud. In the last few years, NetScout Systems, Gigamon, and Ixia introduced new products that distributed workloads in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud for performance monitoring. Many other vendors have added endpoint visibility through agents and other instruments which allow end users to monitor the performance in the web. This has also helped in pinpointing the root cause of any problems happened at the endpoint, on-premises or in the cloud. As Information Technology embraces IoT with open arms, NPM has become very critical in ensuring the optimal performance, availability, and reliability of the overall IT infrastructure.