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Get insight into the user experience by correlating wired and wireless data

Anand Srinivas, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, Nyansa | April 20, 2016
Technology advances take IT Operations Analytics to the next level.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Frustration in IT operations is at an all-time high because it is hard to make informed decisions quickly if you can’t correlate user, network and applications data for any client or groups of clients in real time and across time, location and other dimensions to gain a broader perspective into each user’s actual experience on the network.

But recent advances in IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) now makes it possible to passively collect wireless data directly from network elements, such as wireless controllers and/or access points, without requiring sensors or agents on clients. These solutions perform out of band, deep packet inspection on real user data traversing the network in order to extract information about clients, network services and applications.  

Emerging ITOA systems have been developed to deliver a more complete picture of infrastructure performance by collecting, inspecting, interpreting and analyzing traditionally disparate data within the network with the goal of providing:

  • Complex application and problem root-cause analysis
  • Faster time to remediation
  • Collective intelligence from analyzing network behavior across multiple organizations
  • Performance and capacity management planning
  • And the ability to anticipate future problems that infrastructure might experience

To do this, a myriad of data types, varying from vendor to vendor, need to be extracted and analyzed, such as:

  • Machine data produced by network devices, services and sensors, including logs
  • Protocol metadata that describes the performance detail of various network protocols
  • Wired data from raw packets traversing the network
  • Agent data from software placed on clients
  • And synthetic data generated to meet specific needs or certain conditions that may not be found in the original, real data

Today, when problems occur, operations staff are inundated with volumes of uncorrelated network, client and application data that must be methodically analyzed before anything useful can be accomplished. Traditional IT operations solutions are simply reactive, do not pinpoint problems, and are ill equipped to address today’s modern mobile network environments. They are able to gather data, but that still puts the burden on IT to manually correlate the data.

It’s all about the user experience

When connecting to a network there are countless wired and wireless transactions that take place across all layers, each of which can affect the user experience.

Today there’s no easy way for network operations staff to obtain a holistic view of the entire network application stack to pinpoint current and potential problems and analyze real-time and historical trends, to improve client performance, network reliability or proactively plan for additional users and network-sensitive applications. Proper configuration and performance at each layer and every transaction (see figure below) are crucial to reliable application delivery, network operation, and optimal user performance.

 

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