Remote work is the new normal for today’s enterprise. Alec Pinkham, Director of Product Marketing at AppNeta, addressed issues related to this new dynamic at the Spring 2020 ONUG Virtual Conference. AppNeta is a leader in scalable solutions that monitor network performance from the end-user perspective. They provide real-time, actionable insights from remote offices, over internal networks and across the internet. AppNeta solutions allow companies to get to the bottom of performance issues regardless of where they occur.
Pinkham brings his expertise and answers the following questions in just 10 short minutes.
Listen to and view his brief, yet informative, presentation here. For your convenience, we’ve recapped the highlights below.
Pinkham is in constant contact with clients. Based on those discussions, he divided feedback he has received regarding the shift to “work from home” for enterprise IT into these three categories.
VPN connections are not new. Companies have been using them for years, as employees traveled or needed to connect from home. However, VPN backhauling doesn’t take into account the reliance on SaaS and third-party web apps, which is now extremely popular. As a result of more people accessing these apps from home, there’s a rapid increase in the strain on VPN connections.
There’s a shift to split tunneling to try to meet these challenges because it alleviates the initial performance issues that some users have going through backhaul tunnels. However, there are challenges here too.
Pinkham points out that much of the app delivery chain is now hidden. IT must re-evaluate their role in a world where they have very little ownership of the actual chain. AppNeta meets this challenge by encouraging the monitoring of both the overlay tunnel and the underlying infrastructure.
“There are more gaps in visibility for IT in work from home environments,” explained Pinkham. The applications are an issue. “If we own the apps, we have visibility into the status from the web server side, data center or cloud, even if that’s a different team within our enterprise,” Pinkham continued. “If we don’t own the app, we can access trust sites and availability metrics, but there are still major gaps in troubleshooting. Determining what IT is accountable for in this era goes beyond the network upturn metrics, and beyond just simple vendor management.”
Pinkham outlined three ways of regaining visibility.
AppNeta’s solution combines passive monitoring with traffic analysis and packet level data, combining with active synthetics to monitor both the network path and applications that are business critical. This combination gives unique insights and the ability to correlate data sets for faster data resolution and a better end user experience.
Additionally, Pinkham noted that the network path dimension gives clients active, continuous, end-to-end measurement of their network’s health, performance and availability. This level of visibility is vital for any network you deliver apps over, even if they are outside your traditional management domain.
The AppNeta performance manager has active web synthetics that allow for proactive monitoring that help you identify SaaS and web app issues before they affect end users. AppNeta users are equipped to answer questions, such as:
“Monitoring network flows allows us to monitor real end user experiences and identify every app in use across your network,” explains Pinkham. Most SaaS apps are being delivered via HTTPS from common cloud provider data centers. Traditional solutions simply lack the granularity needed to understand what apps are consuming the most bandwidth, what kind of user experience is being delivered, as well as the ability to measure network latency. AppNeta’s approach securely analyzes the live traffic to give you full visibility.
AppNeta’s solution offers a wide range of monitoring points within the hardware and software to allow greater flexibility and capabilities, ranging from containers to large-scale data center devices. “To enable insights in the work from home environment, we deploy a lightweight native agent for Linux, Microsoft and Apple that allows teams to create path monitoring out to any hosted application,” said Pinkham. AppNeta monitoring is designed to run continuously with very little overhead to the end user’s workstation and minimal impact on the network capacity.
Further emphasizing the importance of visibility, Pinkham used an image to show a work from home monitoring example. It showed the overlay view of the VPN tunnel entrance, including high-level user experience data. It also showed the underlay, which gives visibility into the service providers involved in the connection. Pinkham showed how network managers can look at one view that shows app performance through a tunnel, around a tunnel and out to a third party. This visibility into the network delivery chain enables you to see what segments break down and where performance issues are stemming from.
AppNeta performance manager allows you to dive deep into any delivery paths, providing continuous baseline insights, including:
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