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Eliminating blind spots with visibility architecture

Apr 15th, 2019

From a technology perspective, organisations are in the throes of a massive change. Digital transformation, the Internet of things, virtualised networking, and the shift to cloud, both public and private is fundamentally changing IT.

So says Tsholo Montshioa, business development manager for Ixia at Axiz, a leading information technology value added distributor. “And businesses of all types and sizes rely on critical applications, and users need to have access to these applications any time, and from anywhere. The challenge for the IT department is to ensure that the infrastructure that delivers these applications is reliable, quick and secure, and to do this, IT needs complete visibility.”

Therein lies the rub, she says. “For many businesses, despite having application management tools and solutions, blind spots sill exist, as these tools are complex, inefficient and expensive. The way  IT monitors, manages and controls infrastructure, needs to radically change.”

Currently, to ensure their networks are reliable, fast and secure, organisations have a number of teams that manage every aspect of the network, adds Montshioa. These include network ops, application ops, security admins, server admins, forensics, and privacy and audit teams. And each of these IT teams invests in their own preferred set of analytics or monitoring tools, such as network performance monitoring and diagnostics; application performance monitoring; threat intelligence gateways; CX monitoring; forensics probes and or crash carts; intrusion detection; SIEM; firewalls both standard and next generation, and intrusion prevention.

“However, for most enterprises, these teams and their solutions do not solve the problem. Blind spots still persist.  In fact, a recent application performance monitoring survey conducted by Ixia, proves this the case. It revealed that a whopping 79% of respondents report not getting expected results from these tools. Moreover, IT organisations are constantly report that monitoring efforts are inadequate, complex, inefficient, and costly,” she adds. “They need a visibility solution to tie it all together.”

According to her, visibility architecture gives IT experts a thorough view of the network and application processes, which is critical for discovering any potential roadblocks or issues that could negatively impact performance. The problem is, visibility too often relies on hindsight, because most don’t always catch issues before they happen, putting the IT department in retroactive role, as opposed to a proactive one.

This is where visibility architecture comes in, Montshioa explains. “Implementing a scalable, visibility architecture into the gives the IT department the ability to act proactively, by giving them a clear sight into performance issues before they happen. A thorough visibility architecture allows organisations to eliminate their current blind spots, while adding a layer of resilience and control. And it does this without any added complexity.”

Visibility architectures enhance performance management solutions, by enabling data to be organised based on task, and save money by removing the need to purchase additional more of these solutions. But Montshioa believes that its most compelling benefit is its proactive monitoring ability.

“Ixia’s Visibility Architecture does all this and more. It improves the insights IT teams get from their out-of-band monitoring tools,  guarantees fail-safe deployments of inline security tools, and delivers proactive monitoring of SLA’s and customer experiences.”

She says it also delivers a return on investment of 100%, and more, and enhances the speed and success of new service deployments. “Moreover, the architecture quickens problem identification, isolation, and repair times, increases the efficiency of network, application, and security monitoring tools, and allows IT to effectively comply with compliance requirements.”

In addition, it offers end-to-end visibility into both physical and virtual networks, and extends the life of existing tools when upgrading network speeds. Visibility Architecture improves the effectiveness and efficiency of IT by giving its monitoring and security tools access to the correct visibility data and intelligence and more importantly, at the appropriate time. This visibility data includes total views of application traffic, and additional visibility intelligence from the company’s Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) Research Center. In fact, it is this research centre that is responsible for the majority of the unique capabilities that the solution delivers.

Ixia boasts the most expansive visibility product portfolio available, and one that  forms the foundation of three key visibility architecture solution frameworks – intelligent visibility, resilient security and proactive monitoring, she adds. “The solution insures that the right data gets to the right tool at the appropriate time, it creates fail-safe inline security tool deployments, and validates active SLA and customer experience monitoring.”

“Moreover, intelligent visibility and smart monitoring enable effective and efficient network, application, and security out-of-band monitoring,” says Montshioa. The end aim is to deliver out-of-band monitoring tools a broader view of the network by giving them easy access to network traffic and external intelligence alike, and at the same time, to enable those same tools to focus on the details that are most important.

“Ultimately, it is being able to see everything so you can easily find a needle in the haystack.”

The solution helps businesses deliver on today’s promises, while planning for tomorrow’s innovations, she concludes. “Ixia’s Visibility Architecture improves overall application reliability, performance and security, and speeds trouble resolution. It is also about accountability, delivering on SLA’s, and meeting customer expectations, as well as bettering the general effectiveness and efficacy of monitoring tools and teams is the quickest way for businesses to become  masters of their own domain, to do more with less, and to free up both financial and human resources, so these can be directed to real, business-building initiatives.”