By Sunil Gafar:Regional Director, ExindaIndia & SAARC
Complaints about poor application performance from frustrated users are probably one of the main reasons organisations pick up packet shaping appliances.In reality, one would realise that a lot has changed since an organisation invested in its traffic shaper.
Today, organisations move many of their critical applications to the cloud and there is a strong possibility that their network by now has exploded with mobile devices — but at the same time, the packet shaper may not have evolved to keep pace with the changes and the massive surge in network activity.
Traffic management and prioritization is a critical component to success not only for an IT organization, but to the business as a whole.
If employees can’t access key applications reliably productivity drops, impacting the bottom line. If the team is struggling to guarantee consistent quality of experience or if it’s taking longer to troubleshoot issues, it may be time to bid a fond farewell to any legacy technology. Here are 5 warning signs to look out for to enable any replacement thus enabling increased efficiency:
Spending too much time managing traffic:
The IT Manager or Network Administrator has one of the most important and one of the busiest jobs in any organization where one is simultaneously rolling out a new application, solving a critical support-related issue, or trying to manage both at the same time.
Keeping tabs on traffic trends and ensuring mission-critical applications are always running at peak performance is an important part the job, but network monitoring and classifying traffic should take up only a small portion of work week.
But… if one is spending more than 20% of their time at work trying to detect or classify new network traffic – it may be time to consider a switch.
Keeping pace with new applications
In the new era of “Applications”, new applications are constantly being developed and what’s trending is always in flux. Most networks today have nearly 1200 applications running at all times, but only 30-40 of these are actually sanctioned by the organization’s IT department.
The packet shaping device being used in all likelihood may onlyhave the ability to classify up to 800 apps – which wasgreat a few years ago, but isn’t enough to identify all theapplications running on an organisations network anymore.
If there is an overburden trying to identify and control the new applications entering a company’s network, it may be a sign to trade-in the current packet shaper.
Trouble shooting issues
The applications that an organization’s users depend on to communicate, collaborate and generate revenue should perform flawlessly. But when problems arise and help desk calls start pouring in from frustrated users, what matters is how long does it takes for the team to pinpoint, diagnose and resolve the issue?
It’s seen that the average help desk ticket now takes over 3 hours to resolve because IT pros lack the ability to quickly understand what happened, why it occurred and how to best fix it. While the team is trying to collect all these details, users are sitting idly unable to do their jobs properly.
It’s important to take a rain check on the how much time is being spent sifting throughlog files, finding the root cause, analysis and haphazardly tweaking policies and protocols. And thus could be a good time to say goodbye to the old shaping tool.
Ease of User Interface
Packet shapers are incredibly powerful tools, allowing to see and control how applications are performing, how bandwidth is being used, and providing insight into individual user activity. But too often, powerful is another way of saying ‘difficult to use’ and ‘time-consuming’.
The packet shaping device chosen should reduce the amount of time and energy being spent monitoring and managing what’s on the network. However, if the UI is too cumbersome to manage, and is keeping the team from easily spotting traffic and quickly configuring policies to contain it, the tool is only slowing the process down and is taking valuable time away from other critical projects.
When UI become too arduous to use or understand, it could be time to consider alternative traffic shaping solutions.
The right vendor support
The need for traffic management isn’t going away. To drive business success, it’s critical for organizations to have a solution in place that can control unsanctioned application usage and prioritize the applications the company depends on.
When considering any major technology purchase, one needs to feel confident that the vendor is as invested in the future of the product as the organisation and willing to continuously advance the solutions feature set.