Network Monitoring Is Dead

Network Monitoring Is Dead

Network monitoring is dead, that is, unless network monitoring solutions become agile enough to deliver real-time visibility, while keeping up with the increasing complexity, volume and speed of network traffic in virtualised data centre and cloud application delivery environments.

Today’s legacy monitoring solutions cannot address the demands of modern networks because they were not conceived to handle the problems that arise in large-scale data centres and high-speed networks. In simple terms, the legacy architecture relies on aggregating all the traffic and analysing it after-the-fact in a centralised location. The increasing volume and speed of network traffic makes this legacy approach a bottleneck by design.

Such a bottleneck implies lower operational agility, restricted visibility, and slow response time to situations that require corrective actions, as the operation teams do not have proactive situational awareness and real-time access to true facts.

The traditional monitoring architecture is like the cashier in a struggling legacy retailer. At legacy retail stores, during busy times the centralised cashier is a bottleneck that causes customers to stand aimlessly and wait. However, in an Apple store, the approach is more agile and distributed, every employee at the store can help you with your needs and take your payment from anywhere on the floor, instantly. This distributed model delivers higher customer satisfaction and enables more efficient utilisation of space and time.

Traditional monitoring solutions aim to aggregate all the traffic from across the network for centralised post-processing, during which potential issues can be unearthed. In contrast, “Pervasive Network Intelligence”, which is physically distributed across the network and virtually centralised, allows the heavy lifting of inspecting every packet and every flow in real-time.

This distributed approach to network monitoring is inherently more effective for large complex environments, providing operators of modern networks with real-time situational awareness about what is happening anywhere in their networks.

Old-fashioned monitoring systems do not scale because they try to post-process massive amounts of aggregated data centrally, after-the-fact. That hindsight approach is not conducive to addressing problems before they impact users.

Network professionals should assess whether they need more agile network monitoring solutions by considering a few questions:

  • Is it easy enough to immediately and conclusively resolve intermittent problems that negatively impact business activities and users’ quality-of-experience?
  • Is timely, consistent, and proactive situational awareness available based on granular performance and health indicators?
  • Is it possible to drive capacity planning and traffic engineering based on granular information about temporal behaviours like spikes and jitter?
  • Is it possible to interactively search network traffic in real time to find tell-tale signs of imminent issues and problems like distributed denial of service?
  • Do you have the information agility needed to optimise your operational efficiency and infrastructure utilisation?

To address all of these issues, a novel hardware-software architecture can be deployed to deliver pervasive real time intelligence. It should combine real-time hardware inspection of every bit in every packet and every flow across the entire network environment with radically simplified software to allow instant access to relevant information from any web browser.

It’s time for monitoring solutions to catch up with the rest of the networking and data centre world. Otherwise, it risks the fate of legacy retail models that could not modernise to work in today’s world.

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Rony Kay

Dr. Rony Kay combines unique expertise in high performance hardware and software design and product management with 20 years of experience in optimisation and algorithms. Rony founded cPacket Networks and serves as its President and CTO. He is the principal architect of cPacket’s hardware and software technology. Before founding cPacket Networks, Rony worked for Intel's Enterprise Platform Group, where he managed engineering teams working on high-end server processors and drove corporate design methodology initiatives. Previously, he spent 5 years with IBM where he was research fellow and a project manager of cutting edge software and hardware development; he brought several products from inception, through conceptual design and product development and execution, to successful customer deployments. Rony earned his Ph.D in Computer & Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. He has published a dozen technical papers and has been awarded six patents.

  • SevOne


    Hellerman here from SevOne Inc. Great article. I was wondering if you had a chance to evaluate SevOne. We here at SevOne work hard to meet the demands and needs of today’s, and the future’s networks. That is why we are positioned as the most scalable performance management system for the worlds most connected companies, with recent deployments in Comcast, Verizon, UBS, Lockheed Martin, Xerox, and many other major companies data centers. In fact at Cisco Live this year in Orlando, we touted our ability to monitor 5 million elements from a single rack. The other “leading” vendor in network monitoring is so far behind us that a similar deployment from them would require enough rack-space to span the length of a Boeing 737.

    We also agree with you when you stated your need for real-time network monitoring. One of the greatest features of SevOne is that we offer polling down to the second. We also find a baseline of normal on your past data. If the data strays too far
    from a baseline, we proactively trigger alerts, helping you prevent problems on your network before they impact end users.

    We would love to help you become more familiar with our system and see how we can work together. This was a fantastic article and it is a breath of fresh air to see people begin to realize just how far network monitoring solutions need to come
    to keep up with the speed of innovation.

  • barryherne

    I think that you are a bit categoric and modern network monitoring tool are doing their best to be able to satisfy and to cope with the problems that arise. You know that nothing is perfect in the world. Just give them some time to improve which has already been started for example by Anturis.