The importance of visibility for today’s complex networks
Posted on 30 April 2014.
The complexity of modern enterprise networks is increasing due to a number of factors, and deeper levels of network visibility are necessary to aid in their management and troubleshooting, say the results of an Emulex Corporation study revealed at Infosecurity Europe 2014.


Of particular note, more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents stated that they expect the number of requests to capture network data (including metadata and packet-level data) to increase dramatically, driven by the needs of a variety of IT groups including network architecture, security, compliance, applications, and IT audit teams.

The survey polled 150 IT professionals from various industries, all from enterprises with 1,000 or more employees.

Key findings from the survey include:
  • Network performance challenges are increasing, and result from the size, complexity and mobility of modern network environments. The number one indicated network performance challenge (43%) that respondents face is monitoring/managing network performance between groups of web, application, and database servers in the data centre. The second most cited challenge by respondents is maintaining end-to-end network performance to endpoint devices connecting either via public networks (42%) or wide area networks (WAN) (35%). These challenges reflect a rapidly changing environment marked by centralised data centres and an increasingly mobile workforce, which requires extending the boundary of end-to-end management to mobile devices. Other challenges include tuning the network (33%), providing Quality of Service (QoS) based on traffic or application (27%), and understanding network latency (27%).
  • Security challenges are increased when there is a lack of proper network visibility for incident detection and resolution. The most often cited challenges from respondents include the struggle to capture network behaviour for incident detection (38%), monitoring network flows for anomalous behaviour (35%), the ability to capture and analyse logs from network and security devices (29%), and the ability to establish a baseline of normal network behaviour (27%).
  • Organisations struggle with multiple network monitoring tools to capture network traffic and only see that number increasing in 2014. More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents stated that they expect the number of requests to capture network data (including metadata and packet-level data) to increase dramatically. Requests to capture network data are also now being initiated by the network architecture, security, compliance, and IT audit and application teams.
  • More than half of organisations’ monitoring tools cannot cope with increased 10GbE network throughput. 54% of organisations find that they either sometimes or frequently cannot cope with the increased throughput or are dropping packets due to the increased throughput.
“Despite the challenges faced by organisations with rapidly growing and complex network environments, the ability to capture network data has never been more important. Network outages have proven to be disastrous from the cost of downtime alone – which can be millions of dollars per hour - not to mention the amount of dedicated resources it takes to identify root cause of these outages,” said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. “Organisations need to ensure they have effective monitoring solutions in place that will enable them to maintain network availability in the face of increasing data centre complexity.”






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