The world of IT Services has changed. Years back, everyway was talking about how get to the Cloud and how we can migrate our systems across to it. Now, we’re all talking about how we can operate in the Cloud and how we can do it more efficiently. We’re always wondering how we can improve the service experience when using the Cloud. The Cloud might be a force.com applications, Office 365, Skype For Business Calls/Videos, Accessing a CRM/ordering system, Webinars or simply just watching cat videos on YouTube.
An area that’s often overlooked is the quality of connectivity to the Cloud. Often with connectivity, the major areas are taken care of. A big leased line/fiber circuit with a failover with a diverse path, a few expensive Cisco Routers and Switches and you’re set to go. Or, not quite as the case seems to be.
Real Network Monitoring
One thing we tend to see ignored is ongoing monitoring on the network. We don’t often see companies having someone proactively look at their network to ensure it continues to function well over time. This lack of data also makes fault finding incredible tricky for technology partners such as telecom companies and application service providers. Worse still, when an error or problem occurs, everyone points fingers at each other while your company’s productivity takes a huge nosedive.
We think just by monitoring a few extra things, you can get great insight into what’s going on with your network and see how it’s performing on a day to day basis. We’ve more or less narrowed it down to the following questions that we think everyone should ask about their network;
What have you been sold?
- What speed should your circuit be (guaranteed minimums) – for Say ADSL, FTTC, EFM, GEA and what not.
- What is your Service Level Agreement on Uptime, what is your Performance Guarantee if any.
Knowing what you’ve been sold is critically important. If the capability of what you’ve been sold – and importantly – what it should be capable of isn’t known, then measuring how well a service is performing turns into a guessing game.
Now we know the capability of the product you have, we can perform assessments to see how close to that offering you’re getting. We typically then look at;
- What speed is your internet circuit (download and upload)
- How long has your circuit been up/established (i.e. when did it last reset/go down)
- How much traffic is going in/out the circuit (continuous measurement)
- How much latency do you have between key touch points externally (Our Appliance to your router, several key websites and a few monitoring beacons)
- How much latency do you have between key touch points internally (between Our Appliance and your routers, switches, wireless access points, servers, clients)
- How fast and reliable are access to key network services (DNS and NTP)
- How well are key network services working (HTTP, HTTPS, SIP, Voice/Video, Custom Protocols/Applications).
- What protocols/websites are most visited from the network?
With all the above data being collected by the minute, then the hour, day, week month and year, you start to see a picture appearing. The information starts to make sense and the network no longer appears to be a random collection of boxes that sometimes function and sometimes does not.
It starts to quickly become obvious where problems are. Is the issue a backup or heavy system update that’s occurring in the middle of the day? Are too many people watching cat videos on YouTube at lunchtime? Has migrating that accounting app to the Cloud placed additional load on the Internet connection with lots of documents being downloaded/uploaded/printed?
What can you do about it?
It starts to get easier to question where problems are when you have the data. An all too common recommendation from companies is to spend money on network upgrades, wireless equipment, switching equipment or an array of other things without really looking at the data.
We started this service after seeing customers spend a lot of money on connectivity upgrades that were making minimal differences because they did not actually address the main problem.
We offer this service to end users, IT Departments and Service Providers, we can offer it as one-offs or as an ongoing service. We do this very cost effectively and it can help get your network under control in a very short period of time. If you’d like further info about this service, please feel free to contact a member of the team and we’ll help right way.