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As networks continue to grow and evolve, the need for monitoring and analytics tools has never been greater. Unfortunately, most network configurations are unable to support the capabilities needed to oversee a blizzard of applications across multi-cloud environments. Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) mark a major game changer for keeping tabs on critical network technology, providing operators with the real-time analytics required to make informed, data-based decisions.

The rise of SD-WAN

SD-WAN rose to prominence with the widespread adoption of cloud-based services among enterprises. The technology provides a way to deliver a steady stream of services to both corporate and branch offices. Using SD-WAN, service providers are able to offer a new level of connectivity that lowers operational costs and optimizes network resources for multi-site deployments.

In this cloud-centric world, SD-WAN is revolutionizing how networks are run.  From a single pane of glass, SD-WAN allows IT professionals to manage and monitor the health of the network, without having to manually configure individual devices. This takes some of the workload off IT staff, enabling them to focus on more critical projects.

Application traffic flows

Ensuring applications run smoothly is of chief importance for network operators, especially during periods of high-network demand like video conferences calls. These sorts of bandwidth-intensive applications can lead to bottlenecks, which slow down the overall performance of the network. This is where data derived from monitoring and analytics tools come to the fore.

Platforms like VMware SD-WAN™ by VeloCloud® can measure the network traffic volumes of individual applications. Using these insights, VMware SD-WAN optimizes network paths to keep individual applications humming. Additionally, the platform makes application response times even faster by aggregating WAN circuits of any kind to effectively allocate bandwidth.

End-to-end visibility

Embracing cloud-based applications has led to an expansion in amount of network territory that needs to be monitored and managed. The monitoring and analytics tools that are integrated into SD-WAN give users complete visibility across the entire network. Using the technology, enterprises can monitor end-user behavior and be alerted if there are any issues on the network such as a dropped connection, outage with the ISP, or lower QoS. Based upon real-time data, network operators are able to not only detect these issues, but remediate the problem remotely.

For example, MIST Learning WLAN, which can be used with VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud, is able to provide insight in network performance for the WAN. Leveraging AI to automate several tasks, such as data correlation and anomaly detection, the product can quickly deploy fault isolation to diagnose a network oddity and offer predictive recommendations to deter potential threats ahead of time.

Network impairment

A plethora of issues can arise that impair network performance. Packet delay, jitter, packet loss and a host of other problems are able to disrupt applications, leading to slower internet and uploading speeds.

These network impairments are unavoidable corollaries that network operators need to mitigate in advance. Although developers perform field tests on applications under different conditions, such as functional testing, load testing and compatibility testing, they are insufficient for determining the total impact a network can have on an application. This is because controlled tests in the lab do not always mirrors the conditions of a user’s environment.

Monitoring and analytics tools with SD-WAN can shed light on how a network’s strengths and weaknesses may affect the performance of different applications. The data accrued from these services can then be used to help enterprises establish network policies and pre-determined pathways.

You can learn more about how VMware SD-WAN can utilize real-time network data to improve network performance at VMworld 2019 US. Join us on Wednesday, August 28 at 8am PT when our team members Tony Banuelos and Jaspreet Bhatia present “Know, Understand, Execute: Network Monitoring and Analytics with SD-WAN.”