For the past 15 years, the world of the network
administrator has been circumscribed by whatever happens behind the corporate
firewall. Likewise, network metrics have been developed around local area network
(LAN) throughput, bandwidth consumption, resource utilization, and so on.

Now, the adoption of cloud-based and Internet-dependent applications
has changed the game forever. The result is a desperate struggle for most IT
network organizations to deliver the end-to-end service levels and performance
metrics expected for Internet- and cloud-based applications that operate beyond
the firewalls of corporate LANs.

One major knowledge gap is what goes on with network traffic
and application performance once an application starts operating beyond the
enterprise network. If there is latency, dropped packets, or any other type
of disruption that impedes app performance, it naturally becomes a network
concern.

Enter the world of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). I recently spoke with Ajit Gupta, founder and CEO of networking company
Aryaka, about these topics.

“We are at a point where cloud has reached a tipping point,” said Gupta. “Cloud adoption is rapidly accelerating, and today, 47 percent of
all traffic on the wide area network (WAN) is cloud-related.”

Gupta said that many corporate IT departments are hard pressed
to solve the performance issues that accompany a rapid increase in WAN traffic. “What they’re finding is that traditional approaches like the virtual
private network (VPN) still don’t solve issues like bandwidth constraints,” said
Gupta. “To solve bandwidth for many companies becomes a cost-prohibitive investment,
so they must find a way to accelerate their WAN traffic, whether that traffic has
to flow through a straw or a large hole.”

Gupta’s organization focuses on this problem by providing
intelligent network optimization for the WAN. Aryaka has a worldwide network of
distributed points of presence (POPs) that is positioned near end users in
major metro areas around the world. These POPs are then linked into a private
network where resource availability can be monitored and optimized so as to
produce predictable enterprise-grade global connectivity.

IoT end point data collection
and analytics are central to the process. This enables a corporate network
administrator to obtain WAN analytics that his own instrumentation can’t
provide, and to fuse these analytics with his own internal network data and metrics
for a starting point on the road to end-to-end application monitoring. Being
able to consolidate internal and external network analytics into an application
performance composite also eases the minds of network administrators in their quests
for end-to-end app visibility, because they realize it isn’t necessary to “go it alone” for every element of big data harvesting
and harnessing that ultimately factors into quality of service.

Gupta stressed the need for network
administrators to take this broad view of application performance, given the
fact that most companies now operate globally.

“In geographies like India and China, there are
huge packet loss problems that bring down network performance and response
times,” he said. “This impacts the entire world economy because when you have many
people trying to access a lot of data, businesses have to meet that demand to
maintain a competitive edge. In the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India, China) countries,
there are also network issues because additional infrastructure must be built to
handle traffic demands.” These “last mile” Internet problems can be added to the
U.S.’s own “last mile” problem, since large sections of the country still have inadequate Internet access and infrastructure.

The bottom line 

Net admins now have methodologies available that will aid them in
facilitating end-to-end visibility of the network and application
performance—because they can run and acquire analytics from both LANs and WANs, consolidate this data, and obtain information about how
applications are serving users in different areas of the world.

This is big
data and analytics in action–and it is also the “real” and “underlying call” of application performance management (APM) today. Now is the time for network professionals
to respond to it.