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March 25, 2022

Visibility Anywhere: Key Takeaways from the NetOps Virtual Summit

by: Amy Feldman

What do big mountain ascents and modern network operations have in common? You’ll only succeed when you’re learning from experience. 

This was one among many compelling takeaways that attendees took from our recent NetOps Summit. Centered on the theme “visibility anywhere,” this event featured a number of compelling presentations, including a keynote from Jimmy Chin, the professional climber, photographer, and Academy Award-winning filmmaker. 

Jimmy outlined his amazing, awe-inspiring journey: Pursuing his passion for exploration after he graduated from college, he went on to be a professional climber and ski mountaineer, as well as a celebrated photographer. Ultimately, he turned to filmmaking, producing his critically acclaimed documentary Meru, and most recently Free Solo, which had the highest grossing weekend for a documentary in history. 

Jimmy recounted how he used his experience and learning to inform each step he took, whether he was planning an expedition in Antarctica or working through the logistics of filming from a sheer granite monolith over 3,000 feet high. He also underscored the need for agility in adapting to changing environments. While building on experience was vital in establishing effective plans, so too was the need to track and anticipate changing variables and refine the approach accordingly. 

This ability to learn from experience and adapt to rapid change represented a recurring theme for the entire event. In today’s digital age, IT operations teams must be able to deliver a reliable user experience, every time and any time—no matter how dynamic and complex the environment. Now more than ever, these digital experiences are reliant upon network connections. Fundamentally, if you can’t prove the user experience is reliable, you can’t truly, consistently ensure resilient delivery. 

The problem is that managing today’s networks represents an entirely different discipline than network operations of the past. In his presentation, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) outlined just how much the demands have changed. Shamus described, how, in years past, teams would focus on monitoring and troubleshooting their on-premises networks. That model has been completely and irrevocably altered: Now, business services and workloads are reliant not just on those internal networks, but a hybrid mix of cloud networks. Now, instead of having 10,000 employees connecting to a handful of networks, those employees are using 10,000 different networks to get their work done. Further, emerging technologies like SD-WAN and secure access service edge (SASE) usher in both complexity and blind spots. 

In his presentation, Serge Lucio, GM, Agile Operations Division, Broadcom Software, outlined how one of the key challenges we see our customers contending with today is in gaining the visibility required. As users access digital services, they rely on networks. To track and ultimately optimize those user experiences, enterprise IT teams need to gain visibility anywhere, not just in the data center or in the cloud, but all the way to where the end user is consuming services. That was the key driver behind our acquisition of AppNeta. 

Around for more than 20 years, AppNeta developed leading technology that offered granular visibility into such aspects as jitter, packet loss, and latency issues. They’ve continued to advance those capabilities to establish dozens of global monitoring points and to offer synthetic monitoring and PGP routing and tracing. As a result, AppNeta truly provides a view into what is happening where the end user is actually accessing data services.

Serge also made a compelling case for why these emerging realities are fueling the need to adopt an agile operation model. Modern networks simply result in teams having too much data, too many alerts, and too many disparate tools. If workflows are reliant upon humans to sift through all this complexity and derive the insights they need, it will cease to be tenable. 

Serge outlined how today’s IT operations teams need solutions that help address several key requirements:

  • Provide insights into every app in every location.
  • Manage SLAs not only for on-premises networks, but for third-party cloud and SaaS environments. 
  • Establish full visibility across the entire network ecosystem, including the core and edges, as well as SD-WAN. 
  • Gain the ability to harness AI and machine learning to reduce noise and help teams focus on the issues that have an impact on the digital user experience. 

Serge then outlined how the combination of AppNeta, DX NetOps, and AIOps uniquely address all these requirements. With these solutions, IT teams can begin to move beyond device-centric, piecemeal approaches and establish experience-driven network operations. With these solutions, teams can validate whether the network is delivering a reliable user experience, for any user, any device, any network, anywhere. With these capabilities, teams can truly optimize the end user experience. Further, these solutions enable IT teams to maximize efficiency and propel the success of their organization’s digital transformation initiatives.

Conclusion

Beyond those noted in this post, our NetOps Summit featured a number of other insightful presentations, including a solution demo, as well as real-world experiences of expert practitioners from leading enterprises, including Coty, NOS, and Providence Health. Be sure to visit the NetOps Summit page to view this event for yourself. 

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