With end-to-end monitoring of hybrid networks, you can make sure the internet is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.
The main street in my town is mostly lined with mom-and-pop shops, and I love to support these businesses. Large online retailers keep making it harder for these stores to compete, so I think it’s important to keep doing business with them when I can.
Lately, it’s been interesting to see that these mom-and-pop shops increasingly have something in common with the largest online retailers: They’re reliant on the internet to deliver their goods and services to consumers.
It makes perfect sense that both large online retailers and small businesses have embraced digital transformation in profound ways, and that all of these organizations have fundamentally changed how they do business in the process. Now, no matter who you shop with, you can enjoy a flexible, hybrid shopping experience, whether you want to buy online and pick up in store or buy in the store and have an out-of-stock item delivered. As retailers start to rely on an unmanaged network like the internet in order to deliver exceptional retail experiences, many network operations teams are confronted by the fact they have a complete lack of network monitoring visibility and control.
Figure 1: The network path that a retail transaction can take has many hidden components that, if not properly monitored, can have a negative impact on the consumer experience.
Contending with the Blind Spots Created by SD-WAN and Cloud
As retailers continue to pursue digital transformation, SD-WAN is emerging as a hot topic. SD-WAN offers revolutionary advantages. These technologies enable retailers to get rid of expensive, dedicated network circuits and use the internet to provide secure and cost-effective network access to each retail store. However, SD-WAN also presents a range of challenges for legacy network monitoring approaches. Recent studies reveal that a mere 47% of enterprises are successful with their SD-WAN implementations.
Cloud-based approaches are also proving problematic. For example, on December 7, 2021, millions of users were affected by an AWS outage that took down major online services, such as Amazon shopping. The outage also took down the apps that power warehouse, delivery, and Amazon Flex workers—in the prime holiday shopping season. The AWS status dashboard noted that the root cause of the outage was an impairment of several network devices. Just a week later, another AWS outage occurred, which was reportedly due to network congestion between parts of the AWS backbone and a subset of internet service providers.
These outages underscore the findings of Broadcom Software’s research, which discovered that in 81% of enterprises, teams report their network monitoring software is creating blind spots. But this lack of visibility and control that comes with digital transformation does not have to mean more headaches for network operations teams.
Figure 2: Gain visibility and control of every hop in the user’s network delivery path with hybrid network monitoring software.
Extending Monitoring Visibility to Networks You Don’t Control
When it comes to your user experiences, you are responsible for the entire network delivery path now, whether you own the infrastructure or not. This means you need to adopt network monitoring strategies that extend your visibility and control, so you can track the networks you own—and the networks you don’t. This visibility must now include home Wi-Fi, residential ISP, backhaul ISP, and networks of cloud and SaaS providers.
Large Sports Retailer Delivers 100% Reliability to Online Shoppers
A case study of a large U.S.-based sports retailer offers a compelling example of the power of gaining end-to-end network monitoring visibility. (To learn more, see the case study, “Large Sports Retailer Employs DX NetOps During Pandemic to Ensure 100% Reliable Online Shopping Experiences.”)
With their network monitoring software, the retailer was able to establish end-to-end visibility of their hybrid network. This software delivered operational insights, enabling the team to understand network performance degradation at any level of their e-commerce platform. This team was able to improve its monitoring processes, so they could deliver always-on network availability and optimize e-commerce network performance.
The hybrid network is here to stay. Most, if not all, companies are now using the internet to access workloads running in the cloud, manage customer transactions, and collaborate via SaaS applications. But the internet does not have to create blind spots in your operations. With advanced network monitoring software, you can take back control over how you deliver customer experiences. These advanced solutions deliver visibility into every portion of the network delivery path. Whether you are a running a small or large retail shop, you can ensure that hybrid holiday shopping will prove successful for both you and your customers.