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September 8, 2021

Painting a Complete Network Monitoring Picture: Why Context is Critical

by: John Murdough

In order to produce their masterpieces, artists like van Gough, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Monet painted with more than just one color. Being able to choose from multiple colors (not to mention an abundance of talent, inspiration, and creativity) is what allowed these artists to see their complete vision come to life on canvas.

However, if you’re relying on a single set of data to troubleshoot network issues, it’s like you’re stuck painting with one color. You just won’t be able to see the complete picture.

Teams should always have the ability to paint with a full range of colors. For network operations triage, this means harnessing intelligence from alarms, faults, network flows, performance data, network configurations, and logs. All relevant network data must be collected, correlated, and analyzed. This complete visibility is vital if teams are to make fast, intelligent decisions.

Additionally, metrics collected by advanced network monitoring, such as physical network performance correlated with software-defined control plane performance, enables operations teams to frame their completed picture and hang it on the wall with confidence, knowing they had everything they needed to create a masterpiece.

DX NetOps network monitoring software provides this complete picture to network operations teams. With the solution, teams can troubleshoot quickly and easily, within the context of a specific network device, interface, or virtual network function—all with one click from the initial alarm.

This is very unique in the industry. Our DX NetOps network monitoring context pages enable you to see different network data formats and different data streams, all within the context of the specific network element you are troubleshooting. By seeing all the metrics collected that relate to a specific network device, you can make an intelligent decision about the root cause of any performance issue.

What “colors” does Broadcom provide you to paint a complete network monitoring picture?

  • Alarm data, offering instant notifications into problems on the network, with troubleshooting tools at your fingertips.
  • Configuration data, delivering insights into the current configuration of a device, as well as whether anything has changed, and whether the timing of any changes coincides with an alarm or performance change.
  • Log data, providing granular visibility into what is happening over time.
  • Performance data, revealing insights on current and future network utilization, congestion, packet loss, and capacity planning.
  • Fault data, enabling teams to do network event correlation, root cause analysis, service modeling, topology inspection, and relationship investigation.
  • Flow data, offering visibility into network traffic identification, behavior, utilization, and anomalies, as well as the impact on application performance.

The best part about this is that we do all the hard lifting for you. We have figured out how to analyze disparate information and organize it into a unified inventory for you. As a result, you can have confidence that you have everything you need to know about a device—in one click.

Just having network performance data is not enough. Just collecting network fault data is not enough. Our network monitoring software efficiently delivers a complete picture, one based on all disparate data sources. With this complete picture, you can triage faster and reconcile with confidence.

Here’s a real word example: Suddenly there is a significant change in network utilization. If a network team is only collecting performance data, they won’t be able to efficiently ascertain where the issue is originating. Maybe it is more application traffic, but you would need network flow data to find out. Maybe there was a change in a network configuration and now an interface is dropping packets, but you’d need configuration data to determine that. Maybe a device was hacked, but with no visibility into log data, you wouldn’t know for sure.

Having all the relevant data at your fingertips produces reliable and efficient troubleshooting scenarios like the following. Users complain about slow application performance. You are able to see network fault data from a border gateway protocol (BGP) that is rerouting events, which reveals that traffic isn’t moving over the intended path. You also have access to performance data, where you see interface errors and packet discards on that same device. Finally, the syslog data collected reveals transceiver errors on a small form-factor pluggable (SFP) optical connector on that exact device.

Without a complete network monitoring picture composed of all these collected metrics and data, you could be troubleshooting with your internet provider about a suspected but non-existent BGP configuration change. But with collected network configuration data, you would have already determined that there were no configuration changes on that device and immediately moved on to the next area of investigation.

Broadcom is proud to uniquely enable our customers to paint their network monitoring masterpiece with a full range of colors based on data from alarms, faults, flows, performance, configuration, and logs—so they can make intelligent network triage decisions and reconcile with confidence.