Tag Archives | Network Performance

CA APM: Find app problems more quickly and effectively

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, consider us flattered. There’s been a LOT of talk in the IT management space of late about “network-aware” application performance management and the ability to scale to “large” environments, as if those are brand new ideas. Really? Let’s take a look:

CA Technologies has unleashed the next generation of application performance management with the availability of CA Application Performance Management (CA APM) 9.1, the industry’s first and only unified application, infrastructure and network performance solution. CA APM gives customers better control of the end-user experience by providing improved visibility across hybrid-cloud infrastructure. CA Technologies Press Release, December 13, 2011.

As you can see, being able to tie transactions to the underlying network infrastructure isn’t really all that new of an idea. We’ve been providing that comprehensive view to our customers for well over 18 months. And, it’s not just the network – we provide view into the mainframe and can provide an external view of performance with CA APM Cloud Monitor. That’s a 360-degree view.

But, what customers with large, complex applications really want is to be more efficient at performance troubleshooting for those mission-critical applications. They need to be alerted to failing components before end-users and the bottom line are impacted. That’s why we’ve added Application Behavior Analytics to the new CA APM 9.5 release. Application Behavior Analytics automatically and without configuration mines performance metrics collected by CA APM (all metrics from network to mainframe as well) and looks for abnormalities in performance. It determines what is normal on its own without the need to set thresholds or teach the system about the application being monitored.

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Surveys: BYOD Popular, But Official Policies Still Lacking

In not-so-shocking news, the bring your own device (BYOD) to work trend, which in turn allows for easier workshifting where employees can pretty much work from anywhere, is helping drive employee satisfaction. As a work-from-home employee, I can relate as it is a great perk to not have to commute every day.

According to this CloudTweaks article, “With this convenience, organizations are reporting an average of 25% reduction in employee attrition simply because BYOD and work shifting are able to bring more employee satisfaction compared to any other motivational strategies that companies have traditionally implemented.”

While BYOD is hot, IT organizations still seem to be lagging when it comes to having an official BYOD policy. According to a survey conducted by Network Instruments at the ongoing Interop conference in Las Vegas, only a third of respondents said their company has an official policy in place, leaving a two thirds sticking with an ad hoc approach. This approach may have to do with the numbers of people actually using their own devices to access network resources, which seems to be relatively low, according to the survey.

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Ellen Puckett, OppenheimerFunds

At CA World: How OppenheimerFunds’ Good IT Organization Got Even Better

Editor’s note: This is the next post in a continuing series of short Q&As featuring speakers scheduled to talk at the upcoming CA World 2013 conference, April 21 – 24 in Las Vegas.

OppenheimerFunds, Inc., one of the United States’ largest and most respected investment management companies, is on a trajectory from technology-focused monitoring to operational service monitoring through improved infrastructure modeling and service-oriented dashboards. In the “How a Good IT Organization Got Even Better” session, Ellen Puckett, AVP of the Corporate Technology Group at OppenheimerFunds, shares how they made this transition and some of the challenges they faced along the way. As we get ready for CA World, we asked Ellen four questions about her session and goals for the show:

Tell us about your upcoming session at CA World 2013.

OppenheimerFunds will present a case study of our recent project to implement an integrated service monitoring solution using Spectrum, SOI, eHealth, VAIM, dbInsight and xMatters .

What are the top 3 things you want attendees to learn from your session?

  1. Integration is the key to automation and reducing mean time to respond
  2. Be Flexible  – deliver customer requirements in small doses and be adaptable to change
  3. Hire good people and let them do their job
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Infrastructure Management: The Foundation of Success in Cloud, Big Data and Other Innovative Business Services

CA Technologies commissioned Forrester Consulting to study how the organizational and economic dynamics of infrastructure management are evolving to provide its intended goal of streamlining performance and availability across diverse systems, networks and applications. “Forrester conducted in-depth surveys with 150 IT decision makers in North America and Europe”; the results can be found in the Evolve Infrastructure Management Into Service Assurance study*.

One of the most pertinent takeaways is that, in today’s world of cloud, big data and collaboration, a strategic Service Assurance portfolio underpinned by infrastructure management is as vital as ever. The vision of infrastructure management is that it should enable improved service quality, predictability and efficiency—and as the authors make clear, realizing this vision is critical to the success of the cloud and other innovative business models and services. The study shows that while organizations are making progress in this effort, Europe ahead of the U.S., they still have work to do.

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IM Heat Chart

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

The September 2012 launch of CA Infrastructure Management (CA IM) was just the first step towards the future of our converged infrastructure management strategy. What have we been up to lately and how are we keeping the momentum going?

We are using what I like to call a “tripod of innovation.” First, we adopted new processes to accelerate innovation. We’re taking Agile software development best practices to new heights at CA Technologies, leading to rigorous and responsive release planning that allows for course adjustments to be made when warranted. This focus on Agile has enabled us to rapidly deliver two new significant releases to the CA IM solution in just over 6 months that added such capabilities as self-certification tools, browser and dynamic trend chart views, context pages administration, technology certification portal and much more that reduces the time,  effort and cost required to manage complex infrastructures.

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Getting the Best Performance from your WAN

Understanding application response times between infrastructure components is critical to managing end-user experience. As the bridge between infrastructure and application performance management, CA Application Delivery Analysis (CA ADA) provides unified end-user experience monitoring — a single source of truth on how network behavior impacts the overall end user experience.  It enables quick identification, diagnosis and resolution of transaction problems caused by the network.

As those of you in the IT trenches already know, WAN optimization efforts can make it difficult to maintain visibility before and after optimization. Previously, CA Technologies worked with Riverbed to introduce Riverbed Services Platform-based monitoring with the release of CA ADA 9.1. However, in order to address Riverbed’s decommissioning of RSP last year, CA ADA takes on a new approach with SPAN based monitoring. While maintaining the necessary visibility to ensure application performance, it also provides new compression reports comparing data sent from the servers and how much actually crossed the WAN.

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Let Us Show You What Innovation Looks Like

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth… “
– Eric Hoffer

Innovation is the ingredient that keeps solutions fresh and enables companies to gain a competitive edge in whatever game they are in. In a business environment that is constantly changing, a tried and true solution may feel safe but can leave you in the dust as the industry marches on.

And it’s not just customers who stay in the land of the tried and true. Vendors with a solid infrastructure management solution and with many other products competing for R&D dollars can lull themselves into thinking that their offering can easily maintain vendor share for a few more years.

But here are the real questions. Has your infrastructure changed in the past five or ten years?  When you deployed your current management solution where you even aware of some of the technologies that now exist in your infrastructure, such as virtualization, cloud services and an ever increasing number of personally owned devices?  Is your infrastructure management solution capably supporting these new technologies or are you holding it together with duct tape and tribal knowledge?

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Big Data

Hadoop: The Big Data Access Trade-off

As organizations and vendors alike recognize the power of Hadoop and Hadoop File System (HDFS) as a scalable file system for Big Data, a tradeoff is emerging.

Hadoop was built on the premise that moving computational processing was cheaper than moving data. It was intended to process data on the same node on which is stored. As usage grows, the trade-off facing organizations today is between access to the stored data in HDFS versus where it is processed.

It’s hard to go a week without a new vendor claiming support for HDFS. Unless the application is leveraging map reduce this likely means reading the data off HDFS and into the application. This inevitably leads to shipping the data across the network, despite rack awareness and other features in Hadoop designed to avoid it.

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CA Network Flow Analysis

12 Things That Could be Clogging Your Network

To celebrate December 12, 2012 (yes, 12-12-12) here are 12 things that could be impacting the performance of your network and the critical applications they support:

  1. YouTube: Yes, cat videos are fun. However, if too many employees are streaming too much video, your network is going to slow to a crawl.
  2. Blackberry 7 Messenger Wi-Fi calls: RIM’s latest Blackberry Messenger update supports Wi-Fi-based calling. That’s great for saving cell minutes, but could add load to the network.
  3. Skype: Microsoft is retiring its Windows Live Messenger communication app in favor of Skype. While instant message traffic should breeze across the network without issue, Skype does make it easy to do voice and video calling, possibly adding to the burden on the network.
  4. Apple FaceTime: Do your employees love their iPhones? If so, they might be using FaceTime to communicate with colleagues and friends over your Wi-Fi. Enough people start using it and your bandwidth could suffer.
  5. Pandora: It’s the holiday season and I love to listen to the Pandora “Christmas Radio” station. Thankfully, I work at home so I am not clogging the office network (and I don’t stream it over the VPN.)

More after the jump.

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Meeting Customer Expectations Through Better Infrastructure Management

With yesterday’s announcement of the newest release of CA Infrastructure Management (CA IM), we took the opportunity to catch up with Mike Sargent, General Manager, Enterprise Management, to learn more about how this solution can help enterprises and service providers deliver a superior and differentiated customer experience.

What was the customer challenge or need that drove development of CA Infrastructure Management?

One of the biggest challenges facing enterprises and service providers is meeting the soaring expectations of their own customer base – whether that customer is an internal employee or a consumer using a wireless network. Consumers have come to expect easy, immediate access to innovative services, and this in turn has put pressure on IT organizations to deliver a similar level of service innovation. In today’s competitive world, our customers are striving to deliver a superior and differentiated customer experience to retain all consumers of their services – at a time when the complexity of the IT infrastructure has been increasing exponentially.

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Rolling Out a New App? How to Avoid 3 Performance Pitfalls

New applications bring the promise of increased productivity, happier end users and better business benefits.  But if the new app stalls on the network, IT managers will only be hearing about the problems the technology causes.

Casey Louisiana, sales engineer at Network Instruments (a CA Technologies partner), meets with customers regularly as they work to deploy applications and keep the network running smoothly. He says there are a few common situations that happen frequently, which could be easily avoided. Here he offers a few fixes for these often overlooked areas when rolling out a new application.

Configuring Quality of Service

Often when IT departments are looking to add, say, voice over IP, to their application mix quality of service sometimes becomes an afterthought. With different management metrics for traffic (for instance, voice and data behave differently) and various prioritizations for some application traffic, IT managers don’t always configure routers, switches, servers and the like to optimally handle the traffic.

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Using Network Management to Capture Packets

Guest Blogger Kate Brew manages product marketing activities for the Anue Systems Net Tool Optimizer (NTO) product line at CA Technical Alliance Partner Anue Systems.

Capturing packets is the surest way to have complete information for incident investigation and remediation. However, it is unlikely that you will want to capture every packet in your network. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use information from current network behavior and only turn on packet capture at the time and place where suspicious behavior is occurring? Well you can, with a solution from CA Technologies and Anue Systems.

Read more about Triggering Packet Captures from CA Spectrum 

Anue offers a network monitoring switch, which is an emerging technology that provides visibility into the network to deliver high-quality performance, security and compliance monitoring. The product delivers traffic from multiple SPAN/TAP access points in the network to packet-based monitoring and security tools (for example, network recorders, IPS/IDS and protocol analyzers). And it handles the scarcity of network access points (SPANs and TAPs), providing aggregation and surgical filtering to ensure the delivery of the right data to each monitoring tool.

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