4 Reasons Your Network Team Needs Better Visibility Into Cloud Deployments

IT teams need centralized visibility in cloud deployments for accurate cost and consumption analysis and to provide better monitoring and troubleshooting.

Vishwas Puttasubbappa

August 18, 2020

6 Min Read
4 Reasons Your Network Team Needs Better Visibility Into Cloud Deployments
(Image: Pixabay)

Monitoring the public cloud in conjunction with the network and applications can be a major challenge for enterprise IT teams. Most tools designed to address this issue – whether directly from cloud providers or specialized point solutions – fall short of delivering the in-depth visibility IT teams really need to adequately manage performance from end to end. While public cloud adoption continues to rise, blind spots in these environments are highly prevalent and can be incredibly costly.

The good news is that there are new technologies and approaches that can assuage these cloud visibility challenges, offer IT teams more control, and profoundly impact the business overall. Here are four key areas in which granular insight from the network to the cloud can make a significant difference:

Cloud Migrations

Many organizations are migrating on-premises applications to the cloud today, and many more will continue to do so over the next few years. But cloud migrations can vary greatly depending on your company’s needs and objectives. Unfortunately, cloud infrastructure and specialized point solutions can struggle to provide the level of network and application visibility that architects and engineers on both the cloud and network sides need to be successful with these transitions.

In many cases, organizations struggle with cloud migration initiatives due to a lack of understanding when it comes to pre- and post-migration key performance indicators (KPIs) and an inability to accurately measure historical baselines and changes over time. Whether you’re migrating limited portions of your system such as a few specific databases or servers, or an entire application stack or data center, it’s important to gain granular visibility to ensure a smooth transition. To do that, you need end-to-end insight from on-premises environments into the public cloud, and visibility into virtual private clouds (VPC) traffic and the cloud services running through them.

Say, for instance, you're migrating an application from your core network to the cloud. In this case, you need to have a deep understanding of the application's current state before doing anything, and you must be able to confirm that everything works as intended post-migration. This requires application and service visibility that measures bandwidth usage and performance baselines pre-deployment (while the application is still on-premises) and displays topologies to identify application paths that can help plan the migration effectively. You then need to validate for bandwidth and performance levels once the transition to the public cloud is complete and conduct ongoing measurement of current performance against historical trends via streamlined reports.

Cost and Consumption Analysis

With 61% percent of organizations planning to focus on additional cloud migrations, it’s no secret that many organizations grapple with sticker shock and/or surprise costs. As a matter of fact, a recent Flexera report shows that managing cloud spend is a top challenge for 82% of organizations and that most are over budget on cloud spend by 23%.

What’s driving this problem?  Primarily it’s the inability to slice and dice network traffic for deep analysis from the core network into the cloud. Network and cloud architects and engineers need to be able to view traffic data from a variety of perspectives in order to conduct cost and consumption analysis of applications and services. They also need the same in-depth level of analytics across their public cloud workloads (in AWS and Azure) as they have for on-premises environments.

With all this information unified in one place, IT teams would be able to measure the performance and utilization baselines of cloud applications and services against trends over time to facilitate capacity planning and optimization. It could also tell teams how much outbound traffic there is and any changes to it over time, giving valuable insight into the services or applications that are tied to that traffic, and which regions and zones are affected. With the ability to then evaluate traffic usage patterns and trends, as traffic increases, IT could effectively map it back to a source for better analysis and planning.  

Monitoring and Troubleshooting Hybrid Systems

Hybrid IT environments – or a mix of on-premises network infrastructure and cloud-based workloads – now represent the new normal. Most enterprises host at least some portion of their IT workloads in the cloud today. While there are many benefits to this growing move toward the cloud, there are also drawbacks. For network engineers and architects, visibility blind spots in public cloud deployments can hamper their ability to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize their complete hybrid IT environment. 

Most IT teams don’t currently have the visibility they need to map end-to-end paths for applications that go from the on-premises network to the cloud and vice versa. For that, IT needs a hop-by-hop analysis for end-to-end application path examination, analysis on KPIs such as jitter, latency, loss, and more, and historical playback for forensic analysis. This type of visibility would improve IT productivity and end-user experiences by allowing issues to be triaged more effectively, and focusing troubleshooting efforts on the right workloads, whether they issues arise on-premises, in the cloud, or anywhere in between.

Security Analysis and Incident Response

Organizations are working to ensure the proper security measures are in place with every new cloud initiative and deployment. But having access to information and insights needed to conduct security analysis, incident response, and active troubleshooting can be a real challenge for IT. 

Overcoming these obstacles requires clear and deep visibility into accepted and rejected traffic for both the network and the cloud. If architects and engineers can’t identify the origin and destination of traffic into and between their VPCs – and they can’t visually determine if certain traffic is accepted or rejected – how can they actively conduct security analysis and incident response from a network perspective?

Granular visibility from the network to cloud gives IT teams access to the same in-depth level of analytics across their public cloud workloads as they already have for their core network. That includes visibility into cloud devices, sites and applications; topology filtering and drill-downs in reports; mapping traffic to Geolocation; searching by service, IP, port, and more to see where traffic has been; and more. This can help analysts, architects, and engineers conduct security analysis to better understand security group policies and carry out incident response work.

While public cloud adoption continues to rise, so do blind spots in these environments that can hinder IT operations and result in both direct and indirect costs. According to Gartner, "by 2021, fewer than 15% of organizations will implement holistic monitoring solutions, putting $255 billion of investments in cloud-based solutions at risk." That's why it's so important that IT teams work to get centralized visibility across their entire network and application stack, including cloud. Doing so can ensure more successful cloud migrations, more accurate cost and consumption analysis, better monitoring and troubleshooting, and the ability to assist with security analysis and incident response.

About the Author(s)

Vishwas Puttasubbappa

Vishwas Puttasubbappa is Vice President of Engineering at LiveAction.

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