New Virtela Technology Uses 'Predictive Analytics' To Head Off Network Outages

An IT infrastructure management services provider has introduced new technology that it says can identify and prevent problems that could interrupt service. Virtela Technology Services says its VirtelaPredict technology continuously monitors network event logs and other performance metrics, and, using complex algorithms, can identify early warning signs that could lead to an outage.

March 16, 2011

2 Min Read
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An IT infrastructure management services provider has introduced new technology that it says can identify and prevent problems that could interrupt service. Virtela Technology Services says its VirtelaPredict technology continuously monitors network event logs and other performance metrics, and, using complex algorithms, can identify early warning signs that could lead to an outage.

"We're able to see trends, see degradation and are able to see things that allow us to get started on remediation or avoidance and reducing the outage itself and, in fact, avoiding it," says Mark Hansard, VP of systems and security for Virtela.

By using predictive analytics, Virtela can offer service level agreements (SLAs) to its customers that set the actual-time-to-repair (ATTR) for a network problem, as opposed to the industry standard mean-time-to-repair (MTTR), says Mark Weiner, VP of marketing for the company. By seeing potential network problems before they can cause problems, Virtela also claims it can deliver a five-fold reduction in network downtime and a 30 percent reduction in support and operating costs for customers.

As IT becomes more complex, combining cloud and on-premise systems, and companies face growing compliance demands and cost pressure, businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on so-called remote IT management services (RIMS) from companies such as Virtela. Other RIMS providers include large global players such as IBM, HCL and Wipro, as well as telecommunications companies such as AT&T.

Virtela bills itself as the largest "independent" RIMS provider and partners with more than 500 carrier partners globally, says Weiner. Its headquarters are in Denver, and it operates network operations centers there and in Mumbai, India, and Manila in the Phillipines.The RIMS market is forecast to grow by 90 percent in North America by 2014, according to Eric Goodness, a Gartner research VP who attributes the growth to users becoming more comfortable with the remote delivery model and because vendors are making more investments in service automation in order to provide better service at lower prices. The types of networks that Virtela monitors include multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks, also known as packet-switched networks, digital subscriber lines (DSL), Ethernet and 3G and 4G wireless networks.

Virtela calls its offering IT management services rather than remote IT management services because sometimes its monitoring equipment is located on the customer's network, says Weiner. Services include assisting in audit and compliance efforts, discovery of devices on a network, inventory management and modeling of proposed configuration changes before they are made, in order to see what adverse impacts the changes might have on the network.

And, as the predictive analytics function continues to operate, it gains more knowledge of potential network impact, essentially getting smarter as it goes along, says Hansard. "As a result, we're able to see some very interesting things and increase our predictive model so that we can then anticipate things before they actually go bad," he says.

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