Finding the Needle in the Haystack with Riverbed SteelCentral NetProfiler



Data. As we have moved to the (supposedly) paperless society the amount of data (both on and off paper) has increased at near exponential rates. According to an IDC study in 2014 the volume of just digital data will increase towards 44 Zetabytes by 2020 (for those not in the know a Zetabyte or ZB is a 10 with 21 zeros after it). That’s a lot of data! To make matters worse, according to the same study, in 2013 only 22% of the total data was of interest to be analyzed and of that only 5% was actually analyzed—meaning that only around 1% of all the data generated in 2013 was actually analyzed.

The point is that just having data is not enough. You have to be able to identify the data of interest from all the data being generated (separate the wheat from the chaff) and then actually be able to analyze that data in a useful way. The first step is often the hardest. When there is so much data coming in it can be hard to know where to start looking and oftentimes we end up overlooking some critical piece of information that could have solved our problem quite easily.

Managing today’s large and complicated networks is no exception to this data analysis rule. Your network generates huge volumes of data points, potentially thousands of terabytes per day worth. How do you take all this information and make useful sense of it? That is where Riverbed SteelCentral application-aware NPM suite comes into play. From collecting the data with SteelCentral NetShark and SteelCentral Flow Gateway to providing in-depth analysis with SteelCentral Packet Analyzer and NetProfiler you are able to take the huge volumes of data being generated and garner useful nuggets from it.

One of the easiest ways to do this is in NetProfiler is by utilizing the built-in dashboards. These data displays are specifically designed to provide useful information from the moment the device starts receiving information from the network, allowing you to easily see what is happening, where the trouble spots are, and where you need to focus your attention—without having to spend long periods configuring complex systems and searching through reams of data to find the little bit that is helpful.

The newest member of this type of dashboard in NetProfiler is the Network Hotspots dashboard. This joins other existing dashboards such as the Single Sign-On Overview, Application Overview, and Interface Critical Metrics dashboards to provide detailed information on the potential problem spots on a near real-time basis.

One of the most important things when maintaining a network is knowing what is happening with your network interfaces around the network and which interfaces may be experiencing trouble at any given moment. Having that information at your fingertips and available quickly is critical. The Network Hotspots dashboard is designed to provide detailed and useful information on which interfaces are most utilized and which are providing the worst end-user experience. This information can be used to quickly identify problem areas and allow you to address them before they become major issues.

The sheer volume of data generated across the board today boggles the mind. In 2014 each of the roughly 28 million IT professionals around the world analyzes about 230GB of data. By 2020 the number of IT professionals will reach 36 million but each one will be tasked with 1.2PB of data. Clearly we need ever better ways to analyze the ever increasing volumes of data. SteelCentral NetProfiler and NetExpress, with their built-in, intelligent dashboards, provide that way.



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