Six Blind Men and the Elephant

Heidi Gabrielson

I was recently reminded of the story of the blind men and the elephant when I read the statistic that 67% of enterprises have 3-6 network performance management (NPM) tools installed. These teams struggle with problem detection and spend more time on reactive troubleshooting than their counterparts who use more integrated NPM tools.

Back to the elephant

For those unfamiliar with the story, six blind men come into contact with an elephant for the first time. The first man touches the elephant’s solid side and says that the elephant is exactly like a wall. Then the second touches the tusk and says he is round and sharp like a spear. He is followed by a third man who feels the trunk and says snake. The fourth wraps his arms around the leg and says that an elephant is like a tree. The fifth the ear and says it is like a fan. And the sixth grabs the elephant by the tail and says he is exactly like a rope. Each man comes to his own conclusion based on his own data points and his own previous knowledge. At last, the elephant moves on, yet the blind men continue arguing, each one believing that he was absolutely right.

You’re probably nodding your head at this point, especially if you work in NetOps. IT environments are becoming more complex, more distributed, and more dynamic. And infinitely harder to manage. Yet, without a well-performing and secure network, your digital transformation initiatives and workforce productivity are put at risk.

Patchwork doesn’t work

Like with the elephant, getting information on only part of the picture in isolation makes it difficult for you to resolve the complex problems that can impact your business-critical applications. Many teams are like the blind men, arguing based on their own data and unable to collaborate and form a complete, unified picture. Only by bringing multiple sources of data together can you see the whole of the elephant.

“Patching together legacy tools and disparate solutions doesn’t work. Instead, it reduces agility and efficiency, diminishes the user experience, and drives up costs,” according to ESG’s new report.

Pulling the sources of data together

Here is a short list of sources of data that you will need to integrate and analyze to troubleshoot and proactively resolve network issues effectively and efficiently:

  • Device metrics
  • Flow records
  • Packets
  • Tests, like ping and traceroute
  • Logs
  • Synthetic traffic
  • Events/data collected from other IT systems

Conquer fragmentation with integrated NPM tools

Best-in-class integrated NPM tools collect raw data in tight intervals, store as much data as possible, and facilitate drill downs in to the data that provide critical insights. Learn how to conquer fragmentation and integrate your approach to NPM with Riverbed in this new report.

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