One of the world’s largest mining and resources company operates around over 100 sites around the world – some of them in extremely remote locations. The company has now depended on Riverbed technology for managing, monitoring, and optimising its complex hybrid network for a decade.
The nature of our customer’s business requires the ability to support thousands of users across some of the world’s remotest locations. Some of the mission-critical applications it runs involve the carriage of vast quantities of data and immense graphics files. The company also needs to support mine workers with high performance entertainment for off-shift relaxation and enable them to keep in touch with family and friends at home.
This makes the performance of the enterprise network as critical to its over 100 operational sites as to its head office staff. One of the main challenges is identifying the causes of performance issues – and preferably resolving them before they impact on the productivity of their widely distributed users.
Like other large organisations, our customer operates a series of diverse environments, encompassing a range of private and public clouds, on-premises equipment, and SaaS applications. This can make identifying and resolving network and application performance issues a complex and lengthy procedure, without full visibility and the ability to drill down to identify root causes.
With multiple carriers involved as well as outsourced ICT service providers, the company needs to hold everyone in line. This means having accurate data about the root causes of performance degradation to best manage supplier SLAs – keeping them honest and avoiding unnecessary finger-pointing and wasted time when issues do arise.
The company turned to its long-term technology partner Riverbed. Together with its global network provider, we developed a solution based on different modules within our Unified NPM platform..
Alluvio NetProfiler is a tool designed for monitoring traffic over hybrid network, while Alluvio Flow Gateway collects data on these flows to enable end-to-end network monitoring and visibility. Meanwhile, Alluvio AppResponse performs network-based Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and analysis, and Alluvio Packet Analyzer Plus is a desktop tool for further high-speed network packet analysis by AppResponse.
For greater granularity at to provide in-depth visibility, Alluvio NetIM offers improved IT infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting while Aternity, from our sister company, provides monitoring of the end-user experience of applications where it really matters – at the end device.
The entire suite of tools is available via the Alluvio Portal, which provides the ‘big picture – integrated network and application insights
We also provide professional services on an ongoing basis, working with the customer and its service provider to continuously enhance its capabilities. This also involves extending deployment of our Unified NPM platform to address potential challenges posed by upcoming infrastructure changes such as SD-WAN migration.
Whatever the need for rapid diagnosis of performance issues – or even potential issues – the Riverbed Unified NPM platform is proving its worth.
It helped with a detailed analysis of the performance and utilisation of the company’s communications and collaboration platforms early in 2020, when the pandemic triggered migration to a remote workforce. By charting pre- and post-pandemic usage, it illustrated the patterns of traffic for future capacity planning.
When a site’s primary network link failed, Unified NPM tools quickly identified and resolved performance, routing, and utilisation issues on several backup links throughout the outage. When multiple mining sites in a remote region of the southern hemisphere experienced performance issues, Unified NPM tools helped with optimisation.
All up, the networks and applications support teams now have over 50 dashboards to give them full visibility over their infrastructure. Typically, the dashboards are role-based – either by application or site. Other provide greater overview of groups of applications or regions.
For example, if Microsoft SharePoint users are experiencing issues, they might be accessing the application via Office365 or the company’s on-premises application servers. Two discrete dashboards provide valuable information on SharePoint so, depending on the affected environment, the relevant support team can drill down to quickly identify the root cause.
Enhanced reporting offers opportunities for observing exactly what is happening over the network at any given time – including how users and applications are actually using data – offering opportunities to identify the busiest links and those performing the worst. The platform is also of great assistance with capacity planning – enabling the network team to right-size links to different applications and volumes of traffic. Monthly reports enable them to look back at trending analysis and look forward for capacity provisioning.
The principal objective the IT team is achieving with the help of Unified NPM is to detect, diagnose and resolve performance issues before users are even aware of them. This enables them to provide an overall better user experience.
“Enhanced reporting offers opportunities for observing exactly what is happening over the network at any given time – including how users and applications are actually using data.”
“Unified NPM is of great assistance with capacity planning – enabling the network team to right-size links to different applications and volumes of traffic.”
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