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All Applications and No Performance makes Work a Dull Boy

November 17, 2010 - 0 Comments

At your last visit to the endodontist for that rootcanal (ouch!), you were pleasantly surprised that she had all your case history in her office—on a sleek tablet, no less. While you recovered from the procedure, did you notice how the front desk sent your prescription off to the nearest drug-store, filed your insurance claim, and also updated your family dentist with your procedure outcome? All digitally. Impressive, eh? And this was in the hills of Santa Cruz, where your son had trouble accessing his apps on the mobile phone.

You noticed the endodontist throw the tablet on the seat next to hers, when she drove off after your appointment. Nice.

Imagine this on a larger scale.

Handheld devices, touch screen computers, gaming boxes that double up as powerful processing machines—all come today filled with numerous rich and multi-faceted applications. And then again, who uses these is blurring—the employee is the consumer, the physical workplace is now the device, and the hours of use are completely dictated by the user in a global workplace.

In the last post on Rich Applications + Poor Networks, we examined the network ecosystem, and how it is evolving in light of the rich applications that users are expecting to use almost instantaneously. To recall, Cisco Borderless Networks embraces five key considerations: Mobility or users in motion, Energy efficiency, Integrated network security, Application performance and Video services. A borderless network eliminates the disconnect between applications and network designers by allowing the network to be aware of the applications that traverse it and endpoint capabilities that it connects.

In this post, I’d like to showcase the concept of Application Velocity, a systems approach to deliver network based application performance over the Cisco Borderless Network. The approach addresses three user-centric concerns: Application Performance Visibility, Network and Application Optimization, and Application Agility.

Visibility: As the old adage goes, “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure.” Application Velocity begins with gaining visibility into the network and the applications that it supports. Once the applications have been identified, appropriate prioritization and control policies can be applied to provide the right performance for the right application.

Much of the visibility and control technology already exists within a Cisco network infrastructure such as NBAR or Network Based Application Recognition for discovery, NetFlow for usage analysis, Network Analysis Module (NAM) for performance measurement and baselining, and QPM or QoS (Quality of Service) Policy Manager for analysis.

Another aspect of the visibility and control technologies is their ability to measure performance, compare to baseline metrics, and monitor them to assure user experience expectations are being realized.

I’ll discuss the other two critical components – Optimization and Agility – in the next blog…

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