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On The Edge: Managing Exponential Change – Remotely

June 22, 2011 - 0 Comments

“…at today’s rate of change, we will achieve an amount of progress equivalent to that of the whole 20th century in 14 years ….” – Ray Kurzweil

Evidence and theories on the increasing rate of change are everywhere. From Moore’s Law to Haitz’s Law to Metcalfe’s Law, most experts agree that the speed, and therefore the value of networks, is increasing exponentially, as is our dependence on them.

With more business, culture and innovative value riding on our networks than ever before, I.T. managers everywhere are feeling increasing pressure and responsibility to keep things running smoothly, and yet they’re geographically more challenged as organizations expand globally.

Fortunately, cloud technologies are addressing some of the I.T. challenges associated with provisioning new applications remotely. For example, you can now deploy and run the most common Microsoft Window services such as file and print sharing, DHCP, and DNS, as well as many third party applications, on a blade integrated into the router itself. But I.T. needs more than virtualized services – they also need remote visibility and performance management to ensure that everyone on the network – particularly branch employees and customers – are getting maximum value and responsiveness from cloud-based applications.

Cisco Prime has many new capabilities to address these challenges, and there are also many third party tools such as NetScout nGenius Agent for Cisco ISR’s. The beauty of NetScout is that it leverages the ISR G2 Service-Ready Engine so you can monitor the router and branch environment without impacting router performance and without adding yet another server at each site. This means better visibility with lower capital and operational costs.

NetScout recognizes and monitors hundreds of applications, as well as the response time and other key performance indicators of these services. It monitors both the WAN uplink and the local traffic within each branch, as well as QoS policy compliance, so managers can have more granular visibility into the remote user experience for demanding apps such as video and unified communications, and then protect against service degradations.

Which brings us to another law popularized by Ray Kurzweil in The Age of Spiritual Machines. To paraphrase, he says that when chaos first begins, time moves really fast. In other words, when services at remote sites aren’t performing as expected, it can seem like it takes forever to get them resolved, particularly when the closest I.T. person is hundreds or thousands of miles away. These are the times when remote visibility can make the difference between meeting service level agreements and getting a nastygram from an affected remote client, or worse.

For more details on the NetScout solution for Cisco ISR G2’s, attend a free webinar on June 23 at 10AM PDT by registering here. A high level overview is available in a new at-a-glance. See how improved management helped a law firm with 23 sites improve business continuity by clicking here.

Keeping up with the myriad technology changes even within your own building can be challenging enough, and this challenge increases exponentially as the number of remote sites grows. So I.T. needs all the help they can get, ideally before things, as they often do, turn chaotic.

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