How to Better Understand Your Applications in SDN and NFV Environments
This is the first blog post in a three-part series on how to achieve operational insight in SDN and NFV environments. This blog post explains how to collect and visualize performance metrics that support application and service delivery. The next blog post will explain the importance of properly analyzing performance in SDN/NFV environments. The final blog post will focus on the need to optimize and automate.
Thanks to the emergence of SDN and NFV, your infrastructure is more agile than ever.
But to deliver a great and consistent quality of experience, you must have visibility into how everything in the environment works together – from the bare metal all the way to the application itself.
Any sound service and resource assurance strategy begins with collecting performance metrics that give you insights into application and service delivery.
So it’s important to look at the entire environment holistically. It’s not just about collecting and hoarding data any more. It’s about data mediation, and being able to translate all of the data from different element languages to something simple and consistent that you can remix with other systems and tools and visualize the right way.
You cannot talk about the customer experience in an SDN / NFV environment simply from a network point of view. There is data in every layer that makes up your application from Network, to Compute to Applications and Platforms, and each of those data sets tells you a different story. Together, however they tell you the full story of the service you deliver and how this service behaves and is impacted by external factors over time.
We’re no longer talking about an application as a fixed set of devices. Think of the service, instead, as a collection of variables. Say you have thousands of performance indicators spread across hundreds of virtual and physical components in your infrastructure. These KPIs aren’t coupled to one specific box anymore. They constantly move to take advantage of less congested, better performance or even lower power infrastructure for network or compute needs.
Today, operators need a workflow that “remixes” all of their performance data – from end user experience data, to bare metal performance using metrics, flows and logs – into the context of the service or applications to which they’re responding. The performance management solution should connect the dots, show you what is unique and what needs investigating, and map it to your business applications and services, only showing what’s relevant and suppressing the noise.
Think of your agile SDN / NFV network just like a car. You don’t see your car as just the axle, seats, windows and so on. You see the whole car. So start looking at your infrastructure in the same way. It’s not just the applications, the servers, the hypervisors, or the network. It’s the whole that matters to your customers and consumers.
Visualizing things in this way allows you to place the right context on the data so – instead of seeing it as disparate moving pieces – you can see the things that impact customer experience, holistically.
Visualization of performance issues requires a change in how we think about infrastructure problems. When you have a pool of 100 servers, you’re accustomed to figuring out which server is not performing like it previously did. But now, with SDN, the question is, “Which server is not behaving like the other 100 servers in the pool and why?”
For additional insight, download our new whitepaper, “Achieving Operational Insight In SDN and NFV Environments.”