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You need to understand your application landscape before you transform your network

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Knowing what your future network can do for your business

Managing applications is important for end-user experience, productivity and for understanding and managing operational risks. Migrating to the cloud or moving to a future network can be a risky business.  Important investment decisions such as these need to be based on both your current state and on the future state you want to achieve.

Failing to plan

But without understanding your application landscape you can’t think about application policies for SD-WAN or what your future bandwidth requirements might be. In turn you can’t develop the business case, which today tends to focus on cost-per-Mb, without knowing how much you currently use, quality of service (QoS) and performance data.

To minimise risk before you start transforming your network, you need to know your environment and understand your application landscape.

Planning that failed

For example, I recently worked with a global mining company looking to move to SD-WAN. They built their future site model based on assumptions and then tried to build a business case off the back of their model. Financially the business case didn’t stack up as the future bandwidth was estimated.

A fresh perspective

This company had to start again with an application and bandwidth assessment to understand the actual current state and future need.  By then re-working the business case and the network architecture they created a more accurate model which then stacked up.

In my experience, to really move forward you need to identify:

• your business critical applications

• the users for each application i.e. your top talkers

• where application/server users are based

• the application QoS parameters and usage

•  performance issues

•  bandwidth consumption by application or site

And you need to understand the impact of existing acceleration and optimisation strategies. By doing this you can assess the as-is application estate and the corresponding performance before you make a change.

Because if your users aren’t happy…

You can test and prove new or existing applications on defined user groups and understand the impact of the change. This will help increase user adoption by delivering a consistent and reliable experience. And in terms of your business case for change, application visibility helps prove the results and benefits of changes using as-is and post-change measurement and can feed bandwidth data into future capacity planning and business case development. It can even help find and fix faults before they arise.

Some can see through the clouds

This recently happened with a global consumer brand considering a migration to the cloud. They were experiencing application performance issues and had a list of servers they believed were hosting these applications. After using an application visibility tool, they discovered other servers with the same applications installed on them and critical interdependencies that would have broken if they hadn’t found them. They also found the root cause of performance issues that would have had a detrimental impact on the migration and end user adoption of cloud services.

At a time when it’s important to have a clear view and control of what’s happening on your corporate network, managing applications closely is important for end user experience, productivity and for understanding and managing operational risks.

What you see, is what you get

Application visibility brings insight on how exactly how people are using your network and provides real-time actionable data.

Find out more about how you can get end-to-end application visibility and control, download the latest Ovum report on Network Services trends and contact a BT expert to hear how partnering with us can help you transform your network.

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David Pratt

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