Network Performance Management

I have been involved with Network Services for almost 20 years and would consider myself a professional for the last 10, Cisco Certifications and all. However the landscape has changed drastically with the widespread adoption of Network connected devices in every home. What was generally a centrally managed and rigid system in most enterprises as slowly devolved as “off the shelf” solutions and Internet technologies take over the enterprise. At the same time the expectations of service and performance have gone up by orders of magnitude. It is less and less the case that a service is engineered from end to end. Services are deployed and if necessary the underlying architecture is expected to rise to the challenge. This is true of every component in the preformance chain; network, server, storage, and applications.

The idea that networks and services are a series of interchangeable parts that can be swapped in and out is a function of the common use of networks in every one’s daily life. For those that don’t see the irony I will direct you to Louis C.K.’s  “Everythings Amazing & Nobodys Happy” Video on Youtube. The reference to airborne WiFi is about as good as it gets.

This is made worse by the lack of transparency on performance measures at various steps in the performance chain. Network Guru’s such as myself have been able to hide behind a black box and tell others that they don’t need to understand it. The problem with that is they took are word for it. Now, we lack the common understanding to communicate what is possible and what is not. We’ve told them this is a black box where you pour money in at one end and get more and more performance out the other. And that was largely true for almost 20 years. But that model is rapidly breaking down. Simply ‘turning up the volume’ is not a simple or obvious solution anymore. Network, Server, and Application need to be able to provide an architecture that can be tuned to met a reasonable set of expectations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.