In life there are very few things, if anything at all that are a “sure thing” – even that filly in the 3rd race. The coronavirus pandemic has certainly put a number of things in perspective; businesses around the globe are accelerating digital transformation initiatives, risk is augmented. Measuring twice to cut once means mitigating risk, but how? Software Defined Test Networks (SDTNs) provide a platform to protect investment, and deliver the peace of mind in a cloud migration, SD-WAN deployment or datacenter consolidation or work from home project your organization has in the works.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with iTrinegy Sr. Tech Specialist Frank Puranik to share some insight on what an SDTN is, what it means to digital transformation and what he is seeing in networking now.
The past few months have tested the metal of networks around the globe, but perhaps more particularly the ability for applications to deal with the sub-optimal network conditions currently available. In the mass migration to the cloud, Puranik explained that organizations are moving more critical “operational” applications to cloud, some opting for internet circuits leveraging some form of intelligent routing, SD-WAN. Puranik explained “SDTN is technology that will realistically emulate real-world networks, over which applications can be run. In other words, technology that makes the applications appear to have traversed the real-world networks but, in a test, or existing network environment so that the organization can see how applications will perform in the proposed network setup”.
So as this transition takes place and enterprises write their digital transformation roadmaps, application risk management must fall into the conversation. For providers like Alibaba, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft (News - Alert) or Oracle with hyperscale cloud infrastructure and platform services, “network connectivity will have a very significant influence on the performance of applications,” noted Puranik.
“Many major cities still have 1000s of miles to the closest hyperscale provider’s datacenter, which immediately introduces substantial latency and its effect on application performance. Add in the other network impairment issues associated with using the internet as part, or all, of the cloud connectivity and there you have significant risk management issues in terms of operational performance and/or end-user experience,” he continued.
Thinking pre-deployment, even before the cloud, reliance on third party hosting facilities during datacenter consolidation, introduces “heightened network dependency and its associated influence on application performance.” Throw in the general lack of expertise on the performance of legacy applications over distributed networks, and you can see why the early steps in the transformation journey must be made intelligently.
Application performance is a tricky measure. While too often, application performance is mistaken for user issues, Puranik stated, “What is always much more difficult to quantify is the overall effect on the business from poorly performing applications but everyone agrees it is very significant and critical, and for outward facing applications, it can be irreparable in terms of loss business and reputation.”
Puranik suggests to create a better application performance, “We can’t emphasize the obvious enough here: Which is to avoid or mitigate application operational and performance issues prior to deployment rather than attempting to repair them retrospectively. If an organization is undertaking any transformation, which will increase the dependency on the network infrastructure in terms of application performance they should undertake pre-deployment validation to ensure it will deliver the required objectives.”
Now more than ever, ensuring application performance in the Work From Home (WFH) environment is paramount. There’s value in leveraging SDTN technology pre-deployment, Puranik explained, “It allows you to qualify the acceptable bounds of operation, the minimum network criteria and evaluate remediation techniques pre-deployment. Remember, it is almost impossible to buy your way out of a network related WFH performance issue.” SDTN technology empowers an organization to get ahead of these performance issues by emulating the network. More so than, simulation, emulating the network allows one to see what it looks like when applications run over the network and measure performance.
For this reason, SDTN technology makes a strong fit in virtually any vertical, and iTrinegy (News - Alert) is seeing success in media/broadcasting, defense, gaming, IT and finance, particularly. The military is testing application reliance in hostile scenarios while Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and other game developers are able to provide positive experiences for players. iTrinegy is making its mark, finding its stride, “focused on helping organizations qualify and mitigate the effects a network has on application performance, which is an issue for pretty well every organization today and moving forward,” shared Puranik.
It’s cloud or bust for organizations large and small, survival depends on it. Working from home is the new reality, and the network is the lifeline. Before diving into digital transformation, putting laid plans to the test is a pretty good idea. I think I know an SDTN vendor willing to help.
Edited by Maurice Nagle