Bruce Kosbab

The last two years have been a wild ride.

From a work perspective, we have gone nearly overnight from commuting to the office to working remotely. And now, a hybrid model of work is taking hold, with a mix of at-home and at-office work. It seems this current state of affairs is the new normal. In fact, the majority of the U.S. workforce seems to be in favor of this model. A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of companies are using a hybrid work model, while 59 percent of employees prefer such an arrangement.

With this hybrid model comes immense network complexity. As a result, IT professionals are faced with the gargantuan challenge of maintaining business continuity and ensuring flawless performance of networks, applications, and services. However, troubleshooting any problems that arise in such dispersed infrastructures is difficult at best.

For example, when network issues occur for a bank, financial transactions, which must be conducted instantaneously, can be adversely impacted, creating severe customer dissatisfaction. Or when a factory's Wi-Fi-reliant production line is disrupted due to an extended outage in connectivity, resulting in a ripple effect across the supply chain. For retailers and restaurants, who increasingly rely on touchless payments and curbside pickup, any slowdowns or disruptions to the function of vital apps can have a severe effect on sales, customer service, and ultimately the bottom line.

Lack of Visibility Out to the Edge Is a Major Problem

In a recent CUBE Conversation, NETSCOUT's Eileen Haggerty, area vice president of product and solutions marketing, and Jason Chaffee, senior product manager, delved into the challenges IT faces from gaps in visibility out to the network edge and how organizations can employ NETSCOUT Smart Edge Monitoring to spot problems quickly and assure much-needed performance.

"In today's hybrid environment, there are three areas where visibility is needed," stated Haggerty. "These are the data center, cloud services edge, and the client edge. What's common about all of these different edges is that this is where the traffic is altered as it crosses from one domain to another. This creates blind spots or gaps in visibility. As we get further away from the data center out to the edge, IT faces infrastructure that it doesn't own or control. This makes it difficult to manage and provide a ubiquitous end-user experience regardless of where the users are."

According to Haggerty, IT organizations simply can't afford not to invest in solutions that close the visibility gap, particularly with brand reputation and the productivity of the business on the line. IT needs visibility out to the edge to fully understand what is going on.

"You can't manage what you can't see," explained Chaffee. "The key is to gain visibility at every edge. The hard part is that it is impractical and entirely too expensive to instrument at every different edge. The other shortfall is that some monitoring solutions give a view into what's going on with the end-user experience but don't tell you why there is a problem. To gain an accurate and complete picture, IT needs a combination of both passive and active synthetic-based monitoring. The right solution will enable IT to look at the wire packets and the results of the synthetic testing, so they can uncover why issues are happening."

Chaffee added that as complexity increases, IT needs a tool that can work across all applications in order to see what's going on and then provide evidence that can be shared with service and application providers, ending finger-pointing and the blame game.

NETSCOUT'S Smart Edge Monitoring solution provides comprehensive, borderless monitoring and visibility. By leveraging packet data, gathered at the edge, and bringing it together with synthetic testing, Smart Edge Monitoring enables IT workers to fill in the visibility gaps, allowing them to troubleshoot and resolve issues as they emerge. This ensures that IT is able to meet its mission to assure customer satisfaction and employee productivity.

To learn more about NETSCOUT’s approach for closing the visibility gaps to assure performance and user experience in today's hybrid work environment, view this CUBE interview with NETSCOUT Area Vice President Eileen Haggerty and NETSCOUT Senior Product Manager Jason Chaffee.

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