Extending Financial Services Remote Visibility and Application Performance Monitoring With NETSCOUT
- Additional visibility required for diversified data center, call center, and remote office landscape
- Reactive IT troubleshooting reliant on NetFlow data sources delayed problem resolution
- Integrated nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform, with COTS InfiniStreamNG® appliances and vSTREAM® virtual appliances
- nGenius®PULSE and 3000 series Hardware nPoint sensors
- nGenius Packet Flow Operating System technology
- nGenius for Flows and 3400 series nGenius Flow Collectors
- NETSCOUT® Visibility as a Service
- Improved visibility and proactive real-time monitoring of transforming business technology operations reduced MTTR
- Reduced implementation, transition, and operational risks with NETSCOUT VaaS
This financial company’s expansive operations footprint enables the business to provide personalized, regional service delivery to millions of customers.
Executive leadership and the IT Operations team had long-committed to Cisco’s industry-leading technology for supporting reliable network performance across the company’s infrastructure.
Several business technology transitions had occurred across the company with these projects including the following:
- Regional Voice Over IP (VoIP) Contact Center technology operations were migrating to a Co‑located (Co-lo) data center.
- Similarly, regional primary data center operations had been outsourced to a managed security service provider (MSSP) some years earlier.
- Regional business hubs had become essential to "their" financial operations, with numerous other remote offices also part of the company’s footprint.
As a result of these collective changes, IT Operations’ visibility needs had moved beyond their current-state north-south views of network traffic traversing in-and-out of their regional headquarters environment to also include internal east-west traffic in the virtualized Co-lo and MSSP data center service environments.
These changes also prompted re-examination of IT’s long-time use of Cisco NetFlow data as the basis for post-incident investigation activities. Significantly, advanced Unified Communications (UC) analytics in the Contact Center Co-lo were seen as a needed enhancement, given the increased importance of voice communication exchanges for high-quality customer service experience during the COVID-19 era.
Risk management is one of this company’s hallmarks when it comes to business decision-making, and these converging transitions had garnered enough executive attention to warrant budget allocation focused on examining whether additional visibility was required across IT operations, as well as the suitability of a NetFlow-only approach to day-to-day incident response.
Solution in Action
With risk management front and center, IT leadership worked with their both their trusted MSSP and NETSCOUT Visibility as a Service (VaaS) subject matter experts to design and implement a next-generation visibility and proactive monitoring solution that:
- Delivered real-time application analytics leveraging smart data generated from network packets, synthetic testing, and NetFlow.
- Improved UC performance analytics used to assure Contact Center operations.
- Transitioned from a reactive, incident-based investigation to proactive, real-time end-to-end monitoring solution that assured business technology performance for employees and customers alike.
The resulting NETSCOUT solution featured the following:
- The nGeniusONE Service Assurance platform, which provided real-time “single pane of glass” views into application, network, UC, and business services delivery across the MSSP, Co-lo, and remote office hubs necessary for proactive management of user experience quality.
- NETSCOUT Certified InfiniStreamNG (ISNG) Software smart visibility appliances, which were deployed at the MSSP and Co-lo data centers, with additional ISNGs expanding IT visualization into the network and application services at several critical remote office locations. Software-based Packet Flow Operating Systems (PFOS) optimized the flow of network packets from the company’s network to ISNG appliances and downstream third-party security tools.
- nGeniusPULSE nPoint hardware and sensors were deployed at other remote offices, which brought visibility into service availability and end-user experience across these business locations. These nPoint sensors were used to generate business transaction tests over Ethernet and Wi-Fi to assess the quality of VoIP, Web, hop-by-hop network traffic performance, and end-user experience at these remote locations. Test results were viewed in nGeniusPULSE Service Dashboards, with easy-to-use contextual workflows that enabled IT Operations to troubleshoot issues that occurred specific to technology, region, office, or user.
- vSTREAM virtual appliances, which were deployed to visualize east/west traffic at MSSP and Co-lo locations, as well as several high-value remote locations.
- nGeniusPULSE Collectors, which collected NetFlow, Juniper J-Flow, Huawei NetStream, and sFlow in remote business locations. This approach enabled IT to better leverage vendor-agnostic flows as a valuable post-incident investigative data source, with the NETSCOUT nGenius for Flows solution providing monitoring and troubleshooting screens and historical reports that accelerated problem resolution.
IT Operations addressed executive leadership’s risk management requirements by relying on the NETSCOUT Visibility as a Service for this project. These VaaS subject matter experts (SMEs) were viewed by both the financial services company and its MSSP as key to the successful transition, implementation, and operation of the NETSCOUT solution across their business. NETSCOUT VaaS eased IT resource commitments to ongoing operations and organizational adoption by:
- Providing follow-the-sun, 7x24 monitoring of nGeniusONE and nGeniusPULSE analytics and NETSCOUT smart visibility data sources to improve end-to-end service performance.
- Customizing VaaS dashboard views and reporting that informed the company’s Executive, CIO, and IT teams regarding overall technology operations, issues identified and addressed, and trend analysis that focused on areas of improvement.
- Providing knowledge transfer to the IT Operators of both the financial services company and MSSP who would serve as organizational NETSCOUT power users.
NETSCOUT’s ability to leverage smart data derived from network packet data, synthetic test metrics, and NetFlow provided IT Operations with the means to keep pace with the new visibility and monitoring demands across their transformed enterprise environment.