Major Insurer Closes Cloud and Network Visibility Gaps with NETSCOUT Smart Data Approach
- CIO identified holes in the agency’s visibility as they migrated to the cloud
- Network monitoring tools unable to simultaneously troubleshoot Azure cloud, network, and application performance issues
- nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform
- InfiniStreamNG™ hardware appliances
- vSTREAM™ virtual appliances
- Faster MTTR
- Improved confidence in performance of agency services across private and public Azure cloud environment
This large insurance agency provides more than claims assistance to customers across the United States. Backed by the services provided by more than 1,500 employees, the agency is committed to individual member’s wellness by offering their subscribers access to customer care and critical care nursing teams, benefits coordinators, as well as treatment centers.
The agency’s available benefits services include Medical PPO, Health & Wellness, Dental, and Vision plans designed for government employees and their families.
The agency’s service delivery infrastructure includes headquarters and data center facilities, along with several Call Centers all designed to help the staff deliver safe, prompt coverage and treatment for their subscribers.
For the agency’s information technology (IT) team, “everything is an application,” so this team is understandably deliberate when considering any digital transformation initiative involving these applications, particularly those supporting any subscriber-facing apps. As a result, when the agency elected to transition hosting of certain applications to a Microsoft Azure (Azure) cloud platform, the IT team adopted a strategic plan for the 90-day rollout. Very quickly, the Network Operations team discovered they had neither the required visibility into this new cloud environment, nor the means to effectively monitor it. This was of significant organizational concern, as Azure was going to be used to host some Web-based agency apps. For insurers, any delay in subscriber access to needed benefits and services represents more than a customer service problem – it could mean delays in tending to health issues and far more dire consequences.
While the IT team had used a network monitoring tool for its Cisco device environment, that solution was not providing visibility into Azure cloud services. The situation had reached prominence at the Chief Information Officer level, who identified it as a hole in the agency IT infrastructure.
The IT team’s issues with Azure were compounded by other longer-standing visibility gaps in the agency’s network traffic, as well as application responsiveness concerns. Those gaps made it difficult for IT to establish functional baselines for application and network performance.
The IT team recognized implementing an end-to-end service assurance solution for its cloud, network, and applications environment had to begin with expanding visibility into east-west network traffic within their virtualized data center, then extend to north-south visibility into traffic traversing in and out of the data center environment.
In the words of one Network Engineer, “If you don’t give me a visibility tool, I can’t handle hard questions.”
Solution in Action
By leveraging NETSCOUT visibility concurrently with the Azure rollout, the IT team saw that nGeniusONE’s smart data and smarter analytics provided a cloud-agnostic service assurance approach for their cloud monitoring and IT infrastructure visibility issues.
The IT team leveraged the NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Service Assurance platform concurrently with the rollout of some of their key services to the Azure cloud. The IT team now has visibility into cloud performance and a solution for network and application service assurance, with nGeniusONE leveraging NETSCOUT smart data generated by InfiniStreamNG hardware appliances and Adaptive Service Intelligence (ASI) technology. The agency installed ISNG appliances at its primary and disaster recovery data center facilities to provide the north-south traffic visibility they were lacking within data center operations environment.
The agency is gaining visibility into the Azure environment by deploying NETSCOUT vSTREAM virtual appliance technology into the Azure cloud platform to monitor their public-facing Web portal for patients and subscribers. The vSTREAM virtual appliance works in combination with nGeniusONE to provide the IT team with smart data and smarter analytics required for the monitored east-west traffic to address server-to-server performance challenges.
The IT team has answered their CIO’s call to close agency visibility gaps, using nGeniusONE real-time views for network and application service assurance across their private data center and Azure cloud service environment. Enjoying clear visibility across their cloud environment, IT can now advance their plans for the Azure environment with confidence, including migrating application workloads, assuring critical agency application performance, and delivering a high-quality experience to their subscribers.
The collective IT team now benefits from end-to-end smart visibility needed to promote true collaboration and reduce the mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) issues impacting insurance service delivery to agency customers. Resolution of problems has been accelerated now that the IT team leverages nGeniusONE’s real-time Service Dashboard and Service Monitor views to address wide-ranging issues, including server responsiveness, help desk ticketing application anomalies, and Web front-end performance.
IT also benefits from nGeniusONE’s ability to enhance network capacity planning and trend analysis, which assists the agency in making better business decisions about how, where, and when to introduce network and service enhancements. This proactive approach enables the IT team to better plan for expansion well before slowdowns and bottlenecks become problematic to their subscribers and staff.
Overall, these visibility improvements enable the agency to more reliably deliver benefits to their subscribers, enhancing user experience across Call Center, Web, and Help Desk services.