Case Study

Improving Remote Manufacturing Operations With NETSCOUT Visibility as a Service

Improving Remote Manufacturing Operations With NETSCOUT Visibility as a Service


The Challenge
  • Improved remote site visibility 
  • Enhanced manufacturing device monitoring and performance assurance 
The Solution
  • nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform 
  • nGenius® Collector 3400 hardware appliance 
  • nGeniusPULSE, with nPoint 3000 hardware sensors 
  • NETSCOUT® Visibility as a Service 
The Results
  • Enhanced reliability of remote manufacturing and business operations 
  • Reduced CapEx/OpEx with single-vendor approach, quicker time to IT Operations value from NETSCOUT VaaS SMEs 

Customer Profile

This North American company manufactures highly specialized technology for government and commercial customers. As part of the company’s commitment to providing innovative technology solutions, the manufacturer manages vast research & development and business operations across nearly 30 worldwide sites. 

The company places a high priority on the performance integrity and security of site operations, with a business continuity plan enabled for all manufacturing locations. 

As a result of COVID-19’s business impacts, the manufacturer successfully transitioned to a hybrid model, with a mix of work-from-home (WFH) and on-premises employees assuring uninterrupted production and supply chain management activities. 

The Challenge

In a specialized manufacturing environment like this one, maintaining infrastructure operations integrity is always a top concern. 

The company’s network environment relies on multi-vendor routers and switches, with a more recent introduction of VMware virtual servers. In this geographically diverse operations environment, their network supports numerous primary branch office locations and remote sites involved in executing the company’s strategic innovations. 

While their technology environment included multi-vendor Unified Monitoring and NetFlow Monitoring tools to assess network and remote site performance, their information technology (IT) team’s frustrations had resulted in periodic internal requests that the company “refresh their monitoring solution.” More specifically, the Network Engineering, Compute, and Storage teams all wanted to enhance their abilities to assure manufacturing operations health through improved visibility into their remote environments, with WAN utilization, and NetFlow traffic, as well as comprehensive monitoring of the devices operating in these locations. 

These collective concerns translated to a need to improve the current-day visualization and monitoring of mission-critical applications and devices running on infrastructures outside the company’s primary data center locations. 

Solution in Action

The cross-IT team has improved visualization and monitoring of their remote business operations and the mission-critical manufacturing devices operating across these locations by selecting NETSCOUT to design a single-vendor solution for network visibility, device monitoring, and synthetic testing. 

For network traffic visibility, the software-based nGeniusONE Service Assurance platform has provided vendor-neutral visibility into all flow data across their remote locations, as well as real-time performance snapshots into this NetFlow traffic via Service Dashboard views (including NetFlow traffic metrics) and Service Monitors (e.g., Universal Monitor, with specialized NetFlow and SNMP Network Management monitors). NetFlow and J-Flow metadata from routers and switches operating in remote environments is sent to NETSCOUT nGenius Collectors. In this manner, nGeniusONE presented intelligence to IT Operations regarding link-level statistics, protocols /applications by utilization and top talkers/ conversations by source and destination IP addresses, NetFlow volumes, drop events, and IPFIX packet counts — all of which were vital to the company’s improved device monitoring operations, as well as understanding utilization at the branch locations for informed capacity planning. 

For device monitoring and synthetic testing, the virtual NETSCOUT nGeniusPULSE infrastructure monitoring appliance used nPoint hardware sensors installed at high-value remote offices to provide IT Operations with a solution to assess remote user access experience with applications and services. Using nPoint Business Transaction Test results deployed in nGeniusPULSE, IT has refined their understanding of VMware virtual server performance (via nGeniusPULSE server polling) and remote network connectivity (using Wi-Fi and LAN testing). Drilldowns from nGeniusPULSE Sites Overview and Business Services Overview dashboard views enabled IT Operations to access specific synthetic test results to advance troubleshooting into potential causes of disruptive issues (e.g., CPU or memory conditions, availability of internal services and servers) 

For IT leadership, an essential consideration in their go-forward decision-making for this project was the NETSCOUT’s Visibility as a Service (VaaS) consultative approach. With VaaS, they have always-available NETSCOUT subject matter experts (SMEs) to assist with customizing nGeniusONE and nGeniusPULSE monitor and dashboard views for high-value remote business operations analysis, as well as access to best-practices for nGenius Collector and nPoint sensor deployment optimization. 

The Results

For the IT Operations teams transitioning to NETSCOUT for network traffic visibility, device monitoring, and synthetic testing, this was a best-of-both-worlds approach. 

Additionally, the managed NETSCOUT Visibility as Service program: 

  • Reduced IT resource allocations for deployment and time-to-value of the NETSCOUT solution 
  • Improved the value of NETSCOUT visibility and analytics shared with Network Engineering, Compute, and Storage teams via nVaaS-generated dashboards 
  • Raised the internal profile of this project by providing Executive-level visibility into overall remote manufacturing site performance with reporting suitable for CIO business and security concerns. 

As a result, the manufacturer has reduced instances of potential disruptions in product delivery, regulatory compliance, customer satisfaction, revenue, and brand reputation with NETSCOUT’s single-vendor technology and managed service solution.