Pharma Improves Multi-Vendor UC&C Performance With NETSCOUT
- UC performance impacted by network traffic visibility issues
- Resultant gaps in IT Operations and Voice/UC troubleshooting
- Previously deployed nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform
- NETSCOUT® Certified InfiniStreamNG® software appliances
- nGenius® Packet Flow Operating System software for Certified PFS 7000 series appliances
- Unified visibility, packet access enhanced third-party UC technology performance
- Improved end-user voice and video experience for hybrid workforce
This U.S. pharmaceutical company is in a sustained corporate expansion mode, enabling the business to bring-to-market enhanced solutions for disease management, improved outcomes, and patient engagement.
The information technology (IT) leadership team’s multi-year business partnership with NETSCOUT has enabled them to address open compute initiatives, roll out government-affiliated pharma programs, and improve end-user experience and business service reliability. All of these project wins relied on NETSCOUT’s unified visibility plane and vendor-neutral smart analytics.
Like every company, the pharma moved to a hybrid workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and remote workers have continued reliance on voice, video, and conferencing solutions for everyday work activities.
As part of an ongoing vendor tools rationalization effort, the pharma’s standardization activities resulted in transitioning from their Avaya environment to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) solution, which offered an integrated collaboration infrastructure for voice and video calling, messaging, and mobility. For the Unified Communications (UC) and Voice IT teams, the move from Avaya to Cisco UCM caused some visibility and monitoring gaps to surface in a UC solution long used by the Voice team to ease deployment of end-to-end service management across their integrated voice network. These visibility and monitoring gaps eventually prompted UC and Voice teams to make service calls to IT operations for troubleshooting and resolution assistance.
Unbeknownst to the UC and Voice teams, a network architecture change had resulted in the pharma’s network routing being pushed deeper into the data center. The impact was that the majority of voice traffic that had previously been forwarded to the Voice team’s UC solution was no longer available. Additionally, that UC technology did not offer a way to capture this traffic. This issue impacted the collective IT team’s ability to visualize: (1) Call setup and teardown; (2) RTP streams to and from the session border controllers (SBCs), Genesys Voice systems, and Avaya call managers.
When the IT team conducted a “spot check” into this visibility issue, they saw reductions of more than 58% in Genesys traffic, 95% in Video traffic, and 45% in Audio traffic. These traffic reductions additionally compromised the Voice team’s ability to triage poor call quality issues and impacted the amount of time required to resolve call issues.
Quite simply, there was no way for the UC and Voice teams to assure UC performance or troubleshooting affecting their hybrid workforce without full visibility into call set‑up, audio, and video traffic. As a result, the pharma quickly commenced a search for a solution to these issues.
Solution in Action
After the Voice and Video teams viewed the nGeniusONE Service Assurance solution’s vendor-neutral, advanced UC&C analytics in a demo coordinated by IT leadership, the pharma opted to extend their commitment to NETSCOUT. This resulted in the IT team deploying software-based NETSCOUT InfiniStreamNG (ISNG) smart data sources and nGenius 7000 series packet flow switches (PFSs). In this manner, the pharma economically expanded visibility into the Cisco UCM service delivery environment that had been lacking and which had compromised the Voice team’s UC tool performance.
By instrumenting NETSCOUT Certified ISNG software appliances around call managers, call gateways, and SBCs on both sides of the traffic, the IT team restored full network traffic visibility into the pharma’s UC&C environment. With these ISNG appliances generating smart data from network packets traversing across this environment for nGeniusONE’s consumption, the UC, Voice, and IT operations teams have access to extended UC&C analysis and reporting into:
- Cisco Voice over IP performance
- Call Gateways/Call Managers
- SIP trunking, with utilization and error details
The software-based nGenius 7000 series PFS appliances helped restore the access to network traffic required by the pharma’s UC monitoring solution, with these packet brokers collecting traffic from multiple network points to aggregate and distribute it to third-party performance and security tools.
NETSCOUT’s software-based solution fulfilled the strategic commitment to open compute initiatives defined by the pharma several years ago, also offering:
- Low capital expenditure and operating expenses, with this single-vendor footprint taking advantage of previous nGeniusONE investments and analytics workflows widely used by IT operations.
- Elevated performance of the third-party UC tool used by the Voice team, while assuring service delivery from Cisco and Genesys technologies.
- Reduced IT silos that had earlier developed between IT Operations, Voice, and UC teams as a result of the network traffic visibility issues.
In today’s multi-vendor UC technology environments, where communication services are tightly coupled with other business services (e.g., email, calendar, authentication, and DNS systems) over the converged IP network, even sporadic packet drops make it difficult to monitor and troubleshoot voice, video, collaboration, and messaging performance, never mind the traffic reductions experienced by this IT team.
The IT operations team has reassured business leadership and the hybrid workforce that now-critical voice, collaboration, messaging, and video applications are always accessible and offer reliable performance required for business delivery to the pharma’s millions of customers.