Case Study

Leading Pharma’s Open Compute Initiative Leads to Software-Based Service Assurance Solution

Leading Pharma’s Open Compute Initiative Leads to Software-Based Service Assurance Solution


The Challenge
  • Expanding network visibility requirements
  • New open compute initiative transforming network infrastructure
  • Needed technology update to improve over legacy, multi-vendor network monitoring and packet flow switch
The Solution
  • nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform
  • COTS InfiniStreamNG® appliances
  • COTS nGenius® packet flow switch appliances
  • nGenius Packet Flow Systems Fabric Manage
The Results

NETSCOUT® COTS ISNG smart data platform outperformed a competitor’s traditional hardware appliance technology by a 4-to-1 ratio

Customer Profile

This leading pharmaceutical company provides wide-ranging health and pharmacy benefits management services that support both government and commercial insurance programs.

The company’s prescription management program enables customers to save money on their scripts, providing access to wide-ranging healthcare solutions, including critical high-end and cancer care drugs.

Like many organizations that are counted as part of the healthcare ecosystem, network and application availability is critical. This pharma is no exception. With tens of millions of members depending on this pharma’s 20,000+ employees to supply more than 1 billion prescriptions annually, downtime is simply not an option for this organization!

The Challenge

The pharma’s Network Infrastructure team manages the company’s multi-facility data center environment. The primary data center serves a crucial business function in managing network traffic performance required by internal users, as well as 30+ remote distribution center sites and several new business units established via acquisition.

In this long-implemented data center environment, the pharma’s service assurance technology baseline incorporates multi-vendor network monitoring and packet flow switch technologies from various industry provider.

As part of a strategic transition, the new-guard Network Infrastructure team shifted their information technology (IT) focus on prioritizing deployment of open compute platforms. The Network Infrastructure team saw the open compute approach appealing due to increased flexibility and reduced capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX). As a result, this team began re-examining their legacy service assurance hardware appliance efficiencies and operating expenses.

At the same time, the Network Infrastructure team was also scrutinizing their investment in the packet broker hardware appliances deployed at the primary data center. The team believed sustaining operation of a proprietary, rigid packet broker hardware solutions did not reconcile with their open compute initiative. In addition, the team found the packet broker appliances were costly to update, with additional hardware-based packet blades required for some new features, at additional CAPEX and OPEX.

While the open compute project was rationalized from technology and financial perspectives, any new software-based network and packet broker technologies would need to offer superior processing in the data center environment. And as is often the case, adherence to a strict budget was essential.

Regardless of the software-based platforms select by the company, the pharma needed a seamless transition from the legacy network monitoring solution to their preferred open compute platform.

Solution in Action

With the Network Infrastructure team already familiar with nGenius technology capabilities and NETSCOUT’s open compute strategy, the pharma is assuring next-generation data center monitoring with the nGeniusONE Service Assurance platform, with multiple COTS InfiniStreamNG® (ISNG) platforms and COTS nGenius 5000 series packet flow switches providing the solution’s smart data core.

The nGeniusONE solution leverages NETSCOUT’s patented Adaptive Service Intelligence™ (ASI) technology, which converts network traffic into highly structured smart data at the collection point.

The COTS packet flow switch architecture provides the Network Infrastructure team with strategic packet visibility that scales and operates dynamically, enabling pervasive visibility through the use of COTS ISNG platforms.

The pharma is also using the nGenius Packet Flow Systems Fabric Manager to configure, deploy, and troubleshoot the COTS nGenius 5000 series packet flow switch network.

The Results

The pharma is a long-standing NETSCOUT customer, deploying legacy nGenius technology appliances across their data center operations.

With the Network Infrastructure team already well-versed in NETSCOUT service assurance technology, they quickly recognized the superior performance of the next-generation nGeniusONE platform with COTS ISNG and packet flow switch technology leveraging real-time ASI-derived smart data.

While assessing NETSCOUT’s and another vendor’s service assurance technologies, these same users viewed the nGeniusONE as a superior network monitoring solution versus the competitor’s approach. Specifically, the COTS ISNG smart data platform outperformed a competitor’s traditional hardware appliance technology by a 4-to-1 ratio, even ranging as high as 6-to-1 during the technical assessment! As the Network Infrastructure team is responsible for the pharma’s “most important” network traffic, any technology-induced delays jeopardizing real-time service assurance delivery can compromise the company’s user experience and productivity. The next-generation NETSCOUT solution has instead improved IT’s ability to visualize performance of critical business services operating within the data center and at 30+ remote distribution centers and business units.

In keeping with their preference for open compute platforms, the Network Infrastructure team is also taking advantage of NETSCOUT’s abilities to offer packet flow switch solutions in a COTS form factor. The Network Infrastructure team now benefits by using a software platform that easily scales on demand to support their requirement.

For the Network Infrastructure team, another compelling COTS solution feature is the ability to use NETSCOUT-certified appliances to acquire hardware that bundles ISNG and nGenius packet flow switch software directly from an authorized reseller, while receiving hardware and software support directly from NETSCOUT.

The company is further reducing OPEX by using NETSCOUT as their single vendor for network monitoring and packet flow switch technologies. The pharma also realizes maximized IT efficiencies by reducing the number of silo-specific tools, with the NETSCOUT solution planned for roll out to the security, network engineering, and network operations center teams.