Case Study

Visibility Into New Cloud Data Center Helps Insurer Protect Customer Experience

Visibility Into New Cloud Data Center Helps Insurer Protect Customer Experience


The Challenge
  • Data center migration includes new company facility and Equinix colo
  • Need for improved visibility in customer Web and virtual apps
The Solution
  • nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform
  • InfiniStreamNG™ certified software appliances
  • vSTREAM™ and vSTREAM Embedded virtual appliances
  • Visibility as a Service (VaaS) subscription
The Results
  • Data center migration success and improved customer experience with services, due to visibility into new cloud and virtual environments
  • Lower CAPEX, with software technology, smart data, and reduced appliance needs

Customer Profile

This well-established U.S. healthcare and insurance company provides diverse services to more than 10 million customers, including an HMO network spanning across numerous regions. In recent years, steady commercial advances realized from both organic growth and recent acquisitions have positioned the company for long-term industry success.

Amid this expansion, the company’s more than 25,000 employees remain focused on continuing to improve benefits delivery to customers, and that includes customer portals and Web applications designed to make access to information and services easier than ever. The company is also making strategic investments in next-generation information technology (IT), as well as data analytics they are using throughout all business facets to improve patient care and operational efficiencies.

The Challenge

The company’s strategic IT plans included implementation of a more agile and expansive “leaf-and-spine” network design that would offer reduced performance latency across the business. Along with those network changes, the company also made the decision to migrate data center operations, including moving from one location to another facility and opening a second using an Equinix colocation site.

For the company’s long-time IT team, all this business growth meant there were more network traffic elements, business services, and new vendors involved, which increased the need for real-time service assurance and performance management. While IT had maximized the lifecycle of their legacy network monitoring tool, this team also knew that new network traffic growth and data center complexities would outpace the capabilities of that solution.

At the same time, the IT team saw other potential areas for better supporting the business, including improved monitoring of critical customer Web and mobile applications running in virtual environments. With their existing tool not providing necessary virtual visibility, IT could not adequately monitor customer experience in accessing claims, healthcare consultation, and other integral services.

In addition, the voice team also sought expanded data retention capabilities to comply with new legal directives, but the IT team was wary of adding more appliances and capital expenses to meet these requirements.

Company leadership was not blind to how business growth and data center transformations were tapping out the capabilities offered by legacy network management visibility and challenging the IT team in new ways. As a result, the company began searching for a next-generation network and application performance monitoring and visibility solution. The company had a tight timeline for selecting and implementing this new solution, as IT wanted to use a proactive monitoring approach to help assure the success of this large-scale data center move.

Solution in Action

Following a thorough search and evaluation of possible solutions, the company selected NETSCOUT® smart data technology for clear, complete, end-to-end views across their new data center location and the new Equinix colo facility. The newly installed nGeniusONE Service Assurance platform equips their IT users with the finer-grained, smarter analytics they needed to proactively manage real-time network, application, and unified communications performance. The nGeniusONE platform uses smart data generated by InfiniStreamNG (ISNG) software appliances installed at both the new company data center and CSP, with the NETSCOUT Adaptive Service Intelligence™ (ASI) technology operating within ISNG continuously monitoring and processing the company’s wire data at the source to help with triaging issues as they occur, as well as improve their ability to analyze performance trends for proactive planning.

The company is gaining visibility into customer-facing Web and mobile applications by deploying NETSCOUT vSTREAM virtual appliances across the virtualized server environment, which, working in combination with nGeniusONE, monitor east-west traffic to address server-to-server performance challenges.

IT power users are getting fast-tracked on nGeniusONE real-world use with NETSCOUT’s Visibility-As-A-Service (VaaS) program. With the VaaS, company subject matter experts (SMEs) are quickly establishing nGeniusONE Service Dashboard views, performance alerts and alarms, and report formats tailored to the new data center environment. In this manner, the IT team can be assured that the NETSCOUT smart visibility that has been established is able to be quickly viewed and analyzed across the Dashboard, service dependency maps, session analysis views, and logical, contextual workflows for IT staff to consume and act upon.

The Results

Mobilizing IT power-users on the new nGeniusONE platform in time to support data center migration was a significant win for the business leadership, as well as subscribers ready to benefit from highly performing healthcare and insurance applications accessible on their Web browser and mobile devices.

During this process, the company is actually expanding the number of IT resources accessing nGeniusONE real-time performance views into business-relevant network, application, and voice data services platforms. As a result, the company is moving to a more proactive monitoring approach, less reliant on reporting and packet forensics, and better-equipped to help reduce mean-time-to-repair of performance-related issues before they impact customer business. Equally important, IT teams are now able to monitor cloud-based and virtual services, with vSTREAM providing visibility into these new environments that was unavailable in their legacy toolset.

For company leadership investing in the data center transition, the NETSCOUT software appliance approach provided much-needed capital expense control, with ISNG platforms offering a quantifiable processing advantage over a competitive alternative. The company also needed to deploy fewer appliances, as ASI metadata provides the data storage efficiencies required by the voice team for their legal compliance activities, with fewer appliances and, by extension, controlled operating expenses.

Finally, the company is experiencing a quicker time to value of their new service assurance solution in leveraging a limited-time engagement with NETSCOUT’s VaaS. In addition to ensuring a quick, virtually turn-key deployment, the IT team has immediate information to assist in making ongoing business decisions necessary to optimize their new data center environment, the data and voice applications traversing their global environment, and continued high-quality customer experience.