Recently the Exinda team worked with a manufacturing company looking to deploy Skype for Business across 24 locations. The customer asked our Partner, “How can we make sure that Skype for Business will perform as well as it did in the local testing?”

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Naturally, the Partner recommended a Network Assessment, using a virtual Exinda instance deployed off a span port at their WAN hub location. This gave the customer complete visibility into their application utilization at each remote location and insight into the network delay typically found from the WAN core, to each network edge point.

At the end of the assessment, our Partner was able to deliver an easy to understand report that illustrated the traffic volume and application distribution to each remote network. We were also able to determine key network performance metrics such as jitter, loss, and latency to each remote site.

Visibility into these networks metrics before a deployment is critical to ensuring the success of a latency sensitive application suite such as Skype for Business, or frankly any Unified Communications service.

So what is the value of a Network Assessment? And why might you want one?

A Network Assessment gives you detailed analysis of your network traffic and how it’s being used. You can:

  • Make sure you have enough network resources for optimal performance
  • Understand the impact of all network activity on app performance
  • Ensure adoption of new apps by providing a great user experience
  • Eliminate the need for unsanctioned apps (Shadow IT anyone?)

The ways in which our users access information across our networks has changed and continues to change dramatically. Networks are becoming increasingly more burdened with both sanctioned and unsanctioned applications.

Industry estimates cite the average network having over 1200 applications running through it with only about 30-40 of those actually being sanctioned IT. This gap creates a massive blind spot in the health and well-being of a network, which can adversely impact application performance.

Consequently, business critical applications like Skype for Business are often left to fight for bandwidth and resources in an arena where network managers are too often in the dark.

Optimal performance for business critical applications requires a complete understanding of all the traffic traversing the network. Those applications which are sanctioned by IT as well as the ones brought on by individual users.

A network readiness assessment is the first step in the process – providing network administrators with the insight into where their networks stand today and allowing them to both allocate appropriate resources to existing applications as well as plan for the installation of new critical ones.

The foundation of a valuable Network Assessment is deep Layer 7, application intelligence. This Layer 7 view of the network and the applications traversing it are the key to a successful Network Assessment. Application visibility gives us insight into how well an application like Skype for Business is performing, what’s causing application performance problems and of course, how it fix it.

Here are the key benefits of a Network Assessment for both customers and partners:

Customers
– Determine available resources before deploying an app
– Identify resource impacting apps that are non-critical
– Identifies the root cause of performance issues
– Helps navigate a complex problem set
– Isolates solutions and justifies budget

Partners
– Enhances “trusted advisor” relationship
– Consultative selling and cross-selling
– Regains control from competition

What does a Network Assessment Include?

Exinda’s Network Assessment is a consultative process that includes an analysis of your overall goals, installation assistance, report generation and review. The Exinda team and our Partners work with you through each step of this process – from network assessment setup to reporting on key findings and how they impact your goals and objectives.

PRE-INSTALL INTERVIEW
In order to deliver impactful insight, Exinda works with you to get an understanding of what is important to you and your company. What are the objectives of this assessment? What’s driving you to want more granular insight into the inner workings of your network? With that in mind, you will receive a plan as well as a tour of the assessment tool itself. The remainder of the process and deliverables you can expect upon its completion.

REMOTE SET UP ASSISTANCE
Though a relatively straightforward process, as part of this assessment Exinda offers its assistance and support in the installation of the Exinda solution configured for listen only mode. This guidance is intended to not only make the installation process easier, but also to ensure proper configuration so the reports and insights generated can be as accurate and insightful as possible.

REPORT GENERATION
This section is handled by one of Exinda’s skilled network assessors or one of our talented Partners who will consolidate and analyze the data generated by the Exinda solution installed in listen only mode. With those findings in place an easily digestible report will be generated identifying the key findings of the health and performance of your network and applications.

REPORT REVIEW
The assistance does not end with the report generation. The insights and findings are only as useful as they are understood. That is why upon report generation a review of the findings will be arranged to walk you through the document and its contents allowing you to ask questions and get clarification on any sections, topics, or findings that require further explanation. From there you will have all the tools/knowledge in place to optimize the performance of your existing critical applications or reconfigure appropriately to account for new ones.

What an Exinda Network Assessment does is leverage visibility in a very clear and valuable way to help navigate the complexity inherent in today’s networks. It’s also an important piece of insurance to have when planning the deployment of a new business critical application such as Skype for Business across an enterprise landscape.

Knowing what’s currently on the network goes a long way in helping to determine if the network resources are sized appropriately and can handle the added burden an enterprise application rollout brings with it. And more importantly, that our infrastructure provides the needed bandwidth any latency envelope required to deliver these applications reliably and predictably.

Learn More

Want to learn more about what a network assessment entails? Contact an Exinda Solution Expert.