Can Different Data Types Bring Better Network Transparency?
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Can Different Data Types Bring Better Network Transparency?

By Enterprise Networking Mag | Monday, January 13, 2020

To acquire the required visibility in today’s hybrid world, enterprises need to ensure that they can collect, analyze, and act upon the four primary networking data types, i.e., flow data, packet data, SNMP, and APIs.

FREMONT, CA: With enterprise networks growing increasingly hybrid, the IT landscape in the present day is also getting more complicated. Network operations (NetOps) groups need to have end-to-end control throughout their wired, wireless, multi-platform, multi-vendor, and multi-cloud surroundings. Researchers recently found that over one-third of networking experts have poor insights across every network fabric. The lack of transparency in each domain can build tricky blind spots that prevent IT teams, from managing, optimizing, and troubleshooting hybrid networks effectively.

There are many different types, each with its advantages and drawbacks for specific network management tasks.

Flow data is perhaps the ideal data source for general network monitoring. It is primarily derived from switches and gives the NetOps teams access to details about various protocols, starting from ports, IP addresses, and more. A significant benefit that flow data holds over other data types is that NetOps teams can merely collect the information from the existing switches and routers on the network.

Packet Data is the most granular data type available to IT teams and is most commonly used for complicated troubleshooting. Twenty percent of the data left after flow data solves the network troubleshooting issues is resolved by deep-level insights provided by the packets. Mostly, packets are used in network management, application performance monitoring, and security analysis tools.

When it comes to monitoring network devices, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an application layer protocol plays an important role. Nevertheless, the information collected by NetOps from SNMP goes beyond networking data, concentrating on the network itself. Even though SNMP data provides device-specific over data on network performance, it is still an essential piece of the transparency riddle for the NetOps team.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) belong to a separate category than the rest of the data types but are still critical when it comes to visibility for NetOps teams. A set of APIs is a defined communication method within various components utilized to build software. Being an interface, it is unique to each device, software, and usage. APIs for NetOps include application performance management, along with assuring the effectiveness of business-critical applications, which makes it a considerable benefit.

Each data source can be helpful for NetOps teams. Therefore, most of the organizations end up implementing a wide variety of specialized networking tools to access them.

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