It's your day off, and you've got everything you need for an epic time. Sweatpants? Check. Food from your favorite take-out spot? Check. Netflix-streamed video queued up and ready to go? Buffering…
Wait, what? Buffering? Ugh. Great, now the video isn't synced to the audio. And, oh look, it just went from high-def to pixelation city.
Maybe your Internet connection just lost steam. Maybe Netflix's servers are overloaded. You tell yourself you're probably not the only person trying to catch up on Mad Men before the new season premieres.
It's all pretty frustrating, right? Hold on to that feeling and magnify it -- because that's how your users feel whenever one of their critical business applications gets unbearably slow or fails entirely. They can't do their jobs. Work backs up. And they often have no alternative except to flood the helpdesk with complaint-laden tickets punctuated by lots of exclamation points.
The network has always been the first to be blamed for application performance issues, but application performance management (APM) tools used to diagnose these issues traditionally have been designed for developers, leaving a network engineer who doesn't know much about application architecture pretty much blind. Meanwhile, applications are growing more distributed and complex, thanks to virtualization and cloud computing. And when a key part of the IT team doesn't have insight into performance issues, users start to associate business apps with that little Buffering… circle of death.
But as TechTarget news writer Gina Narcisi explains in this issue of Network Evolution, network-based APM tools are adding a much broader scope of visibility with the networking pro in mind. Instead of the networking team becoming the immediate source of blame, this new approach to APM has empowered many to become part of the resolution process.
Also in this issue, we speak with some of the early adopters of 802.11ac to get a reality check on whether Gigabit Wi-Fi -- soon to be known as 6.7 Gbps Wi-Fi, thanks to the ratification of Wave 2 of the 802.11ac standard -- has created an urgent need to run 10 Gigabit Ethernet out to wireless access points. In another story, freelance business writer Dina Gerdeman explores the true benefits of video conferencing. Yes, we've all been told that reduced travel is the real driver for many deployments, but Gerdeman delves into how the softer benefits of video conferencing are yielding the greatest returns.
And finally, we launch a new feature in this issue called "The Subnet," in which we pose five questions to an IT professional whose job focuses on networking and communications. We're looking for more victims, so don't be shy. Send us an email if you'd like to participate.
Are you happy with your APM tools today? Is 802.11ac driving upgrades in your wired network? Will Don Draper finally come to his senses in this final season of Mad Men? Email your thoughts, stories and conspiracy theories to me at email@example.com.