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What your WAN performance management solution needs for VDI monitoring

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) over the wide area network (WAN) changes what businesses need from their WAN performance management solutions.

For good VDI monitoring, enterprises need a WAN performance management solution that can handle virtual environments. To learn what your WAN management tool needs, read on.

Organizations are increasingly deploying Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions to simplify IT management and improve flexibility of delivering applications to end users. However, even though VDI technology can deliver measurable business benefits for end-user organizations, VDI deployments are increasing the amount of data that is being accessed remotely and therefore pose new challenges for managing wide area network (WAN) performance and security. To meet today's network performance and security demands, WAN performance management solutions require VDI monitoring capabilities.

The top four challenges that organizations report when managing performance in VDI environments are:

  1.  Reduced visibility into application performance.
  2.  Increased bandwidth consumption.
  3.  Increased network latency.
  4.  Inability to deal effectively with an increased amount of interactive traffic over the WAN.

Effective traffic management policies and performance management solutions that are taking an application-centric approach (as opposed to network-centric) can help address these challenges.

As deployments of VDI technologies shift operating systems from end-user devices to a centralized data center, desktop/laptop-based security solutions are becoming redundant, which puts even more emphasis on securing the network. In addition, as VDI technologies enable organizations to access any business-critical data from any device that is connected to the network, it becomes harder to ensure an optimal level of security, especially since IT has to manage a wider range and number of devices.

More on VDI monitoring in performance management solutions

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Learn how to prepare and monitor for potential VDI over WAN performance problems. 

Traditional network visibility tools are not as effective when monitoring interactions between virtual machines. In order to address this challenge, organizations need advanced network monitoring capabilities that will be able to detect why these interactions are occurring and whether they are caused by any malicious attacks. Obviously, it makes more strategic sense not to wait until these problems affect key business processes and create problems with regulatory compliance. The solution is to have advanced alerting capabilities that enable IT teams to resolve these issues in a timely manner before they compromise the network and become even bigger problems.

Visibility challenges in virtualized environments

One of the key issues in managing application performance in virtual environments is the loss of visibility into network application performance through the use of monitoring tools that are designed to deal with traditional physical environments. Most of these performance management solutions were built for either network or server monitoring and are not as effective when deployed in virtualized environments. As a result, visibility into the entire transaction flow has emerged as one of the top challenges when managing delivery of applications over the network in virtualized environments, making VDI monitoring a top priority.

Over the next two years, 16% of the traffic currently being transferred across corporate WANs will be delivered to end users through the public Internet, according to surveys of top organizations. As these companies become increasingly dependent on Web-based applications and use cloud computing techniques to deliver business services, new management challenges arise.

To keep pace with demand, IT and network managers are increasingly requesting that their service providers offer service-level agreements (SLAs) that go beyond application uptime and guarantee speed of applications and optimal levels of security. As cloud computing gains more traction in the enterprise market, this issue will become more prevalent, since organizations will be dealing with the challenge of pulling data from multiple resources, making it more challenging to distinguish between business-critical data and security threats.

While a company can achieve significant operational and business benefits from leveraging cloud computing, these benefits can diminish if the organization does not have capabilities in place to ensure proper levels of services being delivered by its cloud providers.

Finding a balance between TCO and network performance

Reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) has emerged as one of the top objectives this year for companies looking to improve network performance management. In order to achieve this, however, organizations are increasingly planning to deploy solutions that will allow them to achieve multiple management and technology targets, such as security, WAN acceleration, network monitoring and so on -- all by using a single platform. This allows companies to do more with less while avoiding interoperability issues and reducing the cost of management and maintenance.

These performance management solutions include the following:

  • Network routers with integrated WAN optimization capabilities. Several vendors are offering networking equipment that not only offers advanced security capabilities but also has built-in application acceleration capabilities. Deploying these solutions significantly reduces management cost and mitigates any interoperability risks that come from deploying different WAN security and optimization hardware.
  • Tools for analyzing packet flow data for security and performance management purposes. Most organizations already have capabilities for collecting packet flow data (NetFlow, sFlow, etc.) from their networking equipment. But many of them are struggling with turning this data into actionable information. Using tools that can leverage existing packet flow data for both security and performance can help organizations reduce their TCO while enabling them to make more educated decisions when defining network usage policies.
  • Hardware solutions that include multiple application delivery functionalities on a single device. Companies often deploy solutions for accelerating WAN traffic that include some capabilities that are not used on a regular basis (or ever). Since some of these solutions come with predefined management interfaces, organizations do not have a choice about the capabilities they want to turn on or off, based on their needs. In order to avoid that situation, organizations will often deploy multiple solutions to manage different aspects of their WAN traffic, which consequently increases TCO and overall management cost.

Read the previous tips in the series below or see our WAN security and performance tutorial for more background:

Deploying hardware solutions that include multiple application delivery functionalities (such as caching, compression, SSL acceleration, etc.) on a single device, and provide flexible management capabilities so organizations will use only the features that they really need, can result in a significant saving in TCO and make for a better and more effective WAN architecture.

For more information view our WAN optimization and application acceleration resource page.

This was last published in February 2011

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