Networking / September 21, 2020

How LiveAction and Gigamon Combine to Streamline Application Delivery and Troubleshooting

Updated October 28, 2021.

Organizations today rely on many business-critical applications that must function as expected for day-to-day operations to continue. From sales and HR to marketing and more, just about every business department depends on applications to succeed. Without them, business would come to a screeching halt.  

When application performance problems inevitably arise, IT teams spend 90 percent of their time hunting down the root cause and only 10 percent on the fix itself. This is because there’s virtually an unlimited number of potential causes across today’s complex, multi-vendor, multi-domain network environments. And in many cases, IT departments don’t have the right data — or enough data — to solve the problem. They receive alerts or indicators when problems arise, but they often lack the network packets that provide the level of detail needed, so they’re forced to try to reproduce issues or wait for them to happen again. 

Some enterprises use 20-plus point solutions to monitor and troubleshoot their complex networks, leading to inefficiency and even confusion. But even if there was just one “magic tool” that offered every capability imaginable, IT employees would still find and use a point solution that does one aspect just a little bit better. Then another engineer might come along and — even though the existing toolset meets all the requirements — adopt their favorite (or favorites), and before long there are more tools in the mix again. And then a newly expanded cloud infrastructure might necessitate new solutions.

Think about how much time, effort and money is involved in making employees experts on just one tool. How can an organization expect IT engineers to become skilled at operating 20 or more tools, especially when many of these solutions can’t or don’t integrate with one another? Beyond these training challenges, tool sprawl is a clear and obvious recipe for disaster — or at least incredible complexity and inefficiency — when it comes to balancing IT budget and productivity, as well as overall network performance management. 

The truth is that complex network environments must be handled with simple monitoring solutions. Gigamon Visibility and Analytics Fabric™ (VAF) combined with LiveAction’s LiveNX network visualization and analytics platform provides the level of insight and actionable intelligence necessary for businesses to optimize networks to effectively deliver business applications — in a simple, intuitive way. 

A Better Solution for Application Delivery and Troubleshooting

Many IT teams use LiveNX to manage network and application performance in complex environments. A tight integration with Gigamon VAF — which aggregates and routes packets or streams of network traffic, as well as flow metadata — enables LiveNX to give users a powerful, intuitive and unified way to monitor, manage and troubleshoot applications and network performance

Together, this joint solution provides IT teams with: 

  • Deep insights into application traffic flows across the entire environment, through packets and metadata sent from the VAF to the LiveNX platform 
  • Real-time visibility and advanced analysis of datacenter and cloud environments
  • Flow-based analytics in high-traffic locations where network devices may already be overtaxed by unnecessary processing of NetFlow/IPFIX data
  • Analytics on any flow or location within the network — even areas where flow-based data is not readily available from network devices
  • A highly accurate representation of network flows via the VAF’s packet processing, de-duplication, aggregation, filtering and offloading capabilities
  • Root-cause troubleshooting using the network packets that generated the original flow monitoring data, eliminating the need to reproduce the problem or wait for it to happen again

It ultimately provides better scalability; improved datacenter, cloud and WAN visibility; and accelerated troubleshooting, root cause analysis and problem resolution. In turn, these outcomes mean reduced costs, better user experience and improved business operations! 

Gigamon VAF and the LiveNX platform offer full packet analytics and visibility across all areas of the network. The solution leverages intelligent pattern-match filtering from the Gigamon VAF to direct traffic at the packet level to one or more LiveWire analyzers, where flow metadata is created and network packets are stored. The flow metadata is then consumed by LiveNX, offering the level of visibility and analytics necessary to troubleshoot any size datacenter or cloud network. Or the Gigamon VAF itself can be used to generate NetFlow records, without sampling, and also direct packets to one or more LiveCapture appliances. In this configuration the Gigamon VAF provides LiveNX with the NetFlow records needed for real-time and historical analysis, and LiveCapture provides the detailed packet data for root-cause analysis.

How Does It Work?

Gigamon VAF provides LiveNX with network traffic as both packets and continual NetFlow records. Network traffic from TAP and SPAN ports are sent to the VAF. Users specify which traffic to monitor and the VAF efficiently passes packets, NetFlow/IPFIX records and data to LiveNX for analysis in the correct format.

To monitor East-West datacenter traffic, Gigamon taps virtual traffic and incorporates it into the VAF for delivery to LiveNX, where all traffic is monitored and analyzed together. The VAF can generate unsampled metadata from any traffic stream in NetFlow, IPFIX or CEF formats and send it to LiveNX, offloading processing-intensive tasks from network devices. From there, LiveNX platform: 

  • Leverages NetFlow/IPFIX with advanced technologies such as QoS, NBAR2, application visibility and control (AVC), IP SLA, Cisco SD-WAN (Viptela) and cloud monitoring (AWS) to provide an effective monitoring solution for application network performance
  • Uses SNMP to conduct basic monitoring for QoS, IP SLA, routing, ACL and other technologies 
  • Examines APIs from SD-WAN and other networking fabrics to verify performance and intent 
  • Analyzes NetFlow for advanced technologies like NBAR2, AVC and now Gigamon VAF and Application Metadata Intelligence (AMI)
  • Stores packets at network line rate for detailed root-cause analysis of any alert or flow, initiated with a single click 
  • Visualizes packets and flows across entire complex network topologies through inputs from Gigamon VAF and a variety of data sources, giving IT an accurate depiction of the current state of their network and application performance  

By combining Gigamon Visibility and Analytics Fabric with LiveAction’s LiveNX platform, IT teams can enjoy enhanced visibility and analysis of exactly what’s going on across their complex networks, and more quickly get to the bottom of challenging network and application issues. Click here to learn more about LiveNX today.

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