Jason Landry
Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, Ixia

How your business can monitor virtual application traffic

May 4, 2016 by Jason Landry

Everything is in the cloud. Even soccer is in the cloud. Microsoft’s TV commercial highlights how the Microsoft Cloud helps Real Madrid fans connect to their team. It is exhilarating. As consumers, we use the cloud for backups, photo storage, streaming, and music downloads. The most well known names in tech use the public cloud to deliver services to you on any device. Top public cloud vendors are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Google is playing hard too. Google Cloud recently inked a cloud deal with Apple to host some iCloud services.

Unless you are serving up data to consumers, I would bet your public cloud usage is in its infancy. It might even be zero. But it will happen, and it will grow. Cisco’s Global Cloud Index forecasts that 56% of cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers by 2019. Today, it is 30%. That’s a huge shift from private cloud to public cloud over the next 3 years.

The public cloud dilemma for business critical applications

The public cloud offers amazing elasticity and scalability. However, many businesses face issues shifting workloads to the public cloud. The struggle is to achieve the same level of network performance and security monitoring as their own data center. According to an Ixia survey on virtualization, 67% of respondents are using virtualization for business critical applications. Yet, only about 37% are monitoring their virtualized environment like they monitor their physical environment. It is clear that businesses still lack the virtualized monitoring they need in their own data center. Until virtual network monitoring is as common as physical monitoring, a shift to the public cloud will be slow.

Start by monitoring virtual applications in the data center

Before companies can trust the public cloud to run business critical applications reliably and securely, they need to feel comfortable monitoring virtual application traffic. This starts in their data center. The key factor for many businesses is maintaining performance. Virtualization consumes a host’s CPU, memory, and network resources. You will consume more when you add virtual network monitoring. This means the act of monitoring the application can impact the performance of the application. But, you can’t just ignore virtualized network traffic. It accounts for a large percentage of the traffic in a data center with some estimates around 75%. It can be challenging to find the right balance of system resource utilization versus virtual monitoring.

How to get started with virtual network monitoring

In this white paper, Rethinking Network Monitoring in Virtualized Environments, we present and discuss five ways to copy virtual application traffic. All of the options have pros and cons. For instance, some may support VM motion, but may not be flexible to deploy if you have a lot of VMs. Some may require a specific virtualization platform or even a certain software version. One option could have a greater influence on a host’s resources compared to another. Choosing the best option for you depends on the application you are monitoring, where you are running the application, the virtualization software you are using, and the outcome you want to achieve. The white paper includes a scorecard to make it easy to compare options.

As a leader in network visibility, Ixia develops visibility solutions for both physical and virtual environments that make network, application, and security tools perform better. We unlock the virtualized environment and deliver virtual network traffic to your monitoring tools so you can maintain performance, security, and compliance. Together, we can help you develop trust in your virtualized infrastructure.