NetFort warns organisations: Don’t let Content Delivery Networks impair network insight
NetFort, the software company that shows what users are doing on the network, is today warning organisations to beware of the network visibility problems which Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can pose. Although CDNs can be a valuable asset – in particular, ensuring the fast delivery of web content during global events such as Barack Obama’s presidential campaign – they can also create visibility problems for network managers. With CDNs delivering global content cached locally, network managers may struggle to understand the source of the traffic and consequently how to handle it when it hits their network.
"We no longer have a ‘one-speed’ web, where emails and website traffic is tolerant to delays and there is no real need for speed," says Darragh Delaney, technical director, NetFort. "Certain types of traffic can be very sensitive to lag and vital to the day-to-day functioning of an organisation. Although CDNs can speed up web requests by caching bandwidth-heavy content locally, this also means that when network managers are inspecting traffic, they may simply see ‘17775g.akamai.net’ or the name of the CDN provider, rather than the actual source itself, for example Netflix or Salesforce.com, which should influence how this traffic is handled."
NetFort recommends that organisations use tools and techniques to overcome this challenge, matching the time and date of the download to proxy server log details. Alternatively, the use of deep packet analysis tools can check the type of traffic as it travels around the network. NetFort advises companies to use port mirroring to ensure that network traffic is not interrupted and the day-to-day operations of the company are not disrupted.
"Network blindness can cost the IT team many hours of valuable time and may eventually result in the slowdown of business critical applications such as CRM and ERP," continues Delaney. "Once organisations have visibility of their network traffic, they can even correlate this to authentication logs and find out the heaviest users of bandwidth within the organisation. It is only by having clear visibility of what users are doing on the network that network teams can prioritise traffic, and making sure that business proceeds as usual, rather than non-essential traffic clogging up valuable bandwidth."
This content is based on a blog from Darragh’s column on Computerworld. For more information please see blogs.computerworld.com, http://www.netfort.com/ or contact NetFort on [email protected] or via the support forum: http://forum.netfort.com/netfort
NetFort provides software to monitor activity on virtual and physical networks. Using NetFort’s LANGuardian network managers gain complete visibility of user and network activity from an overall insight to high-definition detail.
Headquartered in Galway, Ireland, NetFort Technologies was established in 2002 and has built up a global customer base in the enterprise, education, and government sectors