We have a network, quite complicated in terms of network/application layout.. remote users access application servers out on the WAN, and the application architecture is complex by itself - with multiple layers of servers - web/database/application etc... the network also has firewalls, F5 load balancers, qos etc before the user traffic hits the application servers..
though there are no issues with networks, the application access always has issues .. end user wants some tools which can capture application response, network response, hop-by-hop responses to be monitored 24x7.. one thing that struck my head in a flash, was opnet.. but i dont see much documentation on how it will integrate on a network ? Has anyone worked on Opnet ? where will it sit on a network ? does it use netflow ? how does it do application performance monitoring ? i tried gooogling, but couldnt find much documentation on this...
I know its a topic out of Cisco's product ranges, but am sure with such vast/experienced engineers here, someone in some part of the world would have worked with this...
Although I haven't worked on this product extesively, I can put some light as I have seen demo for these kind of products from Opnet and NetQoS.
They offer different products range which work on netflow, snmp and SPAN session. But the one you are interested in- Application performance monitoring works primarily on SPAN session.
You will require to feed SPAN session from your switch to this type of application monitoring tool. Netflow data won't be enough to gauge application performance. From this requirement- you can imagine where you need to place this tool in your network.
As you are feeding it SPAN session, it is able to see packet going back and forth between server and its clients. It also gather diagnostic data automatically through SNMP polling of servers, and traceroutes. From this, it will do its back door calculation to measure network, server, and application latency.
so, if i understand it right, Opnet would be a hardware device which I would connect close to the destination ? (to the LAN which connects the servers, and span traffic from the server to this device ) ? you mean, a sniffer kinda setup here ? what if i need to use this onto multiple networks, where the servers span across locations ? how would i span traffic in that case ?
and would we program the source network/destination network, for icmp, snmp etc to gather information onto Opnet's reports ? our goal is to have a single device which on "on-demand" basis can produce reports about application performance from client - A , to server 1,2,3 etc ..
say eg, if today we are having issues from NY office to UK, i want to basically record the application performance for say a period of 1 week, just to justify certain things.. and later if i have issues with another office in US, to say servers in india, i could enter the parameters for the device to log traffic ??
You are almost there in your understanding. But I would say it is more than sniffer as it process data on its own and able to corelate those with other factors. To utilize this tool at various location/network, probably you are looking at distributed architecture, where you require to equip each site with its own monitoring tool/device locally. All the gathered information by remote monitoring tools can also be access/process via master console at central location. This way you don't need to run SPAN session all the way to a central location. Also you don't require much work on tool side as it is intelligent enough to understand SPAN data it is getting and able to segregate and store those based on protocol/coversation/IP. You can run report based on these paremeters. Most of these tools have Web-GUI - so they can be easily accesible.
Again I haven't work on them so can't be more specific or certain on this.
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