AppNeta has launched a new service, AppNeta Performance Manager, to monitor and measure network and application performance from data centers and branch/remote offices. The service combines application identification, network monitoring, and synthetic transactions to help IT identify performance problems, including issues with cloud-based business applications.
Performance Manager combines premises devices (either hardware or virtual) and an analysis server. The analysis server can be hosted in AWS or in the customer’s data center. The service also includes synthetic transaction monitoring software to simulate an end user’s experience with a cloud application.
AppNeta competes with the likes of Riverbed, SolarWinds, Kentik, and ThousandEyes.
Here’s how Performance Manager breaks out into its component parts:
The premises devices are called Monitoring Points (MPs), and these are the workhorses of the service. Customers install MPs in every location where they want to examine network performance. MPs can sit on a network span port or be deployed inline.
MPs rely on deep packet inspection to understand the applications in use. It also generates Netflow records, and can be used to capture packets. AppNeta says it can identify over 1,500 applications.
MPs also probe the network paths that link headquarters and branch offices to each other and to cloud applications. They measure link performance by sending a string of up to 50 packets of a variety of sizes, using ICMP or UDP. These strings are sent every 60 seconds.
By measuring responses to these packet strings, AppNeta says it can build a very clear picture of key network metrics on a hop-by-hop basis, including maximum available bandwidth, utilized bandwidth, latency, jitter, MOS scores for voice traffic, and more.
All of the information gathered by the MPs (including application use, NetFlow records, packet captures, and network performance data) is sent to the analysis server. As you might guess, the analysis server aggregates, analyzes, and stores this information.
Customers can use the analysis server’s GUI to investigate network issues and drill into performance details for root cause analysis, troubleshooting, and to respond to user complaints. They can also set alerts around performance thresholds and generate reports.
AppNeta says performance data is retained for a year. And as mentioned, the analysis server can be hosted in AWS or in the customer’s own data center. In either case, AppNeta is responsible for managing the analysis server and the Monitoring Points, including maintenance and software upgrades.
AppNeta also offers a synthetic transaction option. The company licenses Selenium software to build scripts that mimic how a user interacts with Web applications such as Salesforce or Google’s GSuite.
The synthetic transaction runs in a browser and will interact with key pages in a SaaS application. The software will gather metrics around object-level performance on each Web page, SSL handshake time, browser plug-ins, and other details.
If users are complaining about the performance of a SaaS application, the synthetic transaction capability can be used, in conjunction with the network performance data, to help identify just where the problem resides.
And while an IT team can’t troubleshoot a third-party SaaS application, it can at least let users know what’s going on, and work with the SaaS provider to resolve the issue (or at least alert the provider to the problem).
Performance Manager pricing starts at $1,299 per year to monitor up to five applications from a remote office, plus the cost of the Monitoring Point. Full pricing details are available here.