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Shouldering the Load: Planning for Added Network Capacity

by Feb 7, 2019

Almost every organization is facing the challenge of rapidly expanding networks, as our recent survey highlights in detail. Findings reveal that 83 percent of professionals claim their company’s networks (e.g., switches, routers, firewalls, etc.) have increased in size over the last year.

Network capacity planning is essential for growing networks.

How do network teams prepare for this and ensure that their network is ready to handle the additional capacity? Network capacity planning is often a multi-phase process as organizations attempt to understand if the current network design and capacities are sufficient to meet the anticipated growth of the network.

With NetBrain, organizations are better can be better equipped to tackle these phases and ensure their network is poised to handle the added capacity.

61% of enterprises lack the necessary documentation to understand their network’s current capacity.

Phase 1: Identification of Resources and Thresholds

Unsurprisingly, the first step of the network capacity planning process requires a clear picture of where the network stands today. Ideally, an organization can easily identify their current resources and thresholds to have a view of its current capacity. Our survey also revealed that 61 percent of engineers and managers did not have the network documentation required to gain insight into their network’s current capacity and thresholds.

With NetBrain, leading organizations are automating network diagrams to make this process extremely efficient. NetBrain can automate documentation, creating accurate network maps and inventory reports of all devices and links with color-coded legends highlighting current capacities. The key for any organization is to have clear visibility into the network, making the identification process far simpler.

Automated documentation gives you an exact picture of where you stand today.

Phase 2: Discovery of Current and Transient Hotspots

Identifying hotspots is critical in the network capacity planning process, as this allows organizations to identify where added capacity is needed. For even the most experienced network engineers, identifying transient hotspots can be challenging but it’s important that organizations uncover devices operating outside of acceptable thresholds. By automating diagnoses with NetBrain, monitoring tools can constantly poll devices, using triggered runbooks to perform periodic sampling and generate required data with minimal impact to the network.

Immediately uncover network devices outside of acceptable thresholds.

Phase 3: Assessment of Critical Deficiencies

Once organizations understand their network resources and identify hotspots and devices operating outside of acceptable thresholds, the next troubleshooting steps would seem to be relatively simple. Unfortunately, one of the biggest roadblocks that organizations face in the third phase is understanding the network context. It is difficult to understand the business impact of a hotspot on critical operations without being able to see the network context.

Visualizing critical application flows lets you understand the business impact of capacity deficiencies.

Visualizing critical application flows lets you understand the business impact of capacity deficiencies.

By dynamically mapping network traffic flows with NetBrain, this is an easier process. Network teams can understand critical application flows so they can prioritize monitoring and capacity upgrades minimizing the impact of capacity deficiencies in critical applications.


Phase 4: Preparation for Growth and New Applications

Once capacity upgrades are complete, it’s critical that network teams ensure the network is properly prepared for future capacity needs. This includes maintaining operation baselines for performance and monitoring the environment without generating “monitoring hotspots”. Organizations often have plenty of data on these topics, but are unable to translate that into useful information efficiently.  Additionally, as new applications are rolled out on the network, organizations must be prepared for how that will impact capacity.

Powered by persistent AI analysis, the Golden Baseline answers the question of “what’s normal” for your environment.

Powered by persistent AI analysis, the Golden Baseline answers the question of “what’s normal” for your environment.

By using NetBrain maps as a single pane of glass, network teams can aggregate multiple data sources to provide visibility and context. This allows engineers to easily identify areas of interest on a continual basis, so that network capacity planning becomes a much more efficient process.