There are many aspects on monitoring and maintaining a modern heterogenous network that rely extensively on analytical data. What would make things easy is a system that sources raw data from the network, processes it and passes on the insights to the teams as and when they need them. A solution akin to this was presented by Forward Networks at the January’s Networking Field Day event.
The Biggest Challenge in Network Operations
Modern businesses are founded on highly digitized infrastructures. They thrive on information. Network being a big part of that, insightful network data is in high demand. It gives engineers a chance to avert potential pitfalls and get ahead of problems through timely and predictive analysis where possible.
Without centralized network data assimilated through systematic collection and analysis situations like expired certificate, outage and security breach can become a lingering part of the network. With a profusion of data in network and increased hybridization, businesses are grappling with systematic and timely data analysis.
Understanding Network Behavior with Forward Networks
Forward Networks is primarily into providing network intelligence. There are platforms of similar kind out there that are built to automatically generate data from the network environment, but the way the Forward Networks platform stands out is by extrapolating that data to deliver insights using which businesses can ensure reliability, agility and security in their networks and in their IT infrastructures on the whole.
The Forward Networks platform functions in three steps, first it collects data from different sources going far and wide in the network and organizes them into a single source of truth. This data it then transformed into actionable intelligence that teams from the enterprise over can use to their respective requirements. Finally, it makes the data accessible to all teams.
Forward Networks Platform in Action
At the January’s Networking Field Day event, Brandon Heller, CTO and co-founder of Forward Networks presented the Forward Networks platform. While detailing its features and function, he took us through the various use cases explaining the ways in which the platform supports them.
Data collection happens extensively on the Forward Networks platform. It draws data from network equipment like switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, proxy’s STN controllers, SD-WAN controllers, wireless controllers as well as cloud environments in AWS, Azure and GCP. As it crawls through the environments, it picks up information on config and state from the available protocols.
Diving deep into every data source out there, it gathers intelligence which it translates into predictive reports of the behaviors of the concerned devices and the network.
Once the data is collected and made ready, the Forward Networks platform then makes it accessible to the users. This happens in two ways, first through a system called Network Query Engine whose job it is to automate the grunt work so that the accessing teams do not have to work on things like writing queries and scripts. The second is through path analysis and building up a database with every information about network behavior.
The Forward Networks platform is a robust and intelligent engine that collects data from the network far and wide, processes it at a commendably fast speed and churns it out the backend where teams can access it at minimum hassle. The data it produces is useful not just to the NetOps people, but also teams like SecOps, Applications, Compliance, Cloud and more. That’s groundbreaking in so many ways, but what I found most interesting is that it cranks up the overall efficiency by incredible measures.