Exploring Ecosystem Partners for VMware Cloud on AWS Part 6: NETSCOUT

Customer Challenge:

VMware Cloud on AWS provides a truly compelling solution for the needs of enterprises today. Businesses are embracing agility to respond to the needs of customers while expanding their data centers without the traditional restrictions and time often associated with on-premises deployments. They also want to manage the migration process with tools with which their IT teams are already familiar. VMware Cloud on AWS allows IT to seamlessly extend data centers into the cloud as and when needed, using the tools they already know (vCenter), and so much more.

This agility and flexibility is very powerful, but it also means that the ‘data center’ is now everywhere and anywhere! This poses an ever-increasing need for performance and security visibility of this hybrid environment, to make sure the business performance is not affected by this constant change.

This is where NETSCOUT technology comes in; that is, providing multi-purpose, consistent, high-fidelity and real-time visibility into the performance and security of applications, wherever they are deployed – on-premises or in the cloud. In short, “visibility without borders”, allowing enterprises to see the full range of performance, availability and threats to their digital services, with more precision to resolve problems faster.

Accelerating the Value of VMware Cloud on AWS with NETSCOUT

NETSCOUT technology accelerates and adds value to the characteristic use cases for leveraging VMware Cloud on AWS:

  1. Extending the Data Center – As you expand the data center, NETSCOUT provides the visibility to help you quickly identify performance issues that can impact your business.
  2. Disaster Recovery (DR) – DR sites are essential, but it is just as important to have performance visibility of both as well as the DR sites; otherwise, how do you know everything is going to work? This is made more crucial by the fact that customers demand DR services work flawlessly. NETSCOUT provides the necessary visibility to help assure reliable service, including critical DR scenarios.
  3. Cloud Migrations – Migration is a fact of life, but sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what to migrate. For example, what are the service components and dependencies of associated applications you want to migrate? NETSCOUT service dependency discovery shows how applications communicate, allowing you not only to “know” the performance before the migration, but as you migrate quickly, helps you get to the root cause of issues as you migrate – before users start to complain. In addition, this allows for the operationalization of service performance as the migrated services go live and beyond.
  4. Facilitating Next Generation Applications – Application design methods, when deploying in the cloud, are evolving. With that evolution comes a need to design apps with capacity to deploy code updates and revisions at speed, to react to the demands of the business. This constant, high velocity of change means that unexpected consequences, performance issues or slowdowns can occur. VMware Cloud on AWS facilitates success when modernizing applications by integrating with native AWS services for next-gen application support. NETSCOUT technology can also access the E-W traffic wire data between applications while generating performance metrics. In short, NETSCOUT provides visibility of the source – the packets – while complementing VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware Partner Designation and Validation

NETSCOUT Systems, Inc. is an advanced tier member of the VMware Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) Program. The VMware TAP program works with best-of-breed technology partners to leverage a comprehensive set of VMware technical and marketing services, support, tools and expertise to deliver enhanced value to joint customers. NETSCOUT has qualified as Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS with the nGeniusONE Service Assurance solution including vSTREAMTM. This designation represents successful completion of VMware’s approved self-validation testing program. NETSCOUT’s NSX edition of vSTREAM has also been certified as VMware Ready for Networking and Security, VMware’s highest level of endorsement for products and solutions created to benefit their customers.

High Level Solution Overview – Choose NETSCOUT for Advantage:

NETSCOUT has developed vSTREAM in combination with the nGeniusONE Service Assurance platform to provide organizations with unrivalled visibility and workflows. This allows customers to address the most challenging application service and security assurance issues regardless of the deployment; be it legacy, private or public cloud, including VMware Cloud on AWS environments.

The NETSCOUT solution leverages wire data – the coveted single source of truth as to how applications behave and perform. We THEN translate this into Smart Data: powerful key performance and security metrics supporting thousands of applications and their interdependencies. These metrics can distinguish between application and network latency, with deep TCP understanding. In addition, we provide deep packet inspection of application protocols down to message types and error messages in applications (e.g. GETs, and PUTs for HTTP/REST, or SELECTs, and DELETES for database etc.)

Traditionally, wire-data was acquired by using spans and taps, and then fed into physical hardware probes for analysis. NETSCOUT embraces virtualization, and provides virtual probe technology, called ‘vSTREAM’. This technology can acquire, store and process wire-data in virtualized environments, such as the public cloud, and VMware Cloud on AWS as well as VMware NSX in the on-prem SDDC. This provides both North-South visibility, but also that elusive visibility of the virtualized East-West traffic.
Using this technique, NETSCOUT provides visibility of application, network, and security performance no matter where the application, virtual machine, or container resides and expands – we call this “visibility without borders” – and naturally fast-tracks the typical value-added use case scenarios for which VMware Cloud on AWS is adopted.

Closer Look – NETSCOUT in Action:

For this introductory blog, I want to illustrate a few key features of the NETSCOUT nGeniusONE platform, aligned to Cloud Migration and Next Generation Application migration.

In later blogs, videos and solution briefs, we’ll drill-down on issues in more detail, as well as deep-dive into deployment models and more detailed demos.

1 – Cloud Migration

One of the key challenges with migrations is knowing what to migrate to the cloud. Documentation is not always up-to-date, accurate or even available, with key stakeholders leaving the organization along the way. Understanding, but more importantly discovering the service dependencies of the underlying application, is key to any migration process. This is another thing NETSCOUT does well – the wire data that NETSCOUT uniquely begins with – provides an accurate and up-to-date picture of what’s really going on in the environment: which VMs communicate with one another, what applications, how much data and much more.

 

Figure SDD: Service Dependency Discovery based on North/South/East/West wire-data
 

In the Service Dependency Map above, we see an application that is partially on-prem, in an NSX data center, and also those components that have been migrated to VMware Cloud on AWS. Additionally, we see the enabling services such as DNS, and Active Directory (LDAP). While often forgotten about, applications will fail if applications teams cannot find where problems reside.

NETSCOUT technology can not only visualize the architecture, but also keeps track of its performance, while tuning exactly where the components should be placed in relation to each other, based on performance of the underlying communications (or effectively, assured user experience).

2 – Next Generation Application Migration

As the previous example shows, NETSCOUT technology can see how effectively applications are communicating for rapid response. This end-to-end visibility applies to all levels of complexity and granularity as well. The power of vSTREAM technology is that it can access, transform and monitor wire-data regarding communications, plus of course show key performance metrics critical to maintaining performance.

 

Figure: Service Dashboard for Application
 

In the example above, we highlight a complex application – with each “service card” highlighting the performance. Using this dashboard, we can easily spot ‘services’ that are causing the overall application (or service chain) to slow down. In this particular example, a new component (accessing Oracle Database) is shown as we also problem-solve in identifying issues and potential challenges at a granular level (not Oracle nor the Network) which are at fault. [Slow response time made up of 358ms application response time indicating the network response time is negligible].

 

Figure: Dashboard tile shows slow application response time
 

In other cases, it may be the database that is at “fault”. nGeniusONE can highlight failures – the error message – AND goes even further down to the packets if and when necessary.

 

Figure: Session/Packet data provided within VMware Cloud on AWS environment – showing Oracle error message “ORA 942 – Table does not exist”
 

 

Figure: Packet-level detail showing the error ‘select’ statement to identify and resolve issues quickly
 

Conclusion:

NETSCOUT vSTREAM technology provides key performance and security metrics with granularity down to the packet level, crossing bare-metal, on-premises servers to virtualized VMs in the SDDC. This level of visibility also includes VMware NSX and the cloud, including VMware Cloud on AWS environments.

As mentioned at the start of this blog, with VMware Cloud on AWS, you can migrate to the cloud using the same operational tools you’ve leveraged for your on-premises data center with VMware vCenter. Now with NETSCOUT’s enhanced ”visibility without borders”, you have the ability to do the same performance management to include the on-premises data center and VMware Cloud on AWS. Powerful solutions to harness the power and promise of change.

With VMware Cloud on AWS, your data center is now everywhere you deploy compute, storage and networking. With NETSCOUT – your end-to-end visibility is there too!
To learn more about VMware and NETSCOUT, please visit this page.

Check out the resources to learn more about NETSCOUT on VMware Cloud on AWS here.