Understanding NetOps: The Evolution of Network Operations

NetOps, a natural progression of the Network Operations paradigm, fosters efficiencies and more resilient infrastructures through automation and intelligence. Automation significantly impacts operational awareness, providing a dramatic reduction in Mean Time To Restore (MTTR) services. Utilizing network information across functional organizations enhances overall operation and eases the engineering bottleneck by capturing and using tribal knowledge. This enables both the Network Operations and Security Operations groups to gain visibility and actionable insight into their domains.

NetOps platforms provide mechanisms for:

  1. Service Assurance
  2. Service Automation
  3. Event Enrichment
  4. Extensibility and Scale
  5. Agnostic Functions

Service Assurance: The Complete NetOps Stack

Bringing your entire infrastructure's telemetry under management in one place allows for quick identification of actionable events, resulting in service assurance. Until recently, it was not possible to keep up with the massive amount of data generated from so many disparate sources of information. This led to Network Management Architectures containing multiple silos of information, making it almost impossible to correlate and enrich data, as they could only see part of the picture and sometimes had no visibility at all into service-affecting issues.

Many organizations still log in to a suspect resource and look at log files as a last step of the triage process. This is counter-intuitive, as system logs are almost always the light that shines on the truth as to what went wrong. Consider this: Cisco's Internetwork Operating System (IOS) has roughly 90 possible SNMP traps defined, but more than 40,000 possible log messages. Guess where the data required to solve most service-impacting incidents lies?

Reducing Noise: Identifying Actionable Events

There is more to Network Operations than just collecting data; one has to have the ability to automatically filter out non-actionable events and act on actionable and unknown events. This methodology reduces 90% of junk messages, allowing you to focus on what is important first. Once you have successfully and automatically identified something that needs action, the next steps are to automatically remediate and/or provide event enrichment.

Service Automation: The Elusive Goal

Service Automation is often discussed but rarely implemented. Many clients continue to manually remediate issues in their environment because they either lack the mechanisms to automate it, or they don't realize it can be automated. The scenarios are endless, but the workflow is usually similar: You receive an actionable message, automatically trigger an action that logs in to a device and executes a command, and the output provides information used to either execute an action or continue gathering data.

Once automation is complete, you'll be notified of a corrective action, either by email, system notification, or another messaging platform. One customer with an extremely large and dynamic network environment experiences major issues when problems arise. A senior engineer may spend between 30 minutes to several hours gathering data required to resolve the issue and execute a solution. Less experienced engineers can take up to eight hours to fully resolve. Any problem with a workflow solution should be automated. This allows your best engineers to construct triggers that automatically execute and resolve problems in real-time before anyone knows there was an issue, removing the need for repetitive tasks and eliminating human error. You are not only assuring availability but also freeing up resources and allowing your best people to concentrate on their jobs instead of fighting fires all day. Once several resolutions are successfully implemented, re-using the automations allows for quick updates to the run-book.

Event Enrichment: Enhancing Intelligence in NetOps

Event enrichment adds a layer of intelligence to information about affected devices and is a vital component in making informed decisions during the automation process. This step of the information gathering process adds an average of 1 hour to the triage process when done by a human, as opposed to mere seconds for LogZilla's NetOps Platform. When an event enters the NetOps system, having the ability to modify the payload, add tags, go to other sources of information, and look up details such as device location, SLAs, Change Control policies, or anything else that can be used to further group and identify greatly reduces the time needed to investigate and correlate service-impacting events.

Extensibility and Scalability: Accommodating Anomalistic Behavior

Extensibility and Scale allow the NetOps platform to immediately provide value as new telemetry types become available and across platforms. Being able to scale the platform enables dealing with bursts of event streams when anomalistic behavior occurs. In a previous article, a customer experienced a service-impacting failure in their environment, and the velocity of incoming data went from 2,000 events per second to over 25,000 events per second. It's imperative that your NetOps platform can accommodate this level of increase without dropping a single message. LogZilla is the most scalable platform on the planet, capable of managing billions of events per day on a single server, scaling up to 100k events per second, where other vendors fall short around 7k events per second. Generally, there is a 1:10 server ratio with LogZilla.

Agnostic Functions: Empowering Different Areas of the Organization

Agnostic Functions allow different areas of the organization to utilize the platform without concern for operational effectiveness. Network Operations, Security Operations, Server Operations, Data Analytics—anything capable of sending a message can be used as a data source and can reap the benefits of automatically identifying actionable and unknown events, real-time automatic remediation, and assured availability. Using role-based access control prevents users and groups from seeing things they should not have access to. However, there is another side to this: Many first-level support engineers lack the permissions to log into individual devices and perform actions, whereas LogZilla's NetOps platform automatically provides them with the visibility they need for troubleshooting and triage in a matter of seconds. Giving operations this insight, coupled with automatic remediation and event enrichment, frees up your senior engineering staff to do their job instead of fielding questions all day.

LogZilla: The Ultimate NetOps Solution

LogZilla is the only NetOps platform that can operate across the stack, out of the box. Until now, there were no NetOps Platforms capable of accommodating the volume of telemetry today's large networks produce while returning actionable intel instantly. Using LogZilla as your front-line management platform ensures operational effectiveness, increased availability, and automatic remediation of common, repetitive tasks to streamline NetOps in your organization and make it run like a well-oiled machine. You will be amazed at what you have been missing. LogZilla is built by NetOps for NetOps.

Real-world use cases

  1. Banking: A prominent bank used LogZilla's NetOps platform to enhance their network security and monitor their entire network infrastructure. This provided actionable insights and automated remediation of common network issues, ensuring secure and stable banking services for their customers.
  2. Education: A large university implemented LogZilla's NetOps platform to manage their campus-wide network, gaining real-time visibility into network operations and enabling quick detection and remediation of potential issues. This helped the institution maintain a reliable network environment for students, faculty, and staff.
  3. Retail: A major retail chain adopted LogZilla's NetOps platform to oversee their network across multiple store locations. This allowed them to identify and address network issues rapidly, ensuring minimal downtime and a smooth shopping experience for their customers. By implementing LogZilla, the retailer significantly improved their network performance and security, protecting their business from potential cyber threats.

March 25, 2023
Network Operations

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