How to Keep Networked Applications Humming During Organizational Change

Applications are the lifeblood of any business, and ensuring their quick and efficient delivery across the network to all parties is a challenge even in the best of times. But the current economy is exacerbating this challenge by reshaping organizations via increased merger and acquisition activity, staff reductions and outsourcing. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Joel Trammell explains what risks these challenges pose to the performance of networked applications and gives CIOs 10 steps to follow to ensure they don't negatively impact business.

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As your organization seeks to efficiently connect, integrate or even dissolve teammates, partners and infrastructures in other companies, time zones and cultures, there are certain risks posed to the performance of your networked applications. But there are ten important steps CIOs can follow to mitigate these risks and efficiently and seamlessly maintain the performance of business-critical applications as their organizational structure evolves. Let's take a look at these ten steps.

Step No. 1: Take an inventory of applications

Do you know what's running on the merged network? Many organizations don't have any idea what applications are running on their network and how much of the traffic is business-related versus recreational. This has implications for performance and security as well as bandwidth provisioning.

Look for network performance monitoring tools that use a technology called NetFlow (created by Cisco but now an industry standard called IPFIX) to identify the who, what, when and where of applications traversing the network, as well as how much bandwidth is being consumed.

Step No. 2: Determine all application dependencies

Do you know what infrastructure components are used by each critical application? Understanding the infrastructure is critical to mitigating risk. For instance, a large commercial vehicle parts manufacturer that spun off from its giant parent corporation was immediately faced with delivering network services to thousands of employees in 30 countries.

The network group had to quickly understand its global network infrastructure and application environment. The group also had to quickly discover which resources belonged to them-including WAN links, servers, shared buildings and applications-in order to transition the appropriate resources away from the parent company and ensure optimal network and application performance. Network traffic analysis, application response time monitoring and device performance monitoring technologies are all critical in this situation.