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Reducing remote site downtime through better network monitoring

Feb. 6, 2024
As companies adapt to meet the demands of consumers and a hybrid workforce, deploying highly scalable monitoring solutions that provide IT teams with packet-level data must be a top priority.

Organizations with remote sites come in many forms, including distribution centers, warehouses, and factories. As companies embrace digital transformation, these often-massive remote sites rely on always-on application connectivity for seamless communication, collaboration, operations, and productivity.

But when these systems fail, even for just a few critical minutes, these events can significantly delay production and distribution. Too much downtime can impact employee productivity, manufacturing costs, customer care, and even a company's reputation. Unfortunately, remote locations often lack onsite IT teams, making troubleshooting significantly more challenging and time-consuming.

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Additionally, as more and more applications no longer pass their traffic through corporate data centers, where organizations typically have greater visibility, IT teams may not be immediately aware of problematic network or application performance issues at remote sites. These can cause unplanned outages and dramatically impact a remote site's ability to produce products, deliver on committed schedules, and achieve daily quotas.

Indeed, network and application monitoring isn’t always seen as an immediate priority in remote sites. This is why it’s so crucial that organizations proactively assess their level of visibility concerning remote sites for faster prioritization, troubleshooting, and resolution—before these issues escalate to the level of causing significant disruption.

Monitor network and application performance from afar with real-time visibility

As manufacturing companies undergo digital transformations, new systems, and processes can introduce potential visibility gaps at the client, network, and service edge where the network and applications are utilized, especially in remote sites. Manufacturing companies often localize IT services, such as implementing dedicated virtualized servers at their remote sites to operate the facility autonomously to streamline processes and contain costs.

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To compensate for the lack of dedicated IT professionals in some locations, organizations have opted to deploy alternate means of providing their centralized IT teams with visibility from afar. This may include adopting deep packet inspection at scale to give IT teams end-to-end visibility across locations, networks, and applications.

Indeed, when IT teams have a contextual understanding across multiple layers of session and packet analysis, it creates the ability to evaluate transaction latencies throughout the network and detailed session and application flow information for mission-critical services. With the proper methods, IT can quickly address issues on the factory floor and internal and customer-facing business applications within remote sites.

The concern tied to increasing traffic that leaves and travels over the internet to other destinations is how to address inevitable end-user experience problems and performance disruptions. Since they are using corporate-sanctioned applications, users still call trouble tickets to central IT help desks when they experience these issues, which is yet another gap that can be overcome with real-time visibility.

Reduce downtime with deep packet inspection

Not only do network and application issues create service disruptions and inconvenience for customers and employees, but when the remote sites of distribution centers, warehouses, or factories face an outage, the downtime can be costly. Such delays and downtime can cost businesses up to $5,600 per minute, translating to over $300,000 per hour.

Not only does downtime come at a high cost, but a single issue in a manufacturer's system can cause a disastrous chain reaction across entire businesses if not fixed quickly. If severe enough, disruptions can impact manufacturing plant quotas and delivery commitments.

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To reduce such harsh disruptions, support global operations at remote sites, and ensure quality communications for employees, today's largest manufacturers and distributors should look to apply solutions that enable deep packet inspection (DPI) at scale.

Comprehensive packet-level data provides IT teams with the visibility they need to ensure the performance of critical applications, allowing them to drill down on performance issues right as they occur and ultimately reducing mean time to repair (MTTR).

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As companies adapt to meet the demands of consumers and a hybrid workforce, deploying highly scalable monitoring solutions that provide IT teams with packet-level data must be a top priority.

By taking these approaches to network and application monitoring, IT teams enable greater network and application performance maintenance across their remote site factories—limiting the impact of downtime-causing issues before significant disruption strikes.

About the Author

Eileen Haggerty

Eileen Haggerty is area VP of product and solutions marketing at NETSCOUT, a provider of application performance management and network performance management tools. Haggerty works with enterprise customers to ensure that NETSCOUT’s service assurance and cybersecurity solutions meet customer and market needs. Prior to her current position, she held several product management and marketing roles at NETSCOUT. She worked previously in technical marketing roles at Motorola Codex, Racal Data Group, and Celox Networks.