3 ways to get the most out of server level analytics

Cisco Server Level AnalyticsWhen the topic of network monitoring and analytics comes up, the thoughts of most IT professionals go to one place: applications. With most companies having a dizzying array of applications to keep track of, application monitoring, mapping and security has become an increasingly impossible task.

With this in mind, we thought it would be timely to highlight a solution from our partner Cisco: Tetration Analytics. As everything that has to do with apps becomes more complex, Tetration Analytics offers increasingly sophisticated ways of staying ahead of the game. In this blog, we’ll look quickly at three major items: application monitoring, application mapping and security.

Monitor your apps

Anyone who has ever dealt with mice in their house knows that they’re small — almost undetectable — but can cause a lot of problems. Anyone in IT knows that “mouse flows” take after their namesake almost perfectly.

Since traditional NetFlow collectors can have an export rate of 60 seconds, they can often miss these small, but important flows, which often last less than a second. Tetration Analytics gets system data exported to it every 100 milliseconds; and this data is much more granular than the typical flows. And since the data is flushed so often, it’s much less likely that Tetration Analytics’ sensors will be overcome, requiring flow records to be dropped.

All this means a much more accurate picture of what your apps are doing and how they’re performing, and how you can make them perform better.

Know your apps

Truly knowing your apps means mapping your apps. Unfortunately, everyone in IT also knows that mapping your apps is a serious, time-consuming undertaking. Time that IT simply doesn’t have.

Traditionally, teams trying to map apps have had three choices:

  1. Manual. IT teams attempt to collect information on applications manually, across all the groups that may have deployed apps. To say this is a huge undertaking would be an understatement.
  2. Outsource. IT contracts with an external provider to collect and evaluate information on its applications and report back to IT. If you rely on someone else to give you detailed information about your applications, you have to also ensure these reports have the ability to change as your applications do, or build in additional consideration for a single point in time.
  3. Simple automation. There have been basic automated tools available that attempt to gather application information and create a dependency map. Basic is the key word here.

Tetration Analytics, thankfully, has a better way. As we mentioned above, it is constantly monitoring your applications and gathering data on them. Tetration Analytics takes this data and uses a bottom-up method to map your applications and make recommendations based on actual application traffic.

Security – Zero trust in a snap

With all the threats out there, companies have to take security seriously, or risk a data breach — or worse. Rather than try to detail all the security benefits Tetration Analytics can provide, let’s look at one thing many companies are doing now: implementing whitelist policies as part of a “zero-trust” environment. Basically, this means that application communications permissions are set at “permit none” rather than “permit any.” This is a great way to prevent attacks from quickly growing across your applications.

Of course, this requires that every application that wants to communicate has to be explicitly allowed to do so, which in turn requires some serious analytics. Tetration helps companies accomplish zero-trust by being able to quickly compare actual, real-time traffic flows with the whitelist policies a company has developed. As your whitelist policies evolve, so does Tetration.

This is a complex topic, so we encourage you to check out our Cisco partner page, and Cisco’s documentation. We think you’ll find that Tetration makes a lot of what worries IT about data center analytics much easier, and take the worry (almost) completely out of your app performance and security.

 

Ready to learn more about how KeyInfo and Cisco Tetration can work for you? contact us.

 

Christopher Ticknor
Director of Marketing
Key Information Systems