This syndicated post originally appeared at Network World Zeus Kerravala.

Users can view all network traffic across all cloud platforms


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The digital business era has brought about many changes to IT. One of the biggest evolutions is the acceptance and usage of the cloud.

Cloud computing’s path is similar to the one virtualization traveled about a decade ago. Early on, virtualization was used in labs and for non-mission-critical workloads. But as the technology matured and organizations became comfortable with it, usage exploded.

The same thing is happening with cloud, and over the next few years, the industry will see more and more applications and services moved to the cloud.

For most organizations, however, migrating to the cloud is no simple thing.

First, almost every organization (85 percent) will adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, according to a recent ZK Research survey. They will have a combination of public cloud services, private clouds and on premises virtual services. And troubleshooting application performance problems in a hybrid cloud environment can be difficult, if not impossible, with legacy visibility and management tools because they can’t see all the way into a public cloud.

Also, collecting data from the different cloud sources is typically done independently. Making sense of the data requires IT operations to manually gather, manipulate and correlate the data. The more cloud-centric an organization gets, the more data there is and the harder this task becomes.

Seeing into the cloud

Ixia announced a solution this week to ease the cloud visibility woes.

The new product, CloudLens, is a platform that integrates network visibility across public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. It’s is a combination of Ixia’s virtual network taps, data filtering, Netflow generation and de-duplication capabilities.

Customers of Ixia, which could include cloud providers, service providers and enterprises, can deploy virtual Ixia visibility services into the cloud and view the information in a centralized management platform. This provides a holistic view of all network traffic across all cloud platforms.

Businesses that use the cloud expect their services to offer elastic scale and resource pooling. The rapid scaling up and down of services causes traditional management platform fits, as the tools typically need to be changed manually.

CloudLens, however, has embedded automation capabilities. The platform scales its virtual taps and data filtering automatically to meet the agility requirements that cloud customers need. The automation capabilities of CloudLens enables the virtual taps and analytic tools to automatically shift to changes in the environment or failures without requiring any network operations interaction.

There is currently an alpha version available to Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers. Offerings for other public cloud services will come later.

Also, embedding the tools directly in the cloud provides huge bandwidth savings over having to create VPN tunnels and backhaul all of the data to a centralized location where the physical tools are deployed.

For private clouds, CloudLens supports monitoring of virtual traffic for a wide variety of environments, including OpenStack KVM, VMware EXSi and NSX today, with Microsoft Hyper-V coming.

One of the big challenges in private clouds is trying to bridge the physical–virtual boundary. There are a number of great tools to monitor either physical devices or virtual machines, but these environments are typically invisible to one another. CloudLens uses the virtual taps, Netflow, packet and application flow filtering, and other data to provide insight into both the physical and virtual environments.

Ixia will release a number of other products over the course of the year to add more capabilities to CloudLens.

There’s an axiom in IT that you can’t manage what you can’t see. Ixia’s CloudLens lets you see more—all the way to the cloud.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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