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Network Tool Complaints

Introduction

Recently, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) surveyed over 400 Networking / IT professionals responsible for Networking Tools to get deeper insights into Network Observability. Augtera Networks did not sponsor or influence the research. Responses from Network Practitioners on tool complaints focused on Data Quality and Scalability. Responses from IT leaders focused on Scope and Expense. This blog looks at the survey results and discusses the issues.

Comparing the Results of Network Tool Complaints

While it is not surprising that people using tools everyday might have a different perspective on the biggest issues than those in leadership roles, important insights come from examining those differences.  The below table lists Network Tools complaints from highest to lowest.

Network PractitionersIT Leaders
Poor Data QualityLimited Scope
Insufficient ScalabilityToo Expensive
Too ExpensiveDifficult to Implement & Maintain
Difficult to Implement & MaintainToo Noisy – Alert Fatigue
Lack of InsightsLack of Insights
Limited ScopeInsufficient Scalability
Too Noisy – Alert FatiguePoor Data Quality
Poor Customer SupportToo difficult to Use
Too difficult to UsePoor Customer Support
Table 1. Source: Enterprise Management Associates, Network Observability: Delivering Actionable Insights to Network Operations 

For Network Practitioners, Poor Data Quality and Insufficient Scalability are related. Often the inability to scale leads to gaps in the data, for example. Especially in the era where Network Operations teams are looking to have many data sources ingested by a common tool, scalability is essential. Some Enterprises will require the ability to ingest hundreds of millions of data points per hour. 

Scalability is not just the ability to collect data on millions of data sources, but also to collect data at a high frequency. For some metrics collecting data every 5 minutes may be sufficient, while for others, for example latency and loss information, collecting data every 10, 20, or 30 seconds may be desired. 

On the other hand, the top complaints from IT leaders are Limited Scope and Expense. These issues are also related. IT leaders want to get tool proliferation under control because of expense and triage inefficiency. To make a meaningful dent in tool proliferation, IT leaders will need tools that have a large scope, the ability to ingest many data types.

Lastly it is interesting to note that today’s monitoring and observability tools are seen as lacking insights by both Network Practitioners and IT leaders.

Conclusion on Network Tool Complaints

While there is little disagreement on what the overall list of complaints are, different roles in a company may rank those issues differently, based on their objectives and day-to-day experience with network tools.

Those with hands on day-to-day experience are focused on the very practical issues of data quality and scalability. Those focused on setting future directions and achieving larger overall IT objectives are focused on tool scope and expense. Next generation tools must address all these issue and stakeholders.

Notes

Augtera’s summarization of the EMA data:

  • Large Enterprises were selected
  • Network Practitioners was defined as: Network Architect, Network Engineer/Analyst, Network Tools Engineer / architect, Site Reliability Engineer
  • IT Leadership was defined as: IT Manager, IT Director, IT VP, IT CxO

Data used is from the October Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research: Network Observability: Delivering Actionable Insights to Network Operations