Network Graphing and Optimization – Part 2

Cloud Manage

As mentioned in the previous blog post, network graphing tools can be very helpful in understanding traffic patterns and can provide valuable data aiding in making informed optimization decisions. WAN utilization graphs can provide helpful intelligence as to your general traffic utilization, but when taking a closer look at the different types of traffic that are critical to your business, you may determine that some proactive configuration adjustments might be useful to ensure connectivity.

If you are load-balancing traffic over multiple WAN connections on a day-to-day basis you may find your bandwidth needs are being met. By spreading the load intelligently, congestion can be eliminated, performance enhanced, and traffic flow optimized. However, one of the unfortunate realities of WAN connectivity is that outages occur, and it’s rarely at a “convenient” time. That large pool of bandwidth you are used to having available may suddenly be significantly impacted when a connection fails. By understanding the needs of your critical traffic you can create some preventative rules to help ride out that outage until the service is restored.

Graphing tools can help in identifying your top traffic types, and once identified you can see how much bandwidth those services utilize on a daily basis. For example, you could see that your critical site-to-site VPNs typically utilize somewhere between 5-15 Mbps of your available bandwidth. With that knowledge, you can create a Quality of Service (QoS) rule for each WAN connection that states that the site-to-site VPN traffic is guaranteed at least 5 Mbps of throughput, and is considered a high priority. If you are down to just a single WAN connection, you’ve allocated bandwidth so that less important traffic (say, general Internet browsing), can’t crowd out the VPN traffic while you’re dealing with the diminished bandwidth capacity. That critical VPN traffic still gets the 5 Mbps of throughput it needs, assuming it needs it.

Graphing the traffic flow can provide significant insights and help you to mitigate disruptions and prevent a loss of productivity. WAN optimization can take many forms, and understanding your traffic can be the key to maximizing your resources.
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