Cloud Alert: Test before you Migrate
Using Network Impairment Emulation to reduce the risks of data center relocation or deploying applications to the Cloud!
Moving to a new data center or cloud service provider can significantly impact business and mission critical applications. Increased latency due to distance and the number of network hops can degrade application response times and performance. Moreover, a migration can introduce unexpected impairment conditions such as packet jitter or packet delay variation (PDV) and packet loss which further reduce effective bandwidth.
At Aukua Systems, we have worked with customers on migration projects driven by various business initiatives including consolidating data centers, adding remote backup locations for disaster recovery, and moving applications to cloud based service providers. All these events are stressful for any IT operation. No business can afford down time or user angst due to application failures or bottlenecks.
Fortunately, with a carefully planned and executed testing methodology the risks associated with a data center or cloud migration can be significantly reduced. When working with our large enterprise, financial and defense customers, we start with a test environment in the lab where anticipated latency, bandwidth and impairment conditions are emulated, and application performance is empirically assessed in a risk-free manner. Application response times, download performance, or voice and video quality metrics are most commonly used to determine pass/fail results. At this stage, if necessary, applications can be tuned, bandwidth requirements can be increased or decreased, device configurations can be tweaked, and interoperability issues can be discovered and addressed.
In the case of pre-deployment validation of disaster recovery plans, this test methodology can answer questions such as:
“What happens when a fail-over event occurs?”, and
“Will my applications perform as expected when hosted from the backup datacenter?”
During this testing we often find that certain business applications, especially those used for communication and collaboration, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, bog down to unacceptably slow levels, or they fail outright, even after they performed well under pristine lab conditions which do not take into account delay, limited bandwidth or other network congestion issues.
Figure 1: Aukua Network Impairment Emulator creates real-world latency, bandwidth limits and impairment conditions to enable empirical assessment of application performance
For larger mission critical migration scenarios, the next step is to insert network emulators into the existing live network and then slowly “dial up” the latency and impairments to the conditions that are expected after the migration. Throughout this stage of testing, application performance and end user experiences are monitored closely for any negative effects. The process is iterative, with latency and impairments quickly reduced and changes made if undesirable outcomes are experienced or measured. Once this live network phase is completed, our delay and impairment emulators are removed from the production environment and the organization is ready to migrate with maximum confidence.
Utilizing network impairment emulators in pre-deployment testing is the best way to reduce the risk associated with a data center relocation or cloud deployment event. In addition, an often overlooked but important additional benefit of following the above process, is that projects are assured to be ‘right-sized’. This means that companies can decrease long term operational costs by not over investing in unnecessary excess bandwidth or expensive Service Level Agreements (SLAs) guaranteeing low latency.
In summary, Aukua network impairment emulators reduce risk and save time and money during data center migrations by proactively reproducing real-world conditions in a test environment. By verifying in advance how relocating a data center will impact application performance, changes can be made to troubleshoot and resolve application performance issues before the switchover.
To learn more about this network impairment emulation solution visit Aukua Systems at https://www.aukua.com/solutions/enterprise_datacenter.html
Author - Jason Nutt, Jason Nutt is Co-Founder and CEO of Aukua Systems where he focuses on a customer-centric approach to delivering innovative solutions to problems. Jason has more than 20 years of experience in the Test and Measurement and Network Visibility industries. Prior to Aukua, he held leadership positions with Ixia, Anue Systems and Spirent Communications where he brought multiple successful product lines from concept to market.
Jason holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Aukua Systems is a leading provider of Ethernet testing and visibility solutions. Whether developing, validating, deploying, supporting or managing applications or networks, our products help improve performance and make networks more secure. The Aukua product line includes packet capture tools, analyzers, traffic generators and impairment emulators, and all Aukua's solutions are hardware based, precise and 100% full line rate. Since 2015, equipment manufacturers, large enterprises, service providers, and government agencies worldwide have depended on Aukua to build stronger networks. To learn more, visit www.aukua.com.