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A bigger view: NAPP combines network, application performance

The rise of remote work presents new challenges to the government workforce. In the current environment, productivity depends on the performance of cloud-based applications, multiple user devices and the networks between them. Yet administrators may lack broad-reaching insight into the performance of these technologies.

“For the end-user, everything should just work,” said Kevin Steeprow, vice president of engineering for technology transformation company Red River. “But for the IT team, you don't always know how the user is going to be connecting, what they will be using or whether they will actually be able to execute on that particular device.”

The Riverbed Network & Application Performance Platform aims to solve these problems.

Two things have to come together in support of worker performance. Networks need to deliver seamless connectivity, and applications must function smoothly. IT has traditionally viewed these as two separate problems. An emerging methodology, Network & Application Performance Platform, or NAPP, drives productivity by combining these in a single view.

“In the current environment, you can’t just look at one granular piece,” Steeprow said. “You need a holistic view – of the data, of the processes being executed, of the workloads that are happening on the various components and devices. You need an end-to-end view to understand all these things, and you need to be continually evaluating whether they are happening as expected.”

NAPP supports this by bringing together two key functions: network performance monitoring, and application performance monitoring.

“Network performance is about analyzing the traffic, the packets, the data moving across that infrastructure,” Steeprow said. “Application performance looks at how this application interacts with a database or with a microservice that's running somewhere else. It looks at how that end-user application is performing.”

Traditional tools have treated these as two distinct functions, handled independently. NAPP combines them into a single view, giving IT a powerful new means of managing the overall environment.

“Maybe there's a slowdown or the data is not transitioning. Is it because there's a bottleneck in the cloud connection? Is it in the cloud database itself? Is it on a custom piece of software that I've written?” Steeprow said. By delivering visibility into both network and application performance, NAPP offers a more efficient and effective way to diagnose and remediate potential issues.

“Say you're on a Microsoft Teams conversation and things start flaking out,” Steeprow said.

“Network performance is going to identify problems in the network, but maybe it’s an issue in the application itself, maybe the storage service or the compute instance went down.” 

Where the Network Operation Center team and the application team might end up finger-pointed, NAPP delivers shared visibility into the problem. 

“When you bring these tools together, everybody's got the same view, the same perspective,” Steeprow said. “Now they can see what the problem is and quickly get things back up and running.” 

Government agencies looking to move toward a NAPP solution can start by taking an inventory. 

“They need to understand what their mission-critical applications are and how those applications are going to be consumed,” Steeprow said. “Then they can actually start looking at what are the right tools to invest in.”

Red River then brings this vision to life, through its support for the Riverbed suite of NAPP products.

“We help the customer to understand what the entire journey looks like,” Steeprow said. “Our role really is to help them along as they move towards this combined environment. We are focused not just on providing the software and the hardware, but on helping our customers to make best use of those resources.”

Learn more about how Red River can help your agency boost productivity with NAPP.

This content is made possible by our sponsor, Red River. The editorial staff of GovExec was not involved in its preparation.

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