Procera announced a brand-spanking new capability today called Dynamic LiveView that is dropping the jaws of network engineers around the world. It is a “WOW” moment when you see what it can show you in real-time about what is happening on your network.
But, we often get asked the question – “Why do I need to see this in real-time?” Although the question is normally a plant from someone that does not offer a comparable capability, it is a very fair question, as sometimes providing too much information is just as bad as providing too little, or too late (all of which are common complaints by operators).
Let’s take a look at one use case that we get asked about all the time by mobile operators that illustrates why we launched Dynamic LiveView.
Use Case: A mobile operator has congestion on a specific portion of their RAN (it could be a cell tower, it could be a SGSN/GSSN, could be a region). They are seeing degraded Quality of Experience on that region with IP applications (let’s say Voice and/or Video applications since they would raise concerns if they were poor quality). The network engineer responsible for that region needs to find the root cause and determine if something can be done before customer complaints start coming into the Call Center. What he needs is a tool that helps him narrow down whether this is an application, site, service, device, security attack, or simply too much usage in that area. Wouldn’t it be nice if he could ask the network the following types of questions?
- What devices are active in that region?
- What applications are those specific devices running and how much bandwidth are they consuming?
- Is a specific device or application using too much bandwidth?
- Is a specific destination (Facebook, Google, a CDN, etc.) under heavy load?
- Is there a flood type attack (session, bandwidth, etc.) going on, and if so, what are the attack vectors (protocols, sites, applications, etc.)
If he knew the answers to these questions in real-time, he could determine the root cause of the issue, and either configure a network policy or attack mitigation filter to reduce the network congestion, AND see if that made a difference in real-time.
Below is an example result of such a query. We picked a specific RNC, and are displaying the network behavior by showing first the device types active on that RNC, then the applications that they are running, and then finally the sites that they are accessing with those applications. This is a very easy way to determine what is happening on that specific area of the network.
Another interesting use case would be an operator looking to understand what Google Services were being accessed on their Google peering links to see if one specific service was causing network congestion issues. In this scenario, the operator wants to understand the Google sites (i.e. subdomains) that are being accessed from their network, what kinds of sites they are (i.e. the category of those sites), and how those sites were being accessed. Below is the answer:
As you can see from the screen capture, not only are we seeing the breakdown on Google Sites in real-time, but we can also distinguish how the customers are accessing these sites – including distinguishing secure access over SSL and SPDY in addition to the site being accessed. This is a powerful view, as it demonstrates that service offerings can include visibility into how services are being accessed when encryption and security are used.
Dynamic LiveView is a real-time query capability within the existing PacketLogic solutions. No new hardware is needed, no cost for the access. Procera believes strongly that networks need to become smarter to deliver on the promise of Cloud Services, Bring Your Own Device, even Software Defined Networking. And although not everyone needs that information in real-time – when problems occur on networks, the tools to determine exactly what is happening lack context for their data. Dynamic LiveView provides that in a way that other solutions do not – and leverages Procera’s strong technology advantage in real-time visualization.
Dynamic LiveView is about “Personalization” of the network for the network operators – something that often gets overlooked. Different teams need different views of the network, and Dynamic LiveView is about providing “Your View or Your Network” – however you want it.