At every turn, emerging technologies offer compelling new opportunities for the enterprise. But it’s all coming in a flood and so fast that network teams risk biting off more than they can chew.
That’s when the problems start. SLAs are blown, security issues are exploited, or big, expensive projects end up missing the mark altogether. Truth is, traditional test workflows are no match for next-gen enterprise tech.
5G, SD-WAN, Wi-Fi-6 and new Ethernet technologies are a must for enterprise operational success. Many will be deployed together, creating complex, converged networks. Even enterprises that have the luxury of working with systems integrators need assurances the big bets they’re making will pay off. They need confidence that what’s planned is what gets delivered.
In other words, they’ll need to predict the future.
In the absence of a crystal ball, this translates into evolving workflows to validate everything in advance of deployment. With teams distributed globally, vendors have traditionally only been able to verify performance in closed systems. Now, as budgets grow ever tighter and requirements expand exponentially, this is no longer a viable approach. Enterprises unable to manage this essential necessity will struggle to compete effectively in the long term.
But a new approach is proving successful in paving a path forward.
Even enterprises that have the luxury of working with systems integrators need assurances that the big bets they’re making will pay off.
Predict the future with testing that mimics the real world
When enterprises deploy new applications over private or public infrastructure to a range of devices, they’ll typically check performance between key connections. Usually this is done under ideal network conditions with minimal traffic. Yes, they’re verifying the system works, but they learn little about what to expect under real-world conditions. It’s not until after launch that the underlying problems are revealed, some much worse than the others, providing plenty of heartburn to go around. Eventually, costs go up as customer satisfaction drops in the opposite direction.
Based on our work with large enterprise IT teams around the world, we recommend the following essential testing practices to help ensure what’s planned gets deployed on-time, under budget and with expected performance levels:
Performance validation to measure everything from voice quality to packet jitter – all the factors necessary to understand end-user experience and isolate and resolve problems
Network emulation to mimic real networks, devices and users including heavy traffic loads
Network impairment incorporated alongside emulation to precisely assess how networks will respond to real-world faults or degradations
Security assessments to proactively detect vulnerabilities so security weaknesses can be addressed before they’re exploited
Testbed automation for rapidly expediting complex testing scenarios and maximizing equipment use with optimal sharing of resources
Transform IT workflows to launch next-gen networks with confidence
The testing practices above support a solid enterprise IT transformation strategy aimed at ensuring the successful deployment of next-gen network technologies. To maximize potential benefits, enterprises should incorporate these practices to transform their IT workflows in three key areas:
Increase the realism of pre-deployment validation: Networks must be tested end-to-end with a combination of performance validation, network emulation, and impairment solutions so real-world conditions can be recreated in controlled testbed environments – before going live. Such realism helps uncover problems during the pre-deployment stage when they may be fixed quickly with minimal costs. In addition, test realism allows SLAs to be carefully evaluated to ensure they are achievable, reducing post-deployment penalties and improving end-user satisfaction.
Emulate realistic attacks to pinpoint security vulnerabilities: Relying on vendor security claims alone can leave openings in security defenses. Too often, these claims are based on performance in isolated, ideal conditions. By proactively emulating attacks based on known threats and evaluating the entire end-to-end network, security weaknesses can be detected before deployment, reducing the risk of expensive exploitations in the live network.
Automate testbeds and implement DevOps best practices: The addition of enhanced realism for performance and security, testing should be complemented with increased testing efficiencies to ensure new practices don’t slow down innovation or increase costs. By automating all aspects of connecting and configuring testbeds, Enterprise IT teams can accelerate testing and more effectively share testbed resources, reducing equipment costs and energy usage, and empowering DevOps collaboration.
Increasing the realism of pre-deployment validation
When it comes to 5G, SD-WAN, Wi-Fi-6 and new Ethernet technologies, the road ahead is clear for Enterprises with a validation strategy based on realism and automation. For these Enterprises, the route is paved with many benefits from better performance and user experiences to a decisive drop in security risks. Automation-based workflows will also foster cost, productivity and energy efficiencies, with accelerated speed to market.
To learn more about how to ensure your new network technology will perform, download our solutions brief.