IP SLA for Performance Monitoring and Management – Part 2

John Smith

In part 1 of this blog, we went over what IP SLA can do in terms of monitoring the performance of the WAN and specific application types such as voice, video, HTTP and other services.  Once you have IP SLA setup, it will provide you with information on WAN performance and degradation as it occurs.  In addition to monitoring, you can actually manage and solve performance issues by following the steps below:

1. Get additional visibility and trending information of the actual traffic
2. Monitor performance of the actual user application, voice and video traffic
3. Control performance issues that are uncovered

You can do all this on Cisco WAN edge devices such as the ISR G2, ASR and even the new Cloud Services Router (CSR). 

The first step is to get additional visibility and trending information.  To do this, you need to setup Flexible NetFlow (FNF) on your Cisco device.  Setting up FNF and using a tool like LiveAction makes this job really easy.  With FNF enabled, you get visibility into all your flows at the WAN edge to help understand the traffic, trending and capacity requirements you have, as seen below. 

The next step is to enable Cisco Medianet and Cisco AVC which does performance monitoring of voice/video traffic and application traffic, respectively.  These technologies really dig into the application level performance of the actual traffic in your networks to diagnose latency, loss, jitter, retransmission as well as other metrics.   For example, the LiveAction report below shows the performance of Office365, showing volume, sessions, retransmission and latency related metrics.

The last step is to use Cisco QoS and NBAR2 to monitor and control the application performance over your WAN.  QoS can be a topic in itself but it will provide the control that you need directly on the devices you already have that you should be doing QoS on.  Start with QoS monitoring policies using NBAR2 based classification which can identify applications like Skype, Bittorrent and a ton of other applications.  After trending, use Cisco recommended QoS policies to control your WAN edge traffic to insure your VoIP, video conferencing and your key collaboration applications like Jabber, Webex, Microsoft Lync or Office365, Gotomeeting and Skype are prioritized and given the correct QoS treatment to work well together over your WAN.

If you’re serious about getting control over your WAN and application performance you should also invest time in the right tools to do all this.  LiveAction definitely will save you time, money and aggravation by streamlining each of these steps for you.   Click here to download a free trial of LiveAction and see for yourself how it can help you and your enterprise.

John Smith