Instead of simply pumping funds to expand an IT infrastructure, consider optimizing data flow and increasing efficiency, according to one expert.

Whatever state of digitalization an organization is in, the CIO is probably under pressure to drive higher returns on investment from the IT infrastructure.

With a staff strength affected by remote-work and budget constraints weighing heavy on various parts of the organization, the CIO is being looked-to for productivity solutions. What are some of the ways organizations can continue to transform and optimize their network infrastructure for every dollar invested?

According to an expert in network visibility and analytics in Gigamon, one way is to research and implement visibility and analytics fabric applications to reduce traffic to network and security tools, thereby allowing them to increase the efficiency of their tools and realize an increase in ROI.

Simon Lee, Vice President, APJ, Gigamon

Simon Lee, Vice President (Asia Pacific and Japan), Gigamon, said: “With carefully selected technology organizations can actually use this crisis to improve their technology infrastructure and processes. Organisations that have better visibility of all the data on their networks and in the data center, virtual environments and the cloud are well positioned for the future.”

Here are five tips from Lee that can boost network data visibility.

  1. De-duplicate the data centrally
    Duplicate network packets typically represent more than 50% of network traffic: in some cases even as much as 85% or 90% of traffic. There is no need for network tools to sift through and process all these duplicated packets. Although some can perform de-duplication, these operations place a heavy burden on their resources.

    A better way to tackle de-duplication is from a centralized point on the network, and then sharing the clean traffic with all the tools that need to consume it. This can reduce duplicate packets by up to 50%.
  2. Use intelligent application filtering
    As more organizations move to remote-work arrangements with heavy video streaming, application filtering has become more important than ever. An application filtering intelligence app delivers the power to direct specific application flows to only the tools that need to see them. By removing irrelevant or low-risk application traffic such as video streams, antivirus pushes and Windows updates, organizations can increase tool efficiency and effectiveness. Application filtering intelligence can reduce network traffic to system tools by up to 50%.
  3. Add flow mapping to the filtering
    Where application filtering works at the application level, flow mapping does its job at the port level. Part of a flow mapping application allows IT to map the most relevant traffic, such as flows from specific TCP ports, to the specified tools, while filtering out the rest. This process can reduce between 20% and 30% of traffic to network tools.
  4. Use traffic metadata instead of raw packets
    A network flow tool can boost network efficiency. Using network traffic metadata instead of raw packets enables far lower amounts of traffic to be sent to monitoring tools. The best of such tools able to generate full-fidelity, unsampled network flows, to remove resource burdens from routers and switches. This can result in a reduction of 95% in traffic to network performance monitoring tools.
  5. Backward tools compatibility
    When IT upgrades network speed, the tools originally bought to run at 1 or 10 Gbps can be matched to run on 25, 40 or 100 Mbps networks. This can potentially save a lot of money in upgrade costs. This can be achieved via a visibility and analytics fabric that handles speed mismatches between existing tools and network.

Looking to the future, organizations that maintain full network visibility can minimize the need to add new tools capacity when keeping pace new digital transformation initiatives to meet market demand, Lee said.