Keysight Technologies

Keysight delivers advanced design and validation solutions that help accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world - including network performance optimisation and visibility in enterprise, public sector, service provider and cloud environments.

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Removing the Fear Factor from Mission Critical Network Change

Removing the Fear Factor from Mission Critical Network Change

Credit: Keysight Technologies

With change come risk and liability. If only there was a way to be sure everything would just work. There is. Here’s Keysight Technologies’ Peter Bahas on when to bring in your Network Test partner, and why.

The go-live date is locked in, and the end customer asks something like, “What performance tests have you been running to ensure that this will work? Let’s set a date so you can present the test reports.”

This request can catch integrators and technology partners on the back foot. All too often, network performance testing isn’t scoped into the budget from the beginning of the project.

Customers may not specify testing in an RFP or tender, but they typically expect validation testing as a given, sensible step in the project delivery process. It's difficult to argue with that expectation, considering the mission critical nature of today’s reliance on networks, applications, virtual workloads and cyber-security performance.

Some may opt to rely purely on product data sheets, however real-world networks are as complex as they are diverse, creating uncertainties and scenarios that cannot be sufficiently validated by testing equipment in controlled LAB environments.

Why would you want to risk it? Place your trust in modelling, testing, and validating with real world testing delivered under real world conditions, specifically tailored to your requirements. Prove that it works before going live.

Real World Modelling of Network Change for Peace of Mind

It is possible to validate Network, Applications or Security change across the entire stack – including networking protocols, services, applications, and cybersecurity – to deliver meaningful test results and relevant, actionable insights.

To do so, in advance of the go-live date, you must conduct “real world” testing that replicates your customer’s live network in action. It’s imperative to test with the most realistic application workloads, traffic mixes, dynamic payloads, threats, and attack vectors included.

Whether you are conducting proof of concepts, planning, validating designs, or continuously testing into production, test traffic profiles need to reflect actual use in live networks. The ability to replicate the end user’s network in action means you can ensure performance, functionality, quality of experience (QoE), and security efficacy.  

5 Key Aspects of Network Performance Testing 

1.Network Infrastructure Validation 

Your customers need your help to build differentiated, cost-effective network infrastructures. As you work to update their infrastructure to meet increasing requirements, you can employ data center-focused test regimes using Projected Scale and Device Interoperability, enabling you to validate that change.

This testing will validate transformations from 10G, 40G, 100G, and beyond to 400G+ speeds.

Importance should be placed on generating traffic profiles that replicate the complete suite of physical, data link, and network layers to:

  • Test network performance, scalability, and systems interoperability
  • Validate network functions at any scale or number of simultaneous user activities
  • Ensure conformance to a broad range of industry, enterprise and security standards and performance-benchmark specifications

2. Rigorous, Proven Application and Security Testing

When you are responsible for deployment of converged services, end to end real world application delivery, and ensuring network security platform capability and performance for wired and wireless networks, it is important to undertake scalable, application-focused testing.

This deep and complex level of testing delivers the insights to balance cybersecurity with application performance; optimise VPN and Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption and QoS policies; identify performance issues at projected traffic loads; and identify interoperability issues.

It ensures System Integrators, Enterprises, Defence networks and Data Centre operators validate all aspects of Network and Security Services being rolled out.

3. Cloud Applications Migration Testing  

You’ll also need to delve into the virtual layer, to test and validate virtual workloads. When assisting customers to migrate workloads to the cloud, testing will allow you to ensure the resulting performance is the same as, or better than traditional network performance. 

Virtualised traffic modelling solutions mimic real traffic situations for customer specific applications and network loads. This kind of performance and security testing can validate virtual computes as well as public, private and hybrid network elements, to provide the confidence in migrating mission critical data and applications into virtualised workloads.

4. Flexible Test Methods to Validate Networks, Applications and Security

1) Distributed, elastic performance and security testing

Cloud-native, lightweight agents deployed across physical and cloud environments deliver unprecedented insights to accomplish the following:

  • Validate cloud and SD-WAN migration
  • Discover undisclosed third-party infrastructure issues
  • Validate elastic scalability of cloud infrastructures and security architectures

Validate Cloud and SD-WAN migration in half the time and with more fidelity by replicating distributed deployment environments with realistic workloads.

2) Virtualised multi-play application performance testing 

Converged multi-play service emulations provide functional and volumetric performance testing of virtualised assets, including:

  • Servers
  • Firewalls
  • Deep packet inspection (DPI) devices
  • Load balancers
  • Converged network adapters (CNAs)

Use it to ensure quality of experience for real-time, business-critical applications

3) Virtualised application and cyber-security testing

Real-world application and threat attack emulation delivers complete performance and security testing. Use it to validate network security posture and optimise virtual or physical network security devices in private or public cloud environments. 

5. Use Real-World Attacks to Test Cyber-Security Readiness 

By simulating real-world, legitimate cyber-attack traffic, distributed denial of service (DDoS), exploits, malware, fuzzing and evasion techniques, you will be able to:

  • Validate an organisation’s security infrastructure
  • Reduce the risk of network degradation
  • Increase attack readiness.

Keysight can provide the tools to deliver this rigorous cyber testing via onsite tools, in the cloud and from the Dark WEB. 

Stand out with Testing and Validation

The key is to build network performance, application and security testing into your schedule and your budget from the outset. Even better, highlight it as you respond to the RFP or Tender to differentiate your business from others who consider it an afterthought.

Unless you’ve proven it will work, then there’s always the risk that it won’t.

Peter Bahas is a Technical Services Manager from the Network Applications and Security team at Keysight Technologies. Keysight delivers advanced design and validation solutions that help accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world - including network performance optimisation and visibility in enterprise, public sector, service provider and cloud environments. Visit www.keysight.com or CONTACT US for more info.

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