Troubleshoot Slow Applications
[ Map + App ]

In most IT departments, rarely is a sole individual in charge of application performance. Network Managers, Database Managers, Server Managers, and even Application Programmers are typically held collectively accountable. But it's the Network managers who are often left holding the ball after the other teams have performed their analysis. That's because it can take days to track down whether a network problem is impacting application performance.

NetBrain's 'Map+App' troubleshooting methodology can help you troubleshoot slow applications effectively through automation. You can instantly create a dynamic network map to identify the segment of the network responsible for forwarding the application traffic. Then, you can drill down with apps to automatically diagnose the network's performance, find routing changes, or identify configuration discrepancies.

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Build a Map

To visualize the application flow across the network

Suppose a poorly performing application traverses the network across three data centers. To troubleshoot the issue, a single diagram with the relevant devices from the three data centers is required, not three separate diagrams with all devices in each data center. In other words, a targeted map is the best troubleshooting asset. With NetBrain, you can enter the source and destination addresses of the application to map the real-time flow.

Layer-3 and Layer-2 Map of an Application Flow

In some cases, the routing of application traffic may be asymmetric (traversing a different return path). To determine whether the application you're troubleshooting is experiencing this kind of asymmetric routing, you can quickly map the reverse flow path to see how traffic flows back from point B to point A:

Asymmetric Routing of Application Traffic Flow

Learn more about dynamic network mapping »

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Run Apps

To analyze application performance & design dependancies

A NetBrain app provides a way for you to collect the performance and configuration data you’re looking for without having to log into a bunch of devices serially and type in a string of show commands. NetBrain has several built-in apps that can automate application performance tests and debug configuration issues. Most importantly, you can easily write your own apps to automate much more. These apps leverage the map as the ‘canvas’ for your targeted data analysis.

Recommended App: Layer-4 Port-Level Analysis

For modern networks, it's not enough to analyze application traffic at the IP level because ACL, QoS or NAT technology can impact the application flow at the port level. For example, a server may be accessible through a web browser (operated at port 80/443), but telnet traffic (at port 23) could be denied. Using the Layer-4 Port-Level Analysis app, you can specify the layer-4 protocol and port number to identify traffic forwarding rules and restrictions specific to the defined port.

This App Will Identify Traffic Forwarding Rules and Restrictions

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Recommended App: Discover Changes in Traffic Flow

A recent configuration or routing change may have inadvertently impacted application performance. Therefore, it’s often a good idea to ask ‘what’s changed?’. This app can help identify changes in topology, by mapping the flow as it looked at a previous point in time.

This App Will Identify Changes in Topology and Routing

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Recommended App: Monitor Network Health

When an application is running slowly, it could be due to congestion on the network, excessive link delay, or faulty hardware. The Monitor Network Health app will perform a continuous SNMP scan of the relevant network to determine device availability, device health, and link performance (delay, errors, and utilization).

This App Will Display Live Device and Interface Performance Data

This app will generate alarms if any threshold is exceeded. So if a device goes down, or a link gets clogged up, you can be alerted that the network is behaving symptomatically. Further, the app will plot this data over time, so you can see if any spikes are leading to intermittent problems.

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Recommended App: NetFlow Analysis

If your devices are configured with NetFlow, you can leverage the NetFlow Analysis app to analyze bandwidth bottlenecks. Drill-down into any interface's bandwidth utilization data to see the relevant NetFlow data, such as source and destination ports and interfaces. You can also identify top-talkers who are hogging the bandwidth and causing the bottleneck.

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Write Your Own Apps

There are dozens of show commands for IOS alone that you may use to troubleshoot a slow application. Rather than issuing these commands one-by-one across each device, you may choose to write an app that will perform that task for you automatically.

Writing an app is almost as easy as typing a show-command. There's no complex syntax or steep learning curve - after just 15 minutes of training you’ll be ready to write your first app. There are three main steps:

Step 1:
Define Variables of Interest

A sample of CLI command data is used to identify variables which indicate fields of interest. For example, an interface diagnosis app may use the 'show interface' IOS command to extract the speed and duplex from each interface.

Step 2:
Define Data Positions on the Map

An app uses the map to display the desired device and interface data. The positions of the data on the map are easily defined during app definition.

Step 3 (optional):
Define Alarm Thresholds

To raise an alarm, users can indicate a threshold condition and associated warning message which is raised if a variable exceeds the threshold.

After you write an app, you can run it directly on the map, as if it was built into the software:

Example Custom App Using ‘Show Interface’ IOS Command to Extract Interface Errors

Learn more about NetBrain Apps »

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Solve virtually any network problem with NetBrain's ' Map + App'

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