In today’s hybrid IT environment, troubleshooting issues related to application connectivity is complex and challenging, especially due to the difficulty in isolating the source of the problem in a network. As you manage your cloud applications, it is also important to have visibility into the virtual network connections between your datacenters, remote office sites, and critical workloads. An unified network monitoring experience that gives you network visibility across public and hybrid clouds, and helps in proactive identification and resolution of potential issues is essential for managing today’s networks.

Today, we are announcing the general availability of Network Performance Monitor (NPM), a cloud-aware network monitoring solution in Operations Management Suite Insight & Analytics, that monitors networks for performance degradation and outages. The solution continuously tests for reachability between various points on the network across public clouds, datacenters and user locations, and enables application administrators to quickly identify the specific network segment or device that may be causing the problem.

One customer, TrueSec, Inc., has already seen the power of Azure and Network Performance Monitor together. Using these technologies “has not just helped us monitor the network, but also, detect network links with poor performance,” says Markus Lassfolk, Chief Executive Officer. “NPM has also made it easier for both the admins and networking team to see patterns and get alerts when something abnormal is happening before the users experience the problem and contact us.”

Interactive network monitoring, from any browser

Since the public preview release last year, thousands of customers have used the solution and shared their feedback and suggestions. The following new features and enhancements have been added to the Network Performance Monitor solution to aid in comprehensive monitoring and faster troubleshooting:

  • ICMP based reachability tests: NPM can detect connectivity using Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), in addition to TCP. ICMP-based probing is used in environments with restrictive firewall configurations, that prevent routers, switches, and hosts from responding to TCP based probes. This post provides guidance on selection of the right protocol for your environment.
  • Network State Recorder: Enhancements to NPM, enable the admin to view the state of the network at any point in the past. To investigate a network connectivity incident, that a user may have encountered last Friday night – select the date and time and NPM presents the connectivity, loss, and latency status at that instant.
  • Topology Map: This map presents all the network paths between the endpoints and helps localize a network problem to a particular path. You can drill down into the node links and visualize the hop-by-hop topology of routes. The topology map is now interactive, enabling the filtering of paths by health status (e.g. paths with a high loss), addition/removal of network hops, zoom, and more.

Improved Alert Management: NPM now leverages the alert management capabilities in OMS. Users can now get email-based alerts, in addition to the existing alerts within NPM.  Alerts can also be used to trigger remedial actions via runbooks or integrate with existing service management solutions using webhooks.

Windows desktop support: NPM agents can now run on Windows desktops/client operating systems (Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7), in addition to the previously supported Windows Server OS.

  • Linux support: NPM agents can now test network connectivity from Linux workstations and servers. The following distributions are supported: CentOS Linux 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Debian 8, and SUSE Linux Server 12.
  • Search: Improvements in search, enable quicker drill-down to the specific network and subnets that may be faulty, thereby enabling faster identification and remediation.

These enhancements are available to users today and do not require any manual upgrades of your agents. Learn more by visiting the documentation page, and provide feedback via the User Voice forum. See for yourself and sign-up for a free trial online today!

This post was authored by Ajay Gummadi, Principal Program Manager, Enterprise Cloud Management Team and Abhave Sharma, Program Manager, Enterprise Cloud Management Team.