OPNET and Ixia Solution Improves Network Application with Network Visibility


 OPNET and Ixia Solution Improves Network Application with Network Visibility

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Networked applications, such as electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR), are vital for Cook Children’s to provide outstanding service to its patients and physicians. As its network grew in complexity, with data coming in from various wireless medical devices and wearables, as well as remote hosted applications, issues surfaced. The organization’s network manager identified a range of issues that included slow user experience, network monitoring challenges, and an inability to proactively identify application performance concerns.

Cook Children’s Healthcare System

After a careful search of alternatives, Ixia’s Net Tool Optimizer (NTO) was implemented between network access points to enhance network traffic visibility for the APM platform. OPNET AppResponse Xpert was selected to meet the APM requirements.

• APM—The OPNET APM Xpert suite enabled 24x7 application transaction monitoring, packet storage, and network analysis, while providing integrated software add-ons for dependency mapping, SNMP reporting, database monitoring, and pre-deployment application testing.

• Aggregation and Filtering—The Ixia NTO was implemented to aggregate traffic from the multiple 10G SPANs and direct it to the OPNET appliance after filtering out duplicate packets. “The NTO makes it extremely easy and efficient to provide our OPNET AppResponse Xpert all the traffic it needs from anywhere in our data center,” said Ross Jones, Network Manager at Cook Children’s Health. “Removing unneeded duplicate packets was a huge benefit.”


Emerging (technology has been on the market for > 2 years)
Faster troubleshooting – problem isolation reduced from days to hours • Proactively seeing and resolving issues before they become problems. • Complete network traffic visibility for application performance analysis. • Improving efficiency of APM system by removing duplicate packets. • No interference with other department’s network probes thanks to SPAN/Tap sharing.
Before the APM deployment, the networking team would often not be aware of slow response times on the remotely hosted Electronic Medical Records (EMR) application until a physician would call in to complain.Once the problem was identified, it took time to sort out if the root cause of the issue was the application or the network. This issue was resolved by baselining and continuously monitoring WAN network latency. Thresholds were set using OPNET’s alert functionality so that the networking team can be aware of and correct potential issues before users complain. When problems do occur, the mean time to repair (MTTR) is reduced by focused root cause analysis.

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