TLDR - check out the Enterprise Strategy Group eBook, End-to-End Networking Visibility and Management.
If you have a single vendor, single cloud homogenous network where everything is documented, you know where every device is, and you know all the possible paths in your network, then you are a networking deity.
Realistically, nobody has a “simple” and fully documented network. Mainly because enterprises grew over time with the organization. New equipment was added as needed or as part of an acquisition. The typical enterprise environment now includes dozens of hardware vendors with devices running a multitude of operating systems, billions of lines of constantly changing configuration code and multiple public clouds. For most of the practitioners we’ve worked with, this means a “simple” task like physically locating a device will take days to weeks. Even the most basic troubleshooting activity can take hours to complete.
It’s impossible to adequately manage or secure what you cannot see. End-to-end visibility is table stakes for mitigating risk when making changes, having visibility over remote workers, and securing the network.
There is general consensus among engineers that increasing network complexity is making visibility the biggest challenge and highest priority for protecting network health. According to a recent Enterprise Strategy Group eBook, End-to-End Networking Visibility and Management, there is a multitude of drivers for increasing network complexity:
Most enterprise IT shops are approaching network visibility manually, creating Visio diagrams or excel spreadsheets to document topology and inventory. At best, these documents are out of date the moment they are published; in actuality, they are often months, even years old. In an era of highly distributed networking and remote work, this approach is unacceptable.
Network visibility is one of the key features of Forward Networks’ network digital twin technology. A large financial services firm that deployed Forward Enterprise discovered that only 25% of its network lab inventory was accurate. Many of the devices they thought were on the network had been decommissioned, and the majority of devices in-service were not documented. This was the most highly monitored portion of their network. As their network leader said, “The depth of what we do not know about our network is far greater than what we do know.”
To learn more, we invite you to read the Enterprise Strategy Group eBook on End-to-End Networking Visibility and Management. To see how your company can gain detailed end-to-end visibility in a single platform, please meet with one of our engineers.