ENA SurePath: Tracing a path across your network and beyond

Park Place Professional Services

Stuart Hill March 19, 2020

How can I ensure exceptional service delivery as applications move into the cloud?

Ever greater numbers of applications and services are moving beyond local installations and into cloud-hosted environments. It is estimated that 33% of enterprise workloads were running on a public hosted cloud service in 2019, with that figure jumping to 46% for private cloud; just 21% of enterprise workload was hosted locally.[1] Further, 89% of companies now deliver their applications via software-as-a-service (SaaS).[2] As a result of their huge uptake amongst employees, customers and clients, these digital applications have a huge influence on the productivity and success of businesses. This means, however, that the overwhelming majority of services upon which a business relies are now beyond the traditional reach of that business’ network monitoring and troubleshooting abilities.

It is becoming increasingly vital, therefore, that network managers can keep tabs on application and service performance beyond the edge of their own network. From a network management perspective, the main issues arising from this migration to cloud can be narrowed down to three principle areas, all of which are essential to the process of maintaining agreed customer service levels:

  • Maintain visibility of applications and services over other networks.
  • Guarantee rapid troubleshooting when issues arise.
  • Ensure traffic routes where you expect it to.

With the release of Entuity Network Analytics (ENA) v18’s enhanced SurePath, network managers can now address the above issues quickly and from a single screen. Introducing rapid monitoring of application paths and their components, SurePath bridges the gap between application management and network management. Network management teams can now quickly identify where a problem is and keep critical connections resilient.

The next part in this series goes over discovering, tracing and visualizing paths, and the third identifies which parts of the path are within and without your local network. In later blogs, we will discuss how you can ensure that traffic routes where you expect it to, and explore how you can find path issues using ENA v18’s new Geographical Map functionality, if you have SurePath set up in multiple locations.

First of all, let’s take a look at the basics of how SurePath works in ENA v18.

SurePath agents

Catering for the preferences of both the Machines and Neo, ENA v18 SurePath delivers agent-based and agentless application path tracing. This new release expands on and improves the existing agentless ENA v17 SurePath technology. By tracing all nodes (hops) between a source and its destination, SurePath traces a path from A to B and exposes details for both layer 2 and layer 3. You can use agent-based SurePath if you want to track paths beyond your network firewalls and across the cloud. Agentless SurePath is useful for paths within your own network (though you can use agent-based SurePath within your network as well).

Agent-based SurePath uses proprietary enhanced tcptraceroute technology to create a tcp connection to the endpoint destination. It sends packets over that connection, whether the endpoint is in your network or beyond, to closely mimic the behavior of applications and therefore the user experience. Agentless SurePath uses SNMP ping to poll the end destination for a specified pair of devices. Accordingly, it can only work within the boundaries of your own network.

In Part 2, we consider how SurePath visualizes your network paths.

About the Author

Stuart Hill, Technical Writer