Managed services have become such a standard approach to reliable and consistent IT solutions that companies as large as Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Minnesota are now using SaaS (Software as a Service) to accomplish the core competency of claims processing. There is more to managed services, however, than meets the eye. A comprehensive approach to providing IT services from a remote location will include technological feats that most businesses are not well positioned to do for themselves. These advanced uses of managed services include deep packet analysis and netflow analysis.
Deep packet analysis is a technique that allows for extensive monitoring of data that is flowing into or out of a system. Also known as packet stream monitoring, this technique helps managed services personnel to monitor critical areas of the network so that they can be sure that services are delivered without issue or incident. Deep packet analysis, however, can be quite expensive to perform, and storing the data that is generated adds even more to the cost of this IT solution.
Managed services staff therefore also use netflow analysis to help them understand how the systems under their purview are performing. By one industry estimate, netflow processes are used to locate and solve about nine-tenths of all problems, while deep packet analysis is needed for the remainder. Netflow programs allow their user to get the ‘big picture’ of how remote sites are performing, allowing managed services staff to take a broad view of those systems in operation.