Using the Cloud for Networking Analytics

A few weeks ago, a Silicon Valley startup called Nyansa launched the first cloud-based enterprise network analytics tool, which may sound like a mouthful of buzzwords, but hang on. This product has the potential to push networking analytics forward, and so it’s worth taking a look at this tool and how it might impact enterprise networking in the future.

The Voyance compiles wireless and wired network data and analyzes it via the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud. To make things easier for IT managers, network information is presented on a dashboard, and critically, the information is intended to be actionable. An example incident report from the Nyansa website is shown below, with an emphasis on specificity in the information. It may be difficult to tell from the UI, but having this amount of information on a single screen is not on par for the course for IT managers. (Usually, such information would be spread across multiple applications.)

Incident Summary Voyance - Using the Cloud for Networking Analytics
Incident Summary Voyance – Using the Cloud for Networking Analytics

Another important part of Voyance is that it gathers metrics for the entire “network-application stack”, which means from the physical layer of the network to the application layer. It is difficult to pull together that many details of network operations, but Voyance aims to give that a good shot. At the same time, Voyance has tabs that shows a more general overview of network performance, as in the screenshot below. In this way, the product could be useful not just for mid-level IT managers, but potentially for executives as well.

Reporting Overview Voyance - Using the Cloud for Networking Analytics
Reporting Overview Voyance – Using the Cloud for Networking Analytics

Nyansa has big plans for its software, and some analysts agree that the cloud is needed to host analysis of large-scale networking systems. If not for robust cloud analysis, additional network infrastructure would have to be built in-house; this is an option for current Voyance users, but would require a lot of work to make happen. One of the few downsides with switching to a cloud-based analytics system is the privacy of companies’ data. Nyansa hopes to solve this by only allowing metadata to migrate to the cloud, as opposed to all corporate user data. (For example, employee web browser history is not recorded by Nyansa.)

Although this may be the first cloud-based analytics tool that is specific to enterprise-level networking, other companies such as IBM and HPE do have cloud-based analytical tools. IBM, for example, has an entire page dedicated to its cloud-based business analytics products that are designed for enterprises. And I would be remiss to not mention Veriflow, another recent startup whose cloud-based solutions apply formal mathematical verification to enterprise computer networks. While the mathematics is probably way too complex for anyone reading (or writing) this article, their intent is to prevent network breaches and outages.

Still, for Nyansa, the opportunity is there to create a new solution for enterprise IT companies. According to Abe Ankumah, Nyansa’s Co-founder and CEO: “Companies must be able to make informed decisions about the quality of the user experience and understand the actual impact of infrastructure changes they are making based on real, objective data. The rush of emerging IoT devices into the enterprise only compounds this. With Voyance, Nyansa now makes this possible.”