Optimizing IT and User Experience by Bringing AIOps and DEM to SD-WAN

SD-WAN has emerged as a vital technology for enabling reliable and consistent connectivity, whether between users and the cloud or data center, between branch offices, or even between cloud platforms. Its ability to provide rapid cloud on-ramp, accelerate access to applications, monitor and resolve connectivity issues, and maintain optimal user experience has played a vital role in enabling organizations to compete effectively in today’s digital marketplace.

But as connections between networks, users, and devices continue to grow—both in scale and complexity—the ability of many IT teams to effectively monitor and manage them is reaching its limit. AIOps and DEM (digital experience monitoring) are designed to help organizations optimize and improve their SD-WAN business outcomes. Fortinet’s AIOps and DEM (Digital Experience Monitoring) solutions provide NOC teams with the advanced tools to manage and enhance user experience, ensure productivity, and increase business uptime.

Leveraging AIOps and DEM to enhance connectivity and user experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) reduces the time needed to detect and resolve SD-WAN issues that can impact performance, productivity, and user experience which severely impact business outcomes. To address this challenge, organizations are increasingly turning to AIOps. According to Gartner, 40% of enterprises with SD-WAN deployments will be relying on AI by 2025 to automate Day 2 SD-WAN operations, up from fewer than 5% in 2021. They will also depend on AI to provide predictive maintenance to prevent issues by identifying and addressing them before they fail.

The other side of SD-WAN is user experience. User experience is directly tied to profitability and productivity. And managing user experience can be just as challenging as managing connections, and for many of the same reasons. However, many IT teams simply do not have the time or resources to adequately track and manage it. Because of this, nearly two-thirds of I&O leaders will be relying on DEM by 2026 to monitor and measure application, services, and endpoint performance, enabling them to address challenges before they impact the business.

Benefits of bringing Fortinet’s DEM and AIOps solutions to SD-WAN 

Adding DEM and AIOps to SD-WAN benefits both the business and IT sides of an organization. Improved user experience increases productivity directly impacting business competitiveness and profitability. But those outcomes are only possible because of the impact DEM and AIOps have on the underlying WAN infrastructure and the IT teams that need to support it.

The key advantages of adding these solutions to an SD-WAN deployment include the ability to pinpoint network issues faster, accelerate troubleshooting, and optimize network performance and resiliency to achieve operational efficiency. They also enable IT teams to stay ahead of potential issues in the WAN.

Adding AIOPs to SD-WAN empowers network admins to laser focus on the source of issues, quickly answering questions like, what is causing an outage or issue? How can we address it and ensure it’s avoided in the future? 

Additionally, adding DEM to SD-WAN helps address those critical troubleshooting issues all IT teams wrestle with, like, is the network the problem? Or is it coming from the PC, Wi-Fi, a service provider, or the server the application is hosted on?

What makes Fortinet DEM different? 

Legacy application and network performance monitoring tools lack the holistic, end-to-end visibility necessary to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize today’s user-to-application experience. FortiMonitor, Fortinet’s digital experience monitoring platform, gives IT teams unmatched end-to-end visibility across their entire infrastructure, enabling them to observe and track any application, starting from the end-user (who could be working from anywhere—i.e., off- or on- network), across any network, and even into the infrastructure on which the application is hosted.

FortiMonitor monitors SD-WAN performance metrics such as link bandwidth, packet loss, jitter, and server response time to detect and alert IT teams about potential issues with actionable intelligence. This allows IT teams to realign user-to-application performance to maintain business objectives before the user experience is impacted.

What makes Fortinet AIOps different?

The challenge with adding AI to SD-WAN is that not all AI solutions are the same. The ability of an AI system to identify and address new challenges depends not only on the quality of the AI engine and on how carefully it has been trained, but also on the volume of data it has available from which to make decisions. Essentially, the more visibility, the better the outcomes for AI/ML

FortiAIOps builds upon some of the industry’s most sophisticated AI and ML technology, leveraging solutions across Fortinet’s AI-enabled Security Fabric. Our platform approach provides complete visibility across all of Fortinet’s networking solutions in addition to our security appliances and Fabric-enabled products. Centralized ML algorithms pour through and analyze these data sets, enabling dynamic insights and event correlation for the network operations center (NOC). 

Illustrating the value of DEM and AIOps to SD-WAN 

Fortinet is committed to continuous WAN Edge innovation and exploring new capabilities, features, and functionality to deliver new and emerging use cases to our global customers. Let’s explore some of the new potential ways adding DEM and AIOps to SD-WAN can address real-world challenges:

Use Case 1 (DEM): Optimizing employee digital experience over SD-WAN connections

Problem: For many organizations, Zoom is a business-critical application. SD-WAN connections that experience excessive jitter or packet loss can degrade Zoom performance and impact employee productivity. If this occurs, employees will be dissatisfied, and productivity and business outcomes will suffer.

Solution: By continuously monitoring multiple SD-WAN connections and testing Zoom application performance, DEM can proactively identify the best-performing SD-WAN connection. IT teams can then reroute Zoom traffic through that connection to optimize employee digital experience.

Use Case 2 (AIOps): Correlating and optimizing LAN to WAN experience

Problem: Maintaining performance is critical for ensuring a consistent user experience for users connected over a WAN. In this use case, while SLA data monitored by AIOps looks healthy, performance metrics for specific users being monitored are trending towards a potential issue.

Solution: AIOps determines that the SD-WAN performance and SLA settings are not the issue in this case (despite them manifesting to users as an issue with their cloud-based toolset). In this case SD-WAN is proved to be healthy, instead, AIOps determines that proactive LAN remediation is necessary and provides recommendations. This enables IT teams to address user issues before an application complaint is registered.

Adding AIOps and DEM creates a network capable of proactively identifying and addressing issues before users and systems are impacted. By automatically monitoring and optimizing user experience, troubleshooting performance issues, and reducing the risk of downtime, organizations can effectively maintain issues like productivity and user experience that are essential for effectively competing in today’s rapidly evolving digital marketplace.

Take a security-driven networking approach to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Fortinet Secure SD-WAN.

Sourced from Fortinet