Cisco Champion and Lead Communications Engineer, Mitch Dickey leverages the Cisco Application Hosting solution to deliver high-performance network monitoring across Loudoun County Public Schools’ large and distributed campus. By deploying NetBeez’ network monitoring as containers on top of the Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series switches, Mitch and his teammates are able to proactively detect network problems and efficiently troubleshoot remote end-user network performance issues without depleting team resources. (Mitch will share his first-hand experience with AppHosting in an upcoming webinar, co-hosted by NetBeez and Cisco.)
High-performance network monitoring across a distributed campus
Loudoun County Public School District (LCPS) is one of the largest and fastest-growing school divisions in the United States. LCPS educates approximately 84,000 students across 100 network locations. For Mitch Dickey, Lead Communications Engineer at Loudoun, and his teammates, managing a large multi-site infrastructure comes with the same types of challenges faced by most distributed organizations. Oftentimes, working on support tickets requires physically driving to the users’ remote site to acquire data needed for root cause analysis. Given the geographic spread of LCPS, troubleshooting network performance issues is a time, resources, and mileage drain for the small network team.
Prior to the NetBeez/Cisco integration, Mitch was monitoring his network using NetBeez hardware appliances connected to the access layer to mimic the end-user experience. When the school district purchased the new Catalyst 9300 Series switch, he was excited to run NetBeez on Cat9K through the use of Docker containers. When the switches were deployed at LCPS, Mitch decided to give NetBeez on Cisco AppHosting a try.
I interviewed Mitch and asked him to share his experience about the Cisco AppHosting solution and NetBeez integration.
Here is Mitch’s perspective:
Q: What’s your network design like and where do you use Cisco Catalyst 9300?
Mitch: Typically each school site is configured as a collapsed core. 9300s are utilized as Access Layer switches and 9500s are used as the core switch for the school site. Currently, a NetBeez agent is deployed in a single stack of 9300s, usually in the site’s MDF.
Q: How would you have solved the problem before Cisco AppHosting?
Mitch: There would have been a lot of onsite troubleshooting. The amount of data that is gathered, from a user’s perspective, from a NetBeez agent is invaluable. We can quickly see wireless and wired statistics from our agents as well as iPerf and internet speed test data. Looking through that information gets a solution or quickly moves us through troubleshooting steps that would have required us to be onsite.
Q: What are the benefits of the Cisco AppHosting NetBeez integration?
Mitch: Leveraging Cisco AppHosting is a nice cost savings in an already cash strapped vertical. We love our physical agents, and still heavily rely on the mobility of them, but being able to take all of the benefits of the agent and putting it into equipment we already have is a game changer. The Cisco AppHosting integration with NetBeez delivers Loudoun County Public Schools, Mitch and his team the following benefits:
- Increased team’s productivity in troubleshooting remote network issues
- Cost savings thanks to reduced on-site travel and support hours required
- Happier students and teachers thanks to a more robust network experience