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New and improved network topology experience in Network Watcher and Azure Monitor Network Insights

New and improved network topology experience in Network Watcher and Azure Monitor Network Insights

Azure Network Watcher provides network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities to increase observability and actionable insights. Network Watcher supports four main scenarios: Connectivity Monitoring detects packet loss and latency, built-in health metrics and topology visualization help to locate issues, traffic monitoring tracks network communication pattern, and diagnostics suite enables troubleshooting. 

Efficient management and monitoring of cloud networks is crucial for peak performance, security, and reliability.  The blog explains how the new topology experience can help you manage and monitor your cloud network infrastructure with enhanced visualization, simplified monitoring, valuable insights and contextual issue localization capabilities.   

 

What is network topology and why is it important? 

Topology has been a much used and appreciated feature of Network Watcher and Azure Monitor Network Insights. This upgrade empowers users to create a unified, and interconnected representation of network deployment across subscriptions, regions, and resource groups, including networking resources, Virtual Machines (VMs) and Virtual Machine Scale Sets (VMSS), along with insights into connectivity and traffic. 

Topology helps users understand resource allocation, system context, and enables faster problem solving. Topology becomes a valuable resource for network administrators to understand large scale network architecture for inventory management and easy troubleshooting. It also aids application administrators and DevOps engineers in understanding the application's network structure and the interconnections among its components and resources. 

 

What's new in the network topology experience? 

The following table compares the extra capabilities from traditional to the updated topology experience. 

Capability 

Classic Topology 

New Topology 

Available at  

Network Watcher 

Network Watcher 

Network Insights 

Virtual Networks 

Available by default 

Yes, no configuration needed 

Yes, no configuration needed 

Cross region support 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Cross subscription support 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Cross resource group support 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Resource Coverage 

Limited resources on-boarded (VMs, Virtual Networks, Subnets, Network Interface, Network Security Group) 

 

Comprehensive resource support for Azure Networking resources and VMs and VMSS. See the full list. 

 

 Resource health and metrics   

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Resource cross- connectedness 

Yes, with limited information 

Overlayed with extensive connectivity, traffic and resource health metrics and insights. 

Loss, latency and path insights from Network Watcher - Connection Monitor 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Traffic Insights from Network Watcher -Traffic Analytics  

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Troubleshooting capability with network diagnostic tools 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Drill down to smaller scoped views like Virtual Networks, Subnets and resources 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

Contextual search for resources 

:cross_mark_button: 

:white_heavy_check_mark: 

 

How to use the network topology experience? 

With the new topology, you can get deep insights into your environment and explore your resources from different levels, such as regions, virtual networks, subnets, and drill down to in-depth topologies of resources - even complex resources like Azure Virtual Network Manager 

 

When you select a resource in the topology, the resource and all the other resources that are linked to it by edges are highlighted. These edges show the connections between regions/resources, which can be achieved through virtual network peering, virtual network gateways etc. The side pane displays detailed information and properties for the node/resource that you have selected. 

 

Out of box signals, health and resource specific metrics help you identify an affected resource. Comprehensive connectivity insights like packet loss/latency from Connection Monitor and bandwidth usage insights from Traffic Analytics help users see the whole picture of their environment. Diagnostic tools like Packet Capture, Connection Troubleshoot, Next Hop that are placed in context help diagnose an issue without changing a lot of contexts.   

 

What are some use cases for the network topology experience? 

Inventory Management 

  • Manage inventory across multi subscription, region, and resource group. 
  • Support for Azure networking resources along with VM and VMSS. 
  • Visualization support for Azure Virtual Network Manager pre-deploy security configuration available. 

Actionable Insights 

 

  • Monitoring metrics and signals for all supported resources are included. 
  • Loss/latency connectivity insights from Connection Monitor available within the topology. 
  • Bandwidth usage and traffic flow information with Traffic Analytics integration. 

Issue Localization 

  • Integrated diagnostics tools like Packet Capture, Connection Troubleshoot, Next Hop within the visualization context. 
  • Navigating across hierarchy, users start at global view and can drill down until the resource view (this view enables you to picture even the most complex resource configurations). 
  • Locate impacted resources easily using smart in-context search function within the topology. 

How to access the network topology experience? 

You can access the new topology experience by navigating to the following locations on the Azure portal: 

  • Network Watcher: Access the new topology experience by navigating to the topology table of contents (TOC) under Network Watcher on the Azure portal 
  • Azure Monitor Network Insights: The refreshed experience is also available at Network Insights under Azure Monitor.  
  • Virtual networks: This experience can also be accessed at the topology tab on the virtual network overview as well as the diagram TOC. 

We are excited to offer you the new network topology experience and hope it helps you to manage and monitor your cloud network infrastructure. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions to make this feature better. Please let us know what you think and ask any questions in the comments below or on the Azure Feedback Forum.

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