Finger pointing? These products get IT off the hook

Network performance and security monitoring tools pinpoint trouble spots.


When communications problems crop up, network pros use performance management and network troubleshooting tools get to the root of the issue.

When communications problems crop up, how do you clear your name - er, get to the root of the problem?

Jason Irby relies on Riverbed’s Cascade network performance management gear for network and application visibility.

“In the heat of battle the Cascade server is always my first (and usually only needed) resource to gain visibility into the network at a conversation level.  In nearly every situation, the Cascade has enabled us to resolve network or application problems in less time than it took to submit a help ticket,” says Irby, a network administrator at Pacific Dental Services in Irvine, Calif.

Irby is among the IT pros who wrote in to tell Network World about their favorite enterprise IT products. (See the full recap of IT pros’ favorite products here)

Cascade provides near real-time reporting, network analysis and troubleshooting, and it enables the IT team at Pacific Dental Services to monitor end-to-end application performance throughout its 242 sites.

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“Now when someone tells me they think we ‘might have a network problem,’ I just smile and kindly remind them that if we did indeed have a network problem, I would already know about it,” Irby says.

Likewise, Ryan Laus, network manager at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., keeps tabs on network usage and security conditions using Lancope StealthWatch for flow-based anomaly detection and network performance monitoring.

“StealthWatch detects and alerts us to various types of network anomalies and security events. We can then drill down into the specific alarm to determine if the event is non-trivial or requires more investigation,” Laus says.

The university also uses StealthWatch for bandwidth capacity planning. “In addition, we have also used StealthWatch to vindicate the network team from the ever popular phrase ‘It’s the network!’” Laus says.

A favorite tool of Niall McCormack is Netfort Technologies’ LANGuardian, which he uses to analyze and troubleshoot network traffic – and stay a step ahead of potentially disruptive issues.

“We have solved many networking and security issues effectively and efficiently with the assistance of LANGuardian,” says McCormack, who is network administrator at Ireland’s Westmeath County Council. “More importantly LANGuardian has the ability to alerts us to potential problems as they arise and we can address them prior to the issues causing problems to our users.”

Darren Rosenfield is also a fan of Netfort’s LANGuardian, which he says has “proved invaluable in monitoring our network.” As the IT operations manager for Colliers International in London, Rosenfield says it’s “one of the easiest monitoring tools I have used.”

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