NetQoS updates network performance dashboard

Updated interfaces and customizable page views spruce up NetQoS reporting dashboard

NetQoS this week is expected to make available an enhanced version of its suite of network traffic analysis, systems monitoring and reporting products. The vendor says the upgrades will help enterprise network managers more easily correlate events and solve performance issues across distributed networks.

The updated suite will debut at Cisco's Networkers show in Cannes, France. Among the retooled components is NetQoS Performance Center Version 3, which adds inbound and outbound integration capabilities using Web services. Now enterprise managers can display any third-party or custom data sources. Performance Data views can also be exported to Web applications.

"We believe while device-specific metrics and fault management are absolutely necessary to manage networks, that the bigger issue is in correlating that information into a picture of performance," says Ben Erwin, product manager for Performance Center at NetQoS. "We also know that customers use more than just our products to gather this data so integration is critical to get a full picture of performance."

NetQoS, which competes with Network General, Network Physics and WildPackets, provides Performance Center free with its suite of products. The software script installs on a server running any one of its three software applications or on a separate dedicated server. The script uses Web services to present data collected by NetQoS products in a Web-based management interface. The product works with NetQoS' ReporterAnalyzer (traffic analysis tool), SuperAgent (end-to-end performance monitoring) and NetVoyant (SNMP device monitoring), and it enables NetQoS customers to aggregate and correlate data from multiple sources into a single Web dashboard.

For Dan Baumgart, Performance Center provides the needed reporting to support his installation of ReporterAnalyzer. The network design specialist at Pittsburgh-based health insurance company Highmark started working with NetQoS and its ReporterAnalyzer technology a little more than a year ago.

The ReporterAnalyzer appliance performs application traffic analysis that gives network managers insight into who is using which applications and when. For Baumgart , the tool immediately explained how a dozen mail servers weren't necessary to speed e-mail traffic across some 50 counties and to sales offices in every state.

"It jumped out at us like a sore thumb. We found that 75% of our traffic was going to the same mail server, but we had more than a dozen. People kept buying mail servers, but it seems no one was migrating users over to them," Baumgart says. "We haven't bought any mail servers in quite some time now."

ReporterAnalyzer uses a data collector that sits near core network routers, a data interpreter that is connected to a hub router, and server reporting software. The collectors passively monitor Cisco’s NetFlow traffic, compress the data and send it to the interpreter, which analyzes the information. The interpreter then sends the data to the server, from which network administrators access traffic and application data via a Web browser.

Baumgart says he intends to upgrade to Performance Center Version 3 as soon as possible and is looking forward to the updated user interface. In this release, NetQoS made the dashboard more intuitive, adding the integration points and faster drill-down capabilities, and included features that enable customers to customize the dashboard with only information relevant to them.

"At times the displays were cumbersome. To get to the information you wanted, you had to go through a lot of pages. What I have seen of the new version, it's not such an issue," he says.

NetQoS Performance Center is available to customers at no additional cost with the purchase of one of the vendor’s other product modules: NetQoS SuperAgent starting at $40,000, NetQoS ReporterAnalyzer starting at $25,000 or NetQoS NetVoyant starting at $25,000.

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