Based upon the comments I received on the last NMS Sucks blog, this should the shortest blog ever! In researching various NMS options, one of the best NMS products I tested was the Network Analysis Module 2. I love that hardware! Now I have tested the NAM1 a few years back and truthfully, I just classified it as a distributed packet sniffer for the 6500 which is cool for sure. I do not know about y'all but it is hard for me to drop some nickels and dimes on a product I feel I can build myself with optimized hardware and TCPDump.
Trying to come up with content for the TechWiseTV episode on NMS, I started working with some optimized sniffer NICs to demo how to build out your own distributed sniffer. The problem now is networks have changed and I need more correlation and deeper looks into the network then a packet sniffer offers. The questions I had difficulty answering were:
- Voice Quality Analysis. Not just a rudimentary MOS but a true G.107 measure that I can use in a legal SLA
- What to do about WAAS?? I love WAAS and super highly recommend it, but after it is optimized it is hard to troubleshoot and monitor.
Then I bumped into NAM 2 but, I feel like a sleazy used car salesman talking about the NAM's awesome-ness and then dropping the, "By the way you also need a 6500, press hard the bottom copy is yours" bomb. Then in walks the NAM 2 appliance. My first question to the product team was; "What type of NIC does it have to handle the workload?" How about a two port 10GB Packet Processing Engine optimized with a onboard 2GB buffer, onboard processing/filtering and 10nSec timestamping. That'll work! I took the NAM 2220 and starting trying to break its back in my lab. No such luck! I pumped around 50K flows with a monitoring/response time of 4100Mbps. My Netflow results were smokin' with 525K records per second. Impressive...Most Impressive...
The NAM 2 was the true star of the show. In NMS, many platforms are closed and open ones are pricey. Not so with the NAM. The NAM is an open platform that will work with many NMS software solutions out there today. It accepts input from multiple sources; WAAS Module, SNMP (RMON,hi-cap SMON,ART, DSMON), NDE, etc. I was amazed at the detail I could pull from my network and display it in many different NMS solutions.
Funny how things turn out sometimes. I was looking for a silver bullet in NMS software and it turns out, it was in hardware all along.
Jimmy Ray Purser
Trivia File Transfer Protocol
The oldest business in the United States of America is the cymbal company Zildjian which was founded in Constantinople in 1623.
Jimmy Ray Purser is the technical co-host for Cisco's TechWise and BizWise TV. Jimmy Ray also conducts advanced training for engineers across North America and Europe and regularly speaks at industry conferences such as VON, CeBIT, N+I, and Networkers. As a field engineer, Jimmy Ray experiences networking first hand behind the console or in the rack. He is an active member in the IEEE and the Ethernet Alliance and has designed, installed and tested numerous networks for Fortune 500 companies, the United States military and other institutions worldwide. He holds 3 U.S. patents for Ethernet security algorithms with two others pending and one defensive publication, as well as numerous other vendor certifications in networking and security.
Purser holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University is currently pursuing a master of science degree in electrical engineering.