• United States
Senior Editor

Network General aids medical center’s network ills

Apr 20, 20062 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Network General helps children's medical center view past network performance

When it came time to fix a few ailments in the Children’s National Medical Center’s network, the IT team turned to Network General for a cure.

The Washington, D.C.-based CNMC needed a way to go back in time to analyze its network data and hopefully prevent future issues by optimizing its network infrastructure. Having been Network General Sniffer Portable customers, Manager of Technical Services Michael Spraggins and Juaquin Jessup, a senior network engineer, turned to the vendor to get tools in place that would give them a retrospective perspective on performance.

The predominantly Cisco network supports some 4,000 end users, two data centers, and 18 remote outpatient clinics via a metropolitan frame relay connection. The two staffers are responsible for a majority of the network activity and say they needed some help in real-time but also to track back through network data. The organization chose to deploy Network General’s Sniffer Infinistream product to help them collect historical data and spot problems that they may have been unaware of.

“It’s only the two of us for quite a few users,” says Jessup. “We have to be constantly shifting gears so we need products that include a lot of functionality but aren’t difficult to use.”

Spraggins says the company installed four Infinistream server appliances, one at the primary data center in Silver Springs, Md., and three at the main hospital facility where most of the users are. One is installed in the core at the hospital and the other two are located near the distribution switches. Jessup uses a client-side application to search the captured data and view reports. He says the data shows him if they have incorrect subnet masks or asymmetric configurations as well as alerts them to viruses or other threats before they impact the network or its end users.

“The client side mines the data based on any filters you set up. We have been able to spot things before they become a problem,” he says. “I know there is still so much out there that we have yet to tap into, but considering the terabytes of storage we have plenty of breathing room.”