• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

IT Guru

Jan 28, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

The Reviewmeister tests Version 9.0 of IT Guru

The Reviewmeister has always wanted his own personal guru. So far, the closest we’ve gotten is testing out Version 9.0 of IT Guru, a solid tool for network analysis.

IT Guru’s data analysis begins with packet capture. The Application Characterization Environment (ACE) module includes a capture agent that can be installed on various machines throughout the network. The ACE module also can import packet traces from network analyzers, such as Network Associates’ Sniffer series.

After visually inspecting traffic, ACE takes the raw data and filters it by various criteria. This is where the performance analysis begins. The ability to view network and application performance side-by-side in a graphical format is a nice feature, which makes it easy to determine the location of performance issues and delays.

The AppDoctor module offers spreadsheet-like diagnostic and statistic windows that help determine if delays are occurring in the application or network. AppDoctor analyzes different parameters, including average packet size, retransmissions, the number of no acknowledgements, and errors. Any out-of-range values are highlighted in yellow by default. Although you can set the out-of range thresholds, we found the default settings adequate for most diagnoses. AppDoctor gives basic explanations of the delay types it identifies and offers possible solutions. While far from comprehensive, we found the information useful.

Advanced controls in the Quick Predict module let you introduce variables that can help predict the effect of changes on the network. These variables include changing the bandwidth, latency, packet loss, link optimization, payload/packet size and TCP window size.

While a comprehensive network analysis was beyond the scope of this review, we modeled various changes within the network to see how it would affect our bandwidth. When we decreased bandwidth or increased latency, we could see that our throughput was significantly throttled back. This what-if analysis is especially helpful in tweaking the performance of multimedia applications and networks to assure smooth streaming video or audio.

IT Guru’s Web-based reports mirror the reports of the package itself. The Web-based reports were easy to browse through and sometimes presented data with more clarity than the IT Guru graphical user interface. Help is available on several charts in the Web reports, such as the Application Message chart and the Network Packet Analysis, but is not available with any of the AppDoctor reports.

IT Guru’s installation was straightforward and took less than 15 minutes. The documentation is on CD and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, but the helpful, documentation installer offers to install Acrobat Reader if it isn’t already on the system. Taking up nearly 50M bytes, the documentation is well laid out, easy to use and includes a large number of examples and tutorials. There is no printed version available – something we felt should be offered in a product this comprehensive.

 The costs for typical installations of IT Guru range from $40,000 up to $100,000, based on the number of modules and customization purchased.

For the full report, go to