Network management rivals Network General and Network Instruments on Monday separately announced significant enhancements to their respective Sniffer and Observer product lines.
Both announcements address the growing acceptance of VoIP in the enterprise. Both also are indicative of the companies' desire to monitor application performance closely to ensure adherence with internal and external SLAs. Finally, the announcements demonstrate a move toward storing large quantities of network data for both real-time and historical performance analysis.
Network General Lays Out New Sniffer Architecture
Network General, formerly Network Associates, unfurled a handful of product releases, part of its new modular Sniffer Enterprise Solution Architecture, comprising various software solutions and appliances for networking monitoring and analysis.
Among components of the architecture is Sniffer Enterprise Visualizer 4.0, the company's Web-based networking monitoring, analysis and reporting tool. Version 4.0 is designed to track internal SLAs through network and application baselines, provide accurate capacity planning through trend reports and provide detailed internal cost allocation and tracking.
"Our customers tell us that today, merely keeping the network and applications up and running is no longer sufficient," said Aswini Chowdoppa, product manager at Network General. "The IT infrastructure must operate at peak performance, and the IT department must function cost-effectively as a business unit. Today, IT department performance is being assessed through adherence to internal and external SLAs. Not meeting these performance objectives can result in business disruption and financial losses."
Additionally, Network General introduced Sniffer MultiSegment Intelligence 4.0, designed to identify performance problems found in multitiered Web-based applications. Collecting data from Sniffer instruments, the solution discovers and analyzes application flows and provides reports based on captured traffic to help administrators resolve application performance issues.
Network General also announced Sniffer Enterprise Administrator 4.0, designed to enhance centralized management, administration, and security of Sniffer resources. With Enterprise Administrator 4.0, administrators can configure hundreds of options on a single Sniffer agent, and then clone them across other agents through the network. It also provides a single console view across multiple Sniffer appliances, enabling single sign-on and administration from one console.
Finally, Network General upgraded its InfiniStream network analysis product to Version 2.5, which provides continuous line-rate stream-to-disk capture of up to 4TB of network data. Combined with Sniffer Decodes and Expert Analysis, InfiniStream provides Retrospective Analysis, historical and real-time analysis of recorded network traffic, including VoIP traffic.
"Analyzing terabytes of data to pinpoint performance issues is like trying to find a needle in a haystack," said Rich van de Groenekan, product-line manager at Network General. "The new solution makes it easy to look back in time to examine volumes of data to observe trends, isolate anomalies, perform deep packet analysis, generate summary reports, and ultimately quickly find the root cause."