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NetBrain OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetBrain is #6 ranked solution in top Network Troubleshooting tools and #10 ranked solution in top Network Automation tools. PeerSpot users give NetBrain an average rating of 8 out of 10. NetBrain is most commonly compared to SolarWinds NPM: NetBrain vs SolarWinds NPM. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 27% of all views.
What is NetBrain?

Managing today’s networks with yesterday’s manual processes is no longer a viable solution. NetBrain’s network automation platform provides actionable insights into your network to help you make better and faster decisions - particularly when you’re troubleshooting, securing, and making changes to the network.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Network Troubleshooting Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

NetBrain Customers

CompuCon, TD Ameritrade, Move Inc.

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NetBrain Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NetBrain pricing:
"Licensing is based on a per-device basis, which means that it can get very expensive if you have a large number of devices."

NetBrain Reviews

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Senior System Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Some inconsistencies which have improved recently; ability to draw out maps is a big time saver
Pros and Cons
  • "Enables maps to be drawn out."
  • "The IP interface brief isn't consistent."

What is our primary use case?

We were originally using NetBrain for mapping and that was our primary purpose. Since then, I have developed a couple of unique functions inside NetBrain that go out across the network and locate specific pieces of equipment. The parameters for that equipment is a very unique state of interface, a switch port interface, drawing on POE power. The devices I'm looking for are Primex clocks and they continue pulling POE power, but they shut down the interface for data. It creates a down interface state, but a POE up state which is very unusual. I use NetBrain to crawl through the site, particularly where we had a bunch of these installed and were looking for those two conditions. It was a matter of pulling and comparing to get a final result value. That was very helpful. I'm a senior systems engineer and we are customers of NetBrain. 

What is most valuable?

The original case was mapping and the solution enabled us to draw out our maps instead of hand draw the maps with the links and everything else. It's okay on the value, a bit expensive for just maps, but makes it a lot easier to see things visually and take it from there.

What needs improvement?

Creating the parsers and QFs from model to model show that the IP interface brief isn't consistent. From a 6500 to a 3750 to a 9300 Cisco switch models, the show IP interface brief is different. There's extra columns and you have to parse for those. Setting those up is a bit of a challenge on this particular version. From what I've been able to gather, the next version, 8.X, is better at that and has more of those, but my perception is that building the parsers out is a bit of a challenge. I've done it but it's a challenge.

Then there's a similar function again with the POE that didn't have the show power in line command and I had to figure that out. Again, that table comes out in a very unique state and then requires parsing down and pulling that out. It's basically using a CLI scraping which should be simplified and a more intuitive process. I don't know if the newer version does APIs or not and if that would have been any easier or better to manipulate, I have no idea.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far it's been fairly stable for our needs. It's not like it's hammering the network every day to pull data. It's not like we've got a tied into service now for when there's an incident, we can pull it. We've got the service now. API hooks between the two. It took us a while to figure out what we wanted to do and then we finally got the APIs in place, but we're not utilizing that at all. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We initially bought 250 nodes. We added another 120 some nodes so we need to up our license count because we're nowhere near pushing scalability. I mean, we're a decent sized enterprise, but we've got a magnitude of 500 total individual switches and a total of 150, 200 nodes at the time. Scalability hasn't been a problem. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We did find a code bug and reported it and ended up with one of the original developers on the phone with an interpreter because he was Taiwanese, I think, and didn't speak very good English. They took some data and figured out what the problem was, and gave us a patch. The struggle that I have with their tech support is that they don't have American 800 service, it's primary email and they get back to you. It's usually evenings out of West Coast or Asia early in the morning so the timing of some of their responses doesn't always work but It's been okay. Their documentation is pretty good. I was able to go through it and figure out what I needed to do and how to do it. I opened a couple of services when I was trying to do those parsers and build those out.

Because of my programming background, I was able to get through it, and because I've got that mindset I was able to figure out what I needed to get done. When you do need the tech support, it's email and reply back and if you don't specify exactly, or if there was something lost in translation, it's a challenge.

How was the initial setup?

We had the company implement for us, it's part of their professional services. I don't remember if we paid for it or if it was just a part of the package. The polling engine and then the rendering engine, they use a couple of different servers in the back end and it's all Linux-based, and I'm not as strong on Linux or Windows. I'm a network guy. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing is a node-based structure together with a portion of the purchase price. A node is basically an IP address for either a device or a switch stack. We've got some switch stacks that have six or eight switches in them, but because it's all under one IP address, a single management interface was a node. Even though we've got 150 plus nodes, and even though we've got 500 switches, it's because of the way the stacks work. Licensing is on an annual per node basis because the solution is on-prem. Eventually if they push it to the cloud, it will probably switch to a monthly cost. It's more for getting the updates and contacting tech support. 

What other advice do I have?

If someone is fairly good with Linux, they could probably get this up and running themselves. Once it's up and running and you don't have the strange requirements I had, and you just want some basic maps, it'll work. The new version, 8.X, has got other features and tying and capabilities for more advanced things. So they're always improving. They're into a niche market, so it works for their needs. They're coming at it from a mapping perspective and then expanding back into automation since they've got the database and resources.

I have nothing else to compare this to other than hand drawing and we all know how much that sucks, so I would rate this solution a five out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Deborah Gamelin
Vice President at Asset Track for Cloud, LLC
Real User
Top 5
Good monitoring and troubleshoot capabilities, improves overall network traffic visibility
Pros and Cons
  • "This product has good network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities."
  • "Each device needs to be configured to allow NetBrain to poll for the information it needs, which can be very time-consuming for a large network."

What is our primary use case?

We used NetBrain for troubleshooting our network. For example, it would show an example of latency and then identify where in the process there's a breakdown. We could also see the network traffic, network load, and other statistics.

What is most valuable?

This product has good network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities.

What needs improvement?

Each device needs to be configured to allow NetBrain to poll for the information it needs, which can be very time-consuming for a large network.

For how long have I used the solution?

At my previous company, I was in charge of the NetBrain implementation for the past five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

NetBrain is a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In my organization, we had 130,000 network devices that needed to be brought into the solution and mapped. NetBrain can handle the scale but the engineers that manage those devices have to go in and update all of them to allow NetBrain permission to poll them.

It can get a little stressful for everybody when you're trying to roll out new stuff when you've got other issues that have to be addressed with other devices. In some cases, our devices had no automation at all. 

One example is the Cisco 3650. Right now, if you went through the inventory list, you see that we have different versions running. Some are on one version, whereas others are on another version. The problem with upgrading them is that they need to be done overnight because we don't want to disrupt any network traffic during business hours. Consequently, it could take us years to upgrade the versions before we can even get them onto these new tools.

This may be an internal issue but it's a big one when you have a lot of devices. Even if you had 10,000 devices, it's still an issue. You have to consider the compatibility of the device against the tool, and being able to use certain commands to upgrade it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was lengthy because we had 130,000 network devices and one of the first things is that you need to reconfigure each of the devices. We had to set the security such that NetBrain was able to poll each one and gather the information that it needed.

Corporate security was another department but in order to get a complete view of the network, we had to allow NetBrain to poll the firewall. The security team had a major issue with allowing us to configure the devices so that they could communicate with NetBrain.

Essentially, you can't get complete end to end monitoring unless you've got agreement from all of the organizations that manage network components.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is based on a per-device basis, which means that it can get very expensive if you have a large number of devices.

We had a problem with NetBrain because we were re-using licenses after a device was retired, and they didn't like that. They wanted to charge us on a per-device basis, where licenses could not be reused. Ultimately, we had to make a decision on what the highest priority devices were because otherwise, it was far too expensive.

Of our 130,000 devices, approximately 30,000 are Wi-Fi and you don't necessarily want them on NetBrain. However, for the remaining 100,000, we wanted to make sure they were covered. The devices included large pieces of equipment such as load-balancers and firewalls. Load-balancers, in particular, are one of the highest priorities.

What other advice do I have?

This tool is exactly what we wanted and needed. The only problem is that it was taking forever, internally, to roll it out because of all of the different constraints and dependencies that you have.

My advice for anybody who is implementing NetBrain is to have a dedicated project manager and, if possible, a dedicated engineer or a few engineers to work on that project. With the setup alone, if you don't set up the hierarchy correctly, you're going to have to go back and change it. You really have to put thought into how you want to build your devices in NetBrain.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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