Presently, our use case is general network usage. Also, we employ the use of the ASI extender for specific unique protocols to our company.
I use the NETSCOUT nGeniusONE product with the ATA plugin.
Download the NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022
NETSCOUT nGeniusONE was previously known as NETSCOUT nGenius, nGeniusONE.
Presently, our use case is general network usage. Also, we employ the use of the ASI extender for specific unique protocols to our company.
I use the NETSCOUT nGeniusONE product with the ATA plugin.
We use it every day for triaging of events. We can eliminate whether or not the network was at fault within a matter of minutes. Because the network team always gets blamed for slowness or something not working, so we always have that evidence putting that to bed.
The solution provides the right people in our organization with the right information in a single pane of glass view. We can point it based as a service if we want to or specify user access as to who needs it, then they can grab it when they need to.
A lot of times we can see the issue without going to a PCAP, whether there is an error code in the service monitor drill down. For other apps, we do have to go to a PCAP, but we can identify that. Our team has been pretty well-trained in that as to what to look for.
We do have unified communication (UC) application performance enabled. We don't use it a lot. We haven't had a lot of use cases go to it. We do have a dashboard that runs and looks at our overall MOS scores for our phones. We have seen it in a use case where in previous versions we had a situation analysis alert that pointed to some inappropriately configured QoS mappings on a switchboard through a drill down. So, we have used it to isolate certain problems. However, these days with a lot of calls traversing mobile phones and stuff like that, UC has become a little bit of the norm for some expected QoS mismatches.
We use ASI extenders the most, other than just general PCAP retrieval. This allows us to build a service monitor while remaining within the confines of an NDA with a vendor.
The solution provides automatic discovery and mapping of client-server relationships. It is a good way to isolate down if you have a specific link that is not doing well. We haven't run into that. Looking at it, you can see the potential if you had something that you needed to drill down to, such as, a specific link or issue that you might have.
I have another app that we use for traditional universal monitoring, where I have more features in the dashboard than I have in the grid. This is regarding TCP Zero Window. That could stand some additional improvement.
The ability to generate reports and run a report based on a specific host that might be having an issue. Right now, you have to do a drill down in order to find it. Whereas, if that was presented upfront, that would save a lot of time.
In previous versions, we used to have an icon on the dashboard when the situation analysis would present an alert. It would be nice if that would be made available on the dashboard again. Something that could be customizable to only illuminate on certain applications.
The solution transforms packet wire data into real-time data that is ready to act on. It provides stability where we can drill down into it. It gives us a good view. It would be nice if the cache could be a bit more responsive.
I have been using nGeniusONE since it was tooled as a product in 2013. The company has used the nGenius platform since 2007 when NETSCOUT acquired Network General.
For the most part, it's relatively stable. However, there are some times where it seems like it runs a little slow and you have to reset things to get it back going again. My other comment is on NetFlow is a lot of times in order to pick up new devices, I have to do a restart on the respective NetFlow collecting server.
I do the deployment and maintenance of this solution.
The scalability is a good thing.
I have about 50 users who are technicians.
Their technical support does a pretty good job. If I open a ticket, I usually get a response relatively quickly. Sometimes, my problems are rather complex, but they do continue to stay on top of things and follow up as things go.
Reach out to the teams and make sure you let them know specifically what you're looking for. My sales team has pretty much just told me, "I'm not going to sell you anything that I don't think you need. So, make sure you're upfront with what your objective is that you need to achieve."
A lot of things that I've picked up are when I've attended the annual ENGAGE processes or ENGAGE seminars. I've been to several of them. While some of them are kind of intuitive, generally some good webinars would be fantastic. I think there's one coming up next month on something. Getting down to the bare bones would be good. There is stuff posted, but it is more of your sales engineer kind of showing you around.
When I was first hired on, we had one InfiniStream. We've had those ever since.
We stood up the server probably within a couple of hours.
We started out as in InfiniStreams, and it was mainly for pulling PCAPs. Then, through the acquisitions, migration, and enhancements to the product, it's evolved into a totally integrated single platform that integrates InfiniStreams and NetFlow collectors, and now ATA.
If I had to start all over again from scratch, it would take some time to do the initial setup. In regards to the dependencies that are needed if you're building a server from scratch, specifically if you're building a NETSCOUT server, then you're going to have to put in a lot of packages that have nothing to do with the system. Like case in point, ABRT is a package that's required, but it's a Red Hat automatic bug reporting tool, which isn't necessary for the operation of the product. It should simply come out with just the basic package requirements, and that's all that's required. It should not enforce it on an install.
This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. We have used it to monitor when we are doing troubleshooting steps and looking for spikes.
Back in 2007, when we got the initial nGenius system, we did have NETSCOUT pro service come over and give me some pointers on specific configurations on InfiniStreams and some service building. Then, it did taper off for a while because NETSCOUT didn't offer it, and I pretty much learned a lot of it on my own.
Our experience with their consultant was very good. He was very helpful and definitely would give his input. He would explain certain things, "This is what this is for. This is what you should do to create a better view."
We have seen ROI. We've saved a lot of time in triaging. We have found root cause identities on packet captures and have been able to feed that information back to a specific vendor, because a lot of our technology is emerging. So, we're able to give that feedback to our vendors and have them solve the problems that they need to fix, and they have the evidence to do so.
We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK). It does depend on the use case. If we're looking for something that is slowing our network down, we usually will find our top talker within minutes. Our MTTK is probably a little more important for us, because then they know how to remedy it from there.
Make sure you get the low down on your licensing and understand the licensing requirements before making a purchase, especially when it comes to an upgrade. Make sure that it suits your needs before you commit to it. For example, we purchased ATA at version 6.2.1. At that time, the licensing covered everything we need. NETSCOUT comes out with 6.2.2, stating that in order to upgrade, you had to purchase CyberStream licensing. Now that requires some additional funding from both a capital investment and a maintenance cost. That's something that should have been said, "Well, if you want these additional features, you will need to purchase these CyberStreams." Otherwise, we should be allowed to continue on the basic operations as it is now through the newer releases without being stuck.
We did a head-to-head with Network Instruments. We found that their product wasn't as stable as InfiniStream due to the fact that it was using a Windows based operating system, which was a big red flag.
The solution’s ability to transform packet wire data into well-structured, contextual data is not too bad.
The solution increased our application and network uptime. We have used this tool to view where we have inefficiencies, places where there is wasted bandwidth. We have had areas where we have solved certain bandwidth issues by more than 50 percent. Others would be somewhat negligible on a larger pipe, but there are some things that we have resolved rather quickly.
I don't have plans to increase nGeniusONE as of yet, but there may be something in the process. I'm presently running seven back-end servers and, between InfiniStreams and NetFlow collectors, about 20 appliances.
Biggest lesson learnt: Packets don't lie.
I would give the solution an eight out of 10.
We have multiple use cases such as for remote locations, the monitoring of critical applications, and the WAN network. Apart from that, we use it for security alerts, to give us visibility into unknown traffic. I used to do integration with multiple different platforms to monitor critical storage sites for the business.
Those are the key factors so that we can identify what traffic is passing across our remote sites.
If an outage happens, the tool helps us to identify the performance of the specific application and enables us to identify the issue. It helps improve our mean time to repair.
nGeniusONE has also been able to reduce outage time. Whenever there is an outage, it's quickly able to identify it and, without pointing fingers, we can prove that it is not the network environment. It helps us understand there is another reason and helps us move towards other areas for troubleshooting and fixing issues. That's a major factor where the tool is helping in applications that have the most business impact. We're able to diagnose and fix issues at the earliest, while avoiding large outage times and the associated business loss.
The solution transforms packet wire data into real-time data that is ready to act on. That's great for our multiple network services because it provides more insight into aggregation areas, and gives a unified view of the applications. From the application point of view, ultimately we need to discover the applications and configure it and then explore the options. This is a difference between network services and application services, but I'm most involved with network services.
It also definitely provides the right people in our organization with the right information in a single-pane-of-glass view. That's 100 percent true. We have different infrastructures from different vendors. If we had just Cisco, for example, we would only need to focus on the different Cisco tools. But with Bluecoat or Symantec, we need to focus on their tools. Because of TCP/IP, we can measure all the packet data in a single dashboard and we can show it in a single, unified view of all different infrastructures.
Another advantage is the increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. Wherever we have the internet streams running across, we can see the entire site; what is happening and what other things are going on. We get more insight from the usual wired or wireless data.
Using it we also get to root cause quickly. We have massive business transactions happening continuously during the Christmas season. We were able to have increased traffic loads. However, the business transactions were also dependent on our vendors. If a vendor was unable to handle that much traffic load, we were able to prove, with the help of nGenius' reporting module, what number of transactions were crossing the network and which ones the vendor rejected.
We have also seen an increase in application uptime. For one or two applications it's 50 to 60 percent better.
And to some extent it has consolidated tools, however not at the application level. Rather, it has done so at the TCP or packet level. The consolidation has definitely saved us money, on the order of 20 to 30 percent.
In addition, when it comes to visibility across IT silos, the solution helps to bridge the gap between the application folks and the network folks. The network folks have always been siloed within the network infrastructure, and the application folks have also been siloed in the different components. NETSCOUT helps to bring every team into the single pane of glass to identify and isolate who is missing data across the applications or the infrastructure.
It's a consolidated, single tool that talks to multiple platforms. It's not vendor-proprietary; it's independent. Its provides interoperability with different products, whether they are routing products, switching products, wireless, wired, load balancing, or proxy. It works with anything you can name.
It's TCP/IP-based which is helpful for us to interact with any TCP/IP platform and capture the data and provide visibility to the teams.
The solution’s ability to transform packet wire data into well-structured, contextual data,
on a scale of one to 10, is an eight, because it supports that interoperability. There is no dependency on a specific vendor or platform. It interacts with multiple vendors. That's a key factor that other tools are not able to provide. We have other tools within our environment, but this tool helps us to collect the packet data and transform it into a more readable, graphical format. That helps us make a quick decision within any type of project.
I would like to see improvement in the user experience. It's hard to manage it. We need a dedicated, highly-qualified person, compared to similar tools. Obviously, it's in a higher bracket, salary-wise. That's something the NETSCOUT team needs to focus on. It's a completely niche-skill technology, where we need to have the skills to manage, maintain, and deploy it.
When it comes to implementation, if they could provide some templates or some suggestions it would be helpful because this is a complex solution. Perhaps NETSCOUT could offer predefined Professional Services through which they could guide companies. In our scenario, I and my team have complete expertise for most of the things that are involved, and we were able to do it. But for other companies, if NETSCOUT could come up with some templates or some guidelines in Professional Services, it would be great in helping to get the solution deployed.
I have been using NETSCOUT nGeniusONE for more than six years.
The solution is great. It's a solid rock.
From the solution point of view, the licensing and architecture are scalable, but for hardware, when there is physical infrastructure, they probably need to improve on large-scale deployment. They need to focus on how a large number of databases can be effectively managed. And they need to improve the performance of the hardware.
We have between 10 and 15 teams using the solution. Each team's role is NOC support or SOC and, on the business team, there are people doing capacity analysis and people using it for reporting. For deployment and maintenance of the solution there are three or four involved, who are tool administrators.
We're using it fully in our organization. It's covering more than 90 percent. Increased usage depends on the infrastructure visibility. We may look at some expansion, but not immediately.
Their support team, during and since deployment, has been great; a nine out of 10. They stepped up whenever we required them, no matter what. They have provided feedback and support and have helped us.
nGeniusONE is the first solution we have used in this area.
I'm the architect of the complete solution. I ran the entire process from day one. I designed and deployed and have operated it, and it's a little bit complex.
When we started doing the network deployment,the architecture, we needed to understand the enterprise architecture and where the main NETSCOUT deployment needed to capture it. It was not only in a specific area. It was all the applications relying on the packet data. It included on-premises, off-premises, remote sites, and cloud. It was capturing on a large, enterprise-level scale. We had to understand the architecture and then understand the application dependency then design the NETSCOUT solution accordingly.
And, when rolling out everything, since it was not greenfield but brownfield, we needed to figure out the proper maintenance windows to not impact any of the production applications. Then we had to start educating the users how to use it and where to use it. After architecting it and deploying it, a large proportion of the focus was on bringing the users into the picture to make them familiar with the solution.
Deployment can take between six months and one year, in an environment like ours.
NETSCOUT provided some basic training through their portal, but since everything has gone live on the production system, we have also had some engagements with some of the NETSCOUT folks to get some assistance.
We have made on and off use of the NETSCOUT team.
We save a lot of time. Before the solution was deployed, the teams used to spend more than a day on root cause analysis, and now they're spending only a couple of hours, and they're more aware of the next activities.
Licensing is flexible, it's not tied to anything else. We can easily switch up the licensing piece. Pricing is something that our budget team takes care of. Obviously, NETSCOUT is a little bit in the higher range, but it gives you value for money. You get what you pay for.
We did evaluate other solutions but NETSCOUT was better for our infrastructure.
With the visibility of the packet data, we can do whatever we need to do. It might be for the NOC or the SOC, but it helps our operations. We can dive into it and drill down into the information. Also, packet data was just packet data when we were using Wireshark, but when it comes to NetScout it provides business data as well. We can show actual numbers to the business team so they can understand and judge the quality of the network and the quality of the applications. We can show them solid proof with the data.
The automatic discovery and mapping of client-server relationships is a six or seven out of 10. It doesn't discover everything, but with it we do get some automatic discovery with the client-server. It doesn't get 100 percent of the data from the environment.
In terms of the dependency maps for visualizing the current state of the service and application environment, there are some limitations to the discovery maps due to our being a large enterprise. But if I focus on a small, specific area, it's great. It's able to discover the application dependencies and services dependencies, which have been used in that one, specific environment. For smaller areas, it's great, but for the larger portion of the infrastructure, it doesn't help a lot, so I need to break it down into individual areas.
The primary use case is to have the ability to detect issues that a customer would eventually see. It's a more proactive approach for making the customers have a better satisfaction in terms of their usage and performance.
It gives us quicker reaction times and more proactive diagnostics, especially in terms of needing to set up an alarm if a threshold was exceeded.
It gives us a deep package inspection. It provides that sort of visibility. It also has the ability to get the data in real-time.
This solution helps us get to root cause quickly, especially as we dive deep capturing packets.
It is the ability to collect data and analyze it, especially key performance indicators. This is before a customer would call to the service center to complain that they have had bad coverage or a dropped call.
While it is good, the single pane of glass view is too high level. It is better for management or someone doing sanity checks. A lot of times, I need to go deeper into the additional screens to get what I want out of it.
We would like to have increased performance in the future. Eventually, we will need more horsepower.
We would like NETSCOUT to add additional topics to the data that it collects, because big data is important going forward.
It's very stable.
When we first got the tool, there were some performance issues. Eventually, they worked out the issues through various upgrades and server hardware enhancements. That was a plus.
We do have two onsite NETSCOUT engineers, who are excellent. Especially when we encounter an issue, we tell them right away, "We have an issue. Can you fix it?"
We don't have to wait a few days for something to be solved.
The initial setup was a probably a little complex. We had to get things up and running, do field trials, fine tune the performance, then evaluate it under load, and fine tune it again.
We worked closely with NETSCOUT for the deployment.
We have our own IT department who channels the server, infrastructure, and networking. I'm on the engineering side, and we work directly side-by-side with NETSCOUT.
We don't use a third party vendor.
Proactive versus a customer having a bad experience: That is the key point. Because you get a bad experience, and you lose customers. You always want tools to make your customer happy.
The solution gives us a forward looking vision. We develop custom applications on top of the data that we collect. It gives us that ability, which is an advantage.
It's definitely decreased troubleshooting time. We get a direct window into the infrastructure and various probes, especially the ability to capture certain KPIs that we look at. Normally, if we didn't have this tool, we would have to collect them under various vendor boxes. That takes time and experience.
Deep packet inspection is the key point for NETSCOUT versus the other competitive tools that we also use.
Take a look at it. If not, you're losing the opportunity to improve your performance in terms of its customer aspects.
Our primary use case for NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is to monitor what is coming in and out, then distinguish where we have problems in our network.
With the Vprobes, we quickly identified issues on the application servers, which we normally couldn't, where it usually would be a full circle round between our NOC and server people.
This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments.
We have seen a small decrease (10 to 20 percent) in our overall troubleshooting time.
The sessions, where everything is graphically displayed out, which allow people in our NOC to quickly figure things out.
The single pane of glass view makes life simpler.
The dependency mapping provides quicker analysis and quicker resolution. We are able to pinpoint problems quicker online.
I would like more in-depth convergence between all the applications, especially when I look for information through a data mine.
It has a lot of what I like to use, but some features are not there yet. It is sometimes even going down to older protocols still getting used in the world right now.
They need to improve using voice other SIP.
The stability is good, so far. We are probably five nines up.
It is definitely scalable, as long as we do things right.
The technical support has been superb, so far. We have a sales engineer who works directly with us. He has been awesome.
The biggest reason for the switch that we're going through right now is that it is a Solaris box running old C++ code. That definitely needs to be replaced, as that technology is dead. This is more of solidifying a two-vendor solution to make life easier for people working on troubleshooting.
The initial setup was straightforward.
We have definitely seen ROI.
The primary use case is network monitoring for telecoms.
Everybody is using the same tool set. Therefore, we are speaking the same language.
Network faults are easily and quickly identified through dashboards and drill down.
It has versatility to correlate different traffic types and performance management statistics.
The single pane of glass view is very simple and good. For my users, having all the applications in one place is the aim.
We would like more encryption of customer data, because we have a very security conscious company. We have a lot of regulation coming in which requires us to make customer data private.
There is a lot more integration work that needs to be finalized for simpler tool set. The integration of many products into a much simpler single pane of glass is where we want to be.
The stability is good. We haven't had a major failure for years. Apart from the hardware's age, the software is pretty robust.
The current solution is not easy to scale, because it is an appliance-based solution. So, you have to swap everything out.
The technical support is OK. While it is not outstanding, we don't have any complaints.
We did not have another solution previously.
The initial setup is relatively straightforward, as any network integration can be. The complexity comes when you are trying to tune it.
We used a reseller for the deployment. They were very good. We have a good working relationship with them.
We have seen some ROI with the root cause analysis. It is quicker to root cause analysis. We are seeing increased network uptime, because if we're spotting, and if we're getting root cause analysis quicker, then we know what comes up quicker.
From my user community, I am getting the impression that something which use to take days has now gone to hours for troubleshooting.
The primary use case is network management.
We have an older product. We are just now installing the newer product. The older product was primarily used for troubleshooting, which is all I can discuss.
The product hasn't helped the way our organization functions.
Going forward, we will be using this solution for unified communication application performance: voice, video and data.
The most valuable feature is visibility.
In the past, the product has helped us get to root cause quickly.
We would like better end-to-end data flows. This is something that my users always complain about, as they don't know what the data flows are on the network. We have things, like Cisco NetFlow, but all you have is the two endpoints that you have captured from a probe. We would like to know every point along the line.
The stability is very good. We have had no issues.
The scalability is very good. We have had no issues. It has been very scalable.
We have two network operations centers. We support 34 nodes, and those nodes are being remotely monitored.
We have had very good support from the NETSCOUT team.
We deployed in-house.
It is very expensive, but it's well worth the money.
We probably won't use the single pane of glass view.
The primary use case is for network monitoring, event management, packet tracing, and forensics.
We have cut back on our troubleshooting, by isolating certain trouble areas. It has brought visibility to what requires replacement in the future.
We had a situation where a client said the network was the problem, because their reports weren't running from an automated server report. After multiple support groups tried to isolate and troubleshoot the situation, the incident came to us. We were able to isolate it with five minute clicks and determine that it was an access issue.
The visual and graphical interfaces in the display that it provides for us to show our senior leadership. We can show them what is actually happening, instead of a spreadsheet.
I like the single pane of glass view. A single pane of glass view of the network will help us address important needs more quickly based on our alarming.
The dependency mapping is very helpful and resourceful.
I would like to see nGeniusPULSE and AED (Arbor Edge Defense) integrated with the solution.
Some help screens would be nice, especially if we bring on new operators. It would be great to see if they have more helpful tips available.
Between the host analysis and session analysis, there is a limitation of one hour. This can hinder us if a situation occurred ten hours ago. Sometimes, you can't open up that window.
It is reliable.
Scalability is great. I am looking forward to seeing more.
The technical support has been very attentive and responsive to our needs when I have called.
The solution was deployed in-house.
We are starting to see ROI.
We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).
This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time.
The solution has helped us increase our application/network uptime.
Do a proof of concept. Get to know your account manager.
The primary use case is network and application performance management.
We build application dashboards and performance indexes for locations.
This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments, e.g., data migration.
The solution helps us get to root cause quickly by using the Media Monitor to help identify QoS mismatches for voice calls on the network.
We use the solution for unified communication application performance. It helps us with uptime and end user experience. We can proactively detect if there are issues and resolve them before they impact the end user.
The single pane of glass is possibly overrated.
The dependency mapping is good, but I am hopeful that they will build some type of partnership and relationship with ServiceNow. I want to see NETSCOUT partner with ServiceNow so they can leverage Service Now Discovery and Service Mapping to automate the build of the service dependency mappings inside of nGeniusONE.
The user interface needs some updates. There is some complexity to the product. You have to understand where the InfiniStreams are and what physical interfaces are connected where, so when you go into the user interface, you know what data you are collecting and from where.
The stability is okay.
The scalability is difficult. Packet capture and packet broker are hard to do because you ultimately have to build a separate overlay network, so you can capture the packets. The network speeds are constantly increasing, so now you are at 10 gig or 100 gig capabilities, and it's hard to scale.
The initial setup was straightforward, but we did leverage an RSE in the beginning.
We used NETSCOUT directly for the deployment.
We have seen ROI.
The solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time by two to four hours.
The solution has helped increase our application/network uptime by less than two percent.
Understanding what problem you are trying to solve. NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is not a true application performance management product. However, because of the wire data, packet data, its ASI capabilities, and the analytics on the roll up of that ASI data, there is benefit and value there.
We use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites. To some extent, we also use the solution for SaaS applications that are external to the environment to do proactive monitoring.
The primary use case is troubleshooting.
We were able to find working hardware, which we were not able to do it with any other tools.
This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments. E.g., if we have devices which have overloaded or links which have saturated, then this tool tells us exactly what is going on with that link or device. Very few tools do it at this level for things like DDoS.
The solution help you get to root cause quickly.
It provides very low details. I can't get this low of level detail from any other tool, down to the packet level.
They can improve the UI. For example, with all modern tools, they generate a shared URL, like a Slack URL. Somebody clicks and they see the exact same thing as you. With this tool, if you want to tell somebody how to get to your view, you have to give pointer steps.
The single pane of glass is a decent effort, but it is not how things are done these days.
It is not a good monitoring tool. It is more like response tool for us.
We see it overload once in a while. It doesn't have built-in protection. Therefore, once it gets too much data, it tends to crash. Then, we have to recover it.
The scalability becomes very expensive quickly.
The technical support is excellent.
The initial setup was complex. There are a lot of things that you need to configure together. There is not one push button. You have to feed a lot of data into the initial configs before it starts working.
Do your research before you jump in. These type of solutions take a long time to build. Spend a few months doing the research before you jump into it, because once you start and get the project going, it's very hard to roll back or switch off.
We worked directly with NETSCOUT for the deployment.
We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).
This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time.
The license becomes cost prohibitive very quickly.
We always use a mix of different tools, and NETSCOUT is one of them.
One advantage that NETSCOUT has in the market is a very broad range of products. They cover a whole range of 11 products, where other vendors tend to be specialized, with a more narrow field. So, NETSCOUT is a good end-to-end vendor.
The product is efficient, but the learning curve is very steep. Also, the technology feels a bit outdated.
We use this to investigate various network anomalies, application performance issues, and anything that somebody can't seem to solve in our environment.
As the network team, we get engaged when somebody having a problem with an application, and they have run into so many walls that they've come to us. The network team typically manages this from top to bottom, so we use it to troubleshoot.
This solution helps us get to the root cause. Most recently, we had a third-party vendor who was experiencing trouble. They said it was our problem, trying to determine if something was wrong with the SSL connection. They spent some time looking at it, like days or weeks even looking at this. When they came to us, and said “Can you get a packet capture? Can you tell us what is going on?” We were able to identify it in about a minute.
We use this solution for unified communication application performance. It help us with uptime and eases our experience. There are user experiences that we've been able to get to the root cause of very quickly using their tools. We have found QoS mismatch and different anomalies in the QoS configuration. We have used this to troubleshoot and find issues, where we could explain exactly why a client was behaving the way it was. It might not be necessarily security, but technical.
The speed that you can get from the top of a problem all the way down to the packet layer of troubleshooting analysis.
The dependency mapping might be one of the best pieces of the product. We have not leveraged it as fully as we can, but it is an extremely powerful piece.
The product is a little complicated.
It is a very stable product, if it's properly implemented. Anybody who is using the product should probably use Professional Services to implement it properly.
It's very scalable.
Technical support is superior among most of the support centers that I have dealt with.
Our environmental is complicated. So, the initial setup was a bit complex, but it was as simple as it could have been made.
We used NETSCOUT Professional Services years ago.
If the single pane of glass can be effectively implemented, it is very powerful. However, if you're not working with NETSCOUT closely, this is a little difficult. Overall, it is a very good pane of glass to provide customers.
If you are going to do a deployment of this product, you should use NETSCOUT Professional Services or have an expert.
For common issues, we have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).
It has cut the troubleshoot time on many issues. It has cut some problems from days to hours (or less).
It has helped increase our application/network uptime.
It is a little overall pricey and expensive, but you get what you pay for.
We haven't used it as much for IT deployments, but we do use it occasionally after a deployment to troubleshoot when somebody is having problems with their deployment.
I'm looking at their nGenious Visibility-as-a-service to try and leverage product. The struggle that most of people have with it: The product isn't all we do. We're not just looking at NETSCOUT all day. If you have somebody that you can dedicate to NETSCOUT, it would be an incredible investment. However, most companies don't, so I'm looking at their nGenious Visibility-as-a-service because I'm in the position where I know I can get more from the product.
It is a great investment. The product is superior, but it's difficult to manage, keep current, be in front of, and be proactive with it.
The primary use case is to monitor our network.
This solution provide us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment.
When we have any type of outage, and we dig into it, we are able to tell what the root cause is instead of having to go through Wireshark, etc.
Packet decode and bandwidth analysis reports are the two most valuable features.
The product was lacking for awhile when they did the Arbor acquisition. I was waiting to see more security stuff, which they did eventually add, and is now impressive.
The stability is excellent.
The scalability is excellent. The company allows you to add more to what you already have. Not all companies do this.
We have an on staff SE. He is one of the top guys around and excellent to work with. I deal with him all the time.
I wasn't around for the initial setup.
We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).
This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time.
We are looking at Pulseway at the moment.
I'm a big advocate of NETSCOUT. They're always thinking ahead, and that's what I like. I would recommend taking a look at NETSCOUT.
Overall, when we get to the point that we need to, the dependency mapping will be excellent.
We actually like the single pane of glass view. I don't know if we will ever be able to get to it, because of the organization that I work with.
Once we get it implemented correctly, I think the solution will help to increase our application or network uptime. As of right now, that is why I'm pushing for product integration within my organization, which has been difficult.
Detecting network issues which aren't obvious, more than just node alarms.
It benefits us by finding situations in our networks that we don't know exist.
It helps us get to the root cause quickly. It helps us find massive error codes, then we drill down on that error code, knowing that is the source of our problem.
It is on the wire. We see everything: all the packets.
I have a positive impression of the single pane of glass view. The feature is nice. Everything is structured around a drill down, starting with one pane, then drilling down.
It is a good product with a few limitations. It is so complex and takes a bit of training to figure out. We need better training, so we can take this complex solution and implement it more easily.
Change the font size on the grid in nGeniusONE so the names of the grids will all fit on the grid tiles. The font is so large that you can't see the name.
The stability is mostly good. However, we just had an outage.
We haven't scaled much. Talking to other customers, it sounds like it scales well.
The technical support is mostly good. They could improve a bit with quicker responses for early on questions. What I think are simple questions are taking a long time to get answers to.
We wanted visibility that we did not have with our tools at the time. We had an Ericsson type solution, which we added this solution to.
The initial setup was complex. It was hard to know what to tap and how to tap. We are still wrestling with TAPs and light levels, then filtering.
We deployed the solution in-house.
This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time by several days. It has helped increase our application/network uptime.
We have engineers spending less time troubleshooting the network. That has to have some return on investment.
NETSCOUT was sitting on the wire. The other vendors that we looked at were taking flows from network nodes instead of sitting on the wire, and we liked the wire better.
NETSCOUT is a good product, but you need to spend the time training-wise to figure it out and make it useful.
The primary use case is diagnosing real-time communications for all the Voice over IP on our network. We use this solution for unified communication application performance, specifically for performance monitoring, but especially for the troubleshooting.
It has helped with the operations teams, who have been able to collect information and troubleshoot with the application. So, it has been a benefit for the lower tier support.
It has helped identify issues more quickly.
It gives me the MOS, latency, and jitter.
It captures RTP, so I am capable of ingesting and listening to the RTP side of it.
95 percent of the solution helps us get to the root cause quickly.
I would love to have them reassemble fragmented packets. That would be a very big plus in my book.
While it does give me increased visibility while conducting IT deployments, I have experience some limitations with it.
We have jumbo frames, which can get fragmented. They don't bring together everything that I need for me to work right. If I could get an end-to-end, then it would give me a good view of how everything would be in my particular call flow.
We have a lot of timeouts when we are trying to assemble data packets together or trying to pull down a view of one particular call. However, overall, it performs adequately.
I don't directly use their technical support.
Initially, it was a little cumbersome to set up. Once we figured out the nuances of what we wanted, it was fairly simple to set up and set our cards, so we got to things a bit quicker.
Ensure that you get all your DAPS in at the right spots for your data. Learn how to build your cards to have a quick view and quick selection of where you want to troubleshoot.
I believe other departments within our organization use this solution for proactive monitoring of SaaS applications or remote sites.
We use it for a lot of VoLTE monitoring and network monitoring in general. Most of our services are being monitored via NG1.
It gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. For example, once we launched VoLTE, we had other tools in the network that we were using for some other use cases, but in terms of MOS scoring and general monitoring of how the VoLTE calls were doing, we were using the Media Monitor.
We're not really using it to proactively capture outages, like Zero-day outages for example, when there is something completely new. But once we detect an outage, we can then use the tool to understand what it was and create an alarm, and that can be used for future similar outages so we can avoid them in the future.
It also helps us get to root cause quickly. We had an Rx Diameter issue at some point in IMS, and without the product it would have taken us more time to be able to troubleshoot and figure out what was happening. With the product, we were able to use Universal Monitor right away to figure out the actual error code and understand the issue from there.
In terms of unified communication, that's the VoLTE modules and the MOS scores. We used it heavily when we launch VoLTE. Currently, we have monitors set up per region so that we can monitor VoLTE. We also have it per event, so when we know something is happening on a big scale and we really need close-up monitoring, we set it up specifically for that area or region or the particular cells, to monitor that particular event.
The solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time and has helped to increase our network uptime.
The most valuable feature is VoLTE, for sure. The VoLTE modul, call search and Media Monitor were essential when we launched VoLTE. We're relying heavily on them to troubleshoot our VoLTE calls.
There is a lot of the VoLTE, voice, video MOS, and customer experience that we'd like to do. There's a lot of throughput analysis where we're trying to understand, with the vendor, whether it's accurate or we need more work on it. Those are our top priorities.
NG1 has been stable for a while in our environment - at least we have what we needed. But with nBA, there's a lot of room for improvement.
Stability is a tricky question. It is stable, but the way we use it, we have a lot of tweaks and a lot of specific and detailed configurations on the InfiniStream. It's a very manual process to configure it right now. We're also looking into ways to automate that and, hopefully, eliminate the human error.
So it's stable, but once you start doing more and more with it, there is always something happening in the background that we're not sure of, that fails or something happens, and we have to troubleshoot it and understand it.
So far, on the NG1 side, it's been very easy to scale. We just go into InfiniStream if we need to and we can very easily link it to our same NG1.
In terms of actually needing to add new InfiniStream, this has been a challenge because we'd like to reduce costs. However, there are a lot of use cases where we absolutely have to have new hardware, which we don't like, but it is what it is.
Technical support is great. We have a dedicated team. We have two SEs onsite who work with us, plus the support engineer. With those three, we have great support.
I wasn't part of the initial setup, it was set up before my time. But I helped set up the NG1 part and it was fairly straightforward because we have very good SEs on site, plus the support team. Whenever we need something we reach out, and they support us right away.
Get a demo. The guys at NETSCOUT have been super-helpful. Any time we ask for something they simply say, "Let's show it to you." They come onsite, give us a demo, show it to us, and if we like it we deploy it. We also have a sandbox, where we get our real traffic into the product in the early stages. We do all of our testing and all of our new builds in there before rolling to production, and that really helps.
Regarding the single pane of glass view, we have different views because we use different tools for different use cases. We can't really say that we have it in our network yet, but if we can work toward that, it would be good.
We have not used the Dependency Mapping the solution provides because our connections and relationship are way too complex. It's hard to see it on a visual screen.
The solution helps us with network uptime. It helps with user experience to some degree. We still have some caveats that we're trying to work on with NETSCOUT. We're using nBA now for user experience and there's some cool stuff coming up. We're looking forward to it.
I would rate nGenius at eight out of ten, because of the support and all the feedback we get. And at events, we get direct contact with their executive.
We use it for our network capacity performance, for the entire ICM backbone core.
In addition, our company uses the solution for unified communication application performance. While it's not my team, there is another team responsible for capacity performance for video and they are using the same NETSCOUT toolset for wireless, wire line, and video.
I manage the entire building, so I have the responsibility for extending network capacity if we hit a limitation. It gives us the possibility of increasing the capacity wherever it is required. We have over 55,000 employees across Canada, from the Atlantic to Vancouver, so I use the tool on a daily basis to do my analysis.
It helps us get to root cause quickly. When we have a problem or people are reporting latency on their network, my guys are, of course, checking for the dates, specific times, and IP. We can get all the information that we are looking for, in detail. While my guys are not responsible for finding root cause, the solution is quite helpful in finding it.
In addition, it has cut our overall troubleshooting time for my network guys, when there's a real network problem. It has increased our network uptime as well.
The valuable features include
The single pane of glass view is a challenge. I like the graphics, they're easy to understand, but when more digging is required, it's more complicated to get what I'm expecting. Since the challenge for me is the dashboard, I would appreciate having a better view from the dashboard. What I don't know is whether the issue is that our configuration needs work. We probably don't do the mapping and the dependency configuration properly and that may be the reason why my dashboard is not crystal clear.
The solution is pretty stable.
It's also pretty scalable, there is no problem with that. It can be expensive, but if you have a good configuration, based on what you are looking for, it's okay, it's manageable.
The technical support is very good. We are well supported by the team. Even with the PULSE - I am new on this team, I have been here less than a year - they were there all the time, on a regular basis, to provide support on that completely new application for us. We were asking very simple questions and they were always there for us. It's been a great collaboration.
The initial setup would be complex for me, since I don't have that kind of talent, but it was pretty simple for my guys.
On my team, we are doing the implementation. Other teams within the company are using third-parties to do the deployment. But on my side, it's all internal people.
We're losing a thousand per minute when we're down. Being able to know where the problem is more quickly, we're going to save a lot of money.
I'm not a big fan of pushing a particular vendor, but it is a very good product: pretty stable, pretty scalable, with a very good and solid engineering team behind it. They are available and listen to customer needs and are always willing to do more to improve their products. But because I don't like to push a product too much, I prefer that people see and try it to see if they like it, to see if it fits their needs.
The tool itself is just fantastic. We've been using it since 2001 or 2002. We are a big fan of the product.
If we are satisfied with what we have, we don't ask for more. It's always about problem resolution or product improvement. We used to have regular, weekly calls with our NETSCOUT rep and, as soon they had a new product, a new version, new updates, they would share them with us, and we would know if we wanted to go in that direction or not. Today, we are quite happy and satisfied with what we have.
We don't yet use the solution for proactive monitoring of SaaS applications or remote sites. We are working on the deployment of PULSE. I can easily imagine that with that new solution deployed in production, we will be able to do more and more proactively. It's not because it's not available with nGeniusONE, it's just that I have no one to check and be proactive.
We will see a decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair, more and more in the coming months, with PULSE. It's more about a business impact. With PULSE, we will have that "radar view", a view of the network, the server, and the application. So instead of needing 15 resources on a call at 2 AM, and losing 45 minutes just to get everyone there to find out what the is problem, with the PULSE solution, we are going to decrease that MTTR dramatically.
Because nGeniusONE is pretty stable and scalable, I would say it's a good nine out of ten.
We used to use it for application debugging, in particular SMS and MMS, but lately, we've been turning towards using it for OpenStack and cloud-issue debugging.
In a network deployment, it provides us with increased visibility.
From the service assurance perspective, in SMS in particular, they use it very heavily to proactively try to hit issues. There are a lot of times where NETSCOUT will catch something spinning up the SA organization and then, in turn, spinning up the operations organization to go catch and kill it; or it comes over to network development. So it's used fairly extensively.
We use it on the cloud side more from a reactive perspective and it's certainly helped us catch and kill a couple of issues that we wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
It helps us get to root cause quickly. We had an OpenStack Cinder issue, a storage-type issue, and we chased our tails on that for quite some time until we managed to get the data over to a NETSCOUT probe. Then we were able to very rapidly figure out what the heck was going on.
When we can get the data into the tool, we absolutely see a decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair, and similarly for overall troubleshooting time. With that Cinder issue, we spun our wheels for almost two weeks before we managed to get the data over to the tool and, once we did, we solved it fast. So it can be days or weeks of saved time.
In terms of application uptime, it's deployed and leveraged for almost all the applications in our organization: VoLTE, SMS, MMS, etc. So as heavily as the service assurance groups and operations use it, I'd say that they consider it pretty essential at this point.
Among the valuable features, if it's TAP'ed well, are the density of the data that you can get and the relatively high veracity or accuracy rate that we see from it.
In terms of additional features, Bruce Kelly was talking about the NFV and 5G aspects of it, in monitoring all the APIs for all of those functions. We're really looking forward to seeing that so that we can give better visibility into the functioning of the cloud and the orchestrator itself.
There is room for improvement in its stability and by expanding into the cloud and orchestration sphere, which I think is on the roadmap.
The stability is only fair. It goes down a lot.
It scales out fairly widely, horizontally. And with the new virtual one, we'll be doing it a lot wider. So it has good scalability.
Technical support is good. We've got good onsite support and those guys are generally available.
We knew we needed to invest in a new solution because we couldn't fix things.
We see ROI through the ability to fix and to keep the perception that our network is up 100 percent. That is absolutely critical. It keeps the customers coming in.
We also looked at Empirix.
Consider what your applications are for this and purchase your features accordingly.
Regarding the single pane of glass view, we don't think we've really fully deployed it from a cloud perspective, but from a VoLTE perspective, I know they're starting to get on top of it. From an SMS perspective, we found it very useful.
I'll give it an eight out of ten as it stands today. It's very useful, but we do see some stability concerns. There is a lot of maintenance around the probes, and I think there needs to be more development done in the cloud sphere.
We use it mainly for north-south, and soon to be, again, east-west: Troubleshooting, visibility into the VoLTE cloud that we've designed. Initially, it was very small, baby clouds, per se, but now as we redesign and go to scale, so that we have the visibility we need, we need better tools. We have the infrastructure, but we need to take the next step into the virtual lane.
We use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites. We have 29 data centers where these clouds are built and we're moving out to edge and we will have even more.
It has provided us with increased visibility, not during deployment, but downstream, once we actually turn up services, whether it's microservices or a VNF.
During outages, and in terms of visibility into VNF and container behavior across the various versions of our cloud, it has helped our organization.
nGenius also helps us get to root cause quickly. Signaling is one example. We have challenges between applications that share the same baby clouds but that utilize storage differently than the network. We don't have that visibility now in some of our deployments. Our new deployments will have that visibility because we're not using copper for a lot of the east-west traffic in the cloud. We're actually moving to fiber so that we have that visibility. The next step will probably vSTREAM.
In addition, I believe it has cut overall troubleshooting times for the OSS and DevOps teams, and it has increased uptime. I'm not in the operations lane, but I know that is something that we have to have.
The most valuable features are visibility, real-time, on-demand.
I need more details on the vSTREAM and how that scales from a CPU perspective. I know that we can start with one virtual CPU, but at the same time, our clouds are still limited by compute nodes. That's an ongoing question and it's part of why we're here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, to see how we architect that out.
I'd like to see improvement in scalability and the CPU perspective on the actual cloud nodes. It would be good to have a roadmap of what impact to our underlying cloud we will see as we add vSTREAM vCPUs.
We haven't had any problems with stability.
The scalability needs some work. From a probe perspective, we are limited to a certain amount of throughput on the devices themselves. Without having actual hooks into the bare metal hardware for the solutions, it's a bit of a "thumb in the air" as to when we hit our capacity or when our high watermark is. I'm not sure if our operations teams have that capacity under control. So when we have to scale, it's a very large expense.
I'm not aware of whether the initial setup is straightforward or complex. We have a standard template when we build them out.
A lot of it was internal or direct with NETSCOUT.
We've had ongoing RFPs back and forth for multiple years. As far as new solutions for our visibility needs go, as we're right in the middle of our cloud journey from an LTE to NFV to 5G, we're trying to get a grasp. We're always on the cusp, looking for the next set of roadmaps and how we integrate that into our network to provide for our customers.
Our shortlist included the usual culprits: Empirix, Gigamon, all of them in the same build with NETSCOUT. We still have a very vast mix of everything.
We can't ever walk into our builds or our support models blindly. This solution is one of many options, but it's obviously one of the better ones that we've worked with for years, and it's an integral portion of our architecture upfront.
"Single pane of glass" is a very overused cliche in our business for the past couple of years, same with "Agile." I like the idea of being able to stitch it all together. Our operations team definitely insist on it.
I would rate NETSCOUT a seven out of ten. Not to be a detractor, but I don't have the hands-on experience from an operations standpoint, so that's why I rate it a seven.
Troubleshooting is our primary use case for the solution.
We get increased visibility from nGenius while conducting an IT deployment. If the deployment has issues then we can always go back, look at the logs, and figure out what may be happening.
A lot of times people blame the network, and since I'm responsible for the network, people call me. Through troubleshooting using the tool, I verify that it's not our issue, and I also use the tool to help figure out what the issue really is.
It helps us get to root cause quickly. For example, troubleshooting an application issue without the tool would mean we wouldn't have the collection of data to go through to figure out what the problem is. Now that we have X number of hours, maybe even days of data, depending on what we're actually watching, we can look at the data. It's possible that somebody's having an application issue and they come to us figure out what the problem is and we can help them solve their issue a little faster.
We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. It's a little hard to say how much because it depends on what you're troubleshooting, but I would estimate it at 25 percent, or even less, of what it would normally be. And our overall troubleshooting time, in most cases, is down to a day, as opposed to multiple days. Without the data, it's almost impossible to figure out what a problem may have been.
The packet capture is the most valuable feature for us. It gathers data from the device. In case somebody has a problem, I can go back X amount of time - days, hours - and get the data to do real troubleshooting.
In terms of the single pane of glass view, it's good, but trying to set up dashboards is hard to figure out at times, if you don't do it every day. It's not really intuitive to set them all up. Other than that, it's a good dashboard. A lot of people are using it.
If there were a wizard to take us through, step-by-step, creating dashboards and the like, that would be really helpful.
It's very stable. Every once in a great while we'll have to reboot the nGeniusONE server. That may be server-related and not application related.
We haven't really scaled it very much. We're not a really big shop. We've got five InfiniStreams collecting into our nGeniusONE. It's supposed to scale pretty well, but I don't really have much comment on it because we're pretty small as it is.
Technical support is very good.
We didn't have a previous solution at all, other than Wireshark to capture packets when we needed them. We knew we needed something better than that.
The initial setup was a little complex, only because it was the first time we were getting into such a tool. We didn't know much about it. We had to learn while going along. It was complex, but quite doable.
We did it ourselves.
I don't see the numbers, because I'm a technical guy. But I would imagine there probably is a return on investment because we're fixing these applications faster, causing less of an outage. I would say we're actually saving money, or at least not losing as much money when these applications are down. It's a big help there.
I would show someone who is looking into this type of product what I know about the product, how I use it, and help them make a decision on whether it's the right product for them.
The product has a lot of capabilities and we're just using a small fraction of it. So, right now, I would call the solution a nine out of ten, because we only use a small portion of it. But for what we do, it helps us out tremendously.
Troubleshooting our LTE network - any situations that come up in our cellular network. We also use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites, as we use it to monitor all the towers in our cellular network, as well as our core applications.
We're still in the beginning stages, learning how to use it.
It's a great monitoring tool. At a glance, we can get an idea of what's going on in our network.
Also, while I don't track it personally, I know that time to repair has been reduced and that it has cut our overall troubleshooting time.
The most valuable feature of this solution is being able to drill down into any kind of troubles that are reported to us, by use of identifiers.
Some of the filters could be easier to see and to set up. That's the only thing that I've ever had any trouble with. The ones that I've seen here, at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, are part of a newer version that we don't have yet, and it looks better. So, it may already have been fixed.
It's 100 percent stable.
The scalability is great.
I'm sure it's great, but I haven't had to deal with technical support. I'm a technician.
I assume the setup was straightforward. I'm a telecom tech. The engineers did all the setup and I only use the tool. I didn't help set it up.
I would recommend it. It's the best tool that I've used as far as troubleshooting quickly, at a glance, and for being able to drill down into any issues, any complaints we might have from customers.
I do know that we would like to get TrueCall, but we don't have that yet. We're working on it.
I would rate nGenius a nine out of ten because I don't rate anything a ten. There's always room for improvement.
Network troubleshooting is our primary use case.
nGeniusONE provides us with increased visibility while conducting a deployment. I'm not on the IT side, I'm on the carrier side, but it provides that increased visibility for us.
From the standpoint of VoLTE and related things, it's providing visibility into the network and how it operates. It has also improved our ability to troubleshoot end-customer issues.
One of the valuable features is permanent user perspective, getting to the one pane of glass, so that they can use one tool for multiple purposes.
In terms of the single pane of glass view, NETSCOUT has many tools. I think NG1 provides that single pane for a lot of things, but users are still using several different applications within the NETSCOUT realm of applications, and more integration would be helpful.
Our biggest area of concern right now, supporting the applications, is that while NETSCOUT does a good job of monitoring the network and the applications, we need more visibility into system health and performance monitoring. We need something that will monitor the tool that monitors the network.
Stability, for us, has been an issue but, to some degree, I think that's from a standpoint of capacity. People are wanting more from the system than what we originally deployed it for, so it's pushed it to its limit. As a result, we're deploying additional capacity.
It seems to be scalable. We have a pretty big installation. Once we get capacity in place, I think it will resolve a lot of our issues.
The main driver was VoLTE, but also getting to a single pane of glass, so that we can have one tool to monitor end-to-end performance. Before nGeniusONE we used Empirix and we still have that solution in place today for some things.
To some degree, the initial setup was complex because of the nature of the application. But, as things go, I wouldn't describe it as any more complex than anything else.
We worked directly with NETSCOUT.
I don't have access to the numbers to give a black and white answer, but I think that our company will get that return on investment over time.
I didn't get to choose. I support what the business chooses. I've supported several applications in this area, and my experience with NETSCOUT has been positive to date.
I've been speaking to people who were having some technical issues with our NETSCOUT deployment, but when it works it absolutely helps us get to root cause more quickly.
I would rate it pretty close to a ten out of ten. It's a very complex application and system, and the support from our NETSCOUT resources has been stellar.
Over the years, it's been more for packet-capture troubleshooting. But in the last two or three years, we have been using it for application monitoring and expanded our usage because of voice over IP and the communications stuff. It has really expanded a lot, and we've creating dashboards and reports. Originally, it was just a reactive tool. If there was a problem, we'd go capture something and move on. But it has really expanded quite a bit in the last four or five years.
The solution gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It's recording data all the time, so we have the "before" picture and the "after" picture. That's a big thing.
The Dependency Mapping is very helpful. When everything is instrumented correctly, and we can bring up a Dependency Mapping, sometimes it even surprises people in terms of what the applications are talking to and where the single failures might be.
In addition, in the troubleshooting area, we are able to zero in on an issue more quickly and get things working faster. In areas where we have instrumentation, we have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair.
The solution is very reliable.
The best feature is when we have it connected permanently via TAPs. That enables us to constantly collect data and then we can go back in time. Of course, we don't want a given problem to keep happening, but if we weren't able to use the solution to go back in time to when a problem happened, then we would have to hope the problem happens again so we can capture it and figure out what's going on. To be able to rewind, back in time, and see the problem as it happened, is very helpful.
In terms of additional features, they have the virtual clients here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, and they have really expanded that. That type of coverage is going to be crucial. The COTS that they are doing now are a very good idea, to lower the price some. We work with them weekly, and if we uncover something, a feature that would be relevant, we usually report it. A lot of times it will get included.
Regarding room for improvement, on a network the size of ours, the loading times seem a little extensive, 20 or 30 seconds to load up some graphs. But there is a lot of data being crunched. That's all server hardware.
nGeniusONE is very stable. We have very few problems with it.
It scales well also. We are about up to 350 InfiniStreams. We have a multi-tier architecture for the NG1, locals and globals, and backup solutions and the failover solutions for disaster recovery work well.
Technical support is very responsive. We have two people onsite that we pay. They work for NETSCOUT and they're very helpful.
We've had NETSCOUT so long I can't even remember what previous solution we had. We did have a couple of areas where we had Riverbed Technology but we are phasing that out.
For an organization of our size, the setup was fairly complicated. We have a lot of equipment, a lot of tiers. We have a lot of security concerns so we had to shut down ports and we have firewalls and things like that. It may not have been complicated because of NETSCOUT, it just may have been complicated because of the environment.
We did not use any outside resources for the deployment, but we do have onsite people from NETSCOUT.
Take a good look at this. It's been good for us. I've looked at some other solutions and everybody has the same problems to fix. The way that NETSCOUT, the company, is integrating so you get to reuse the data, is good. One of the problems we had originally was that everybody was doing something else. If you are going to capture all this network wire data, why not use it for security and everything. It's all in there. That's a big opportunity with these guys. If you go out and get something for voice from one company, and something to work on your network issues from another company, it's really hard to work them together. You never get to that single pane of glass.
We use the solution for unified communication application performance but that's not really my area. People do use that constantly, and I don't think we'd be paying hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, if it didn't help with uptime and end-user experience.
I rate the product pretty highly, a nine out of ten. The biggest problem we have with this product is the expense. Also lately, the network traffic loads, getting up to 100 gigabytes, are taxing the hardware a little bit. That's a problem everywhere, so it's not really particular to NETSCOUT. They are responding to that. I rate them very highly.
We use it for when an app team or somebody comes to us and tells us that we have a problem with a server, that they're experiencing slowness, or latency, or the like. We like to take two IPs end-to-end. It will give us a server IP and the client IP, and we can plug that into nGeniusOne to hopefully give us some kind of error codes or a breakdown of what's going on from the packet level of the transaction. Hopefully, it gives us an idea of what's wrong.
The solution gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment, depending on what the deployment is. As long as it's still monitoring in places that we're deploying something - for example, if it's in the DMZ, and it's going over a firewall - we have sniffers and tasks with this product deployed. In that case, we should be able to use it.
Another example would be when we're in the process of doing a lot of backups to the cloud. The teams come to us and they want a certain amount of bandwidth and a certain amount of resources, and they constantly ask us whether it's too much or too little, or can they use more overnight or at certain times. I can go back to my NETSCOUT reports and find out whether they're in trouble or actually have more capacity so they can ramp up their operations. It provides a view into that.
When we actually can use the product, we can see a measurable decrease in mean time to know or mean time to repair. It definitely has been something we wouldn't do otherwise, especially for capacity planning. We will get there when we have more proactive alarming and monitoring in place. It can greatly cut overall troubleshooting time once you know how to use it and it's properly and fully implemented.
Its troubleshooting capabilities are the most effective because we have it deployed in and out of our data centers, with our servers on-prem. And even now, going off-prem with Azure, we want to have visibility. For example, if one of our network pipes is getting plugged up by somebody using too much bandwidth, we can use the NETSCOUT tool to examine and find out what is going on.
I like the Dependency Mapping the solution provides, as long as it works. If you have it properly deployed it will. Being able to have dependencies is very critical in figuring out any path, and the more we can have that functionality it's nice because we can see if something's talking to multiple devices. We can see if one is actually the cause, rather than just "seeing blindly."
In terms of the single pane of glass view, when we build it out in the nGeniusOne platform, there are multiple tiles and, depending on what we're trying to examine, it doesn't all fit in one single pane of glass. It would be nice to have that functionality, but you really do have to categorize things because there is so much data.
The biggest thing is being able to provide net path. One of the products we use is SolarWinds, and it provides a very cool mapping of an agent from end-to-end. If NETSCOUT could somehow implement that into their design, whether it be sniffer-to-sniffer, or that kind of thing. I know they have some functionality along those lines, but if they could make it quicker and easier to get those net paths, it would be huge. I could quickly plug in problem IPs and get a full hosted view of where it's going from end-to-end. That would be really useful.
Finally, the GUI, the interface, has room for improvement. It's user-friendly to a degree, but when comparing it to other products, such as in the Cisco environment or SolarWinds, I found that I could just fumble my way through those tools very easily without training. Whereas with NETSCOUT, I need training in order to set stuff up because I would never figure that out on my own.
The stability has been pretty good. I haven't had any issues with the hardware, for the most part. It's a little tricky working with if you don't go through NETSCOUT for the packet flow switching. Right now, we use Gigamon, which we've had some older iterations of and some issues with. But as far as the hardware from NETSCOUT goes, we've had no issues.
The scalability is huge because certain ISPs have hundreds of these things out there monitoring their deployments, versus our having a few. It's very scalable.
Tech support started off poorly a few years ago, when we first implemented this, but I don't think we had the right resources on hand. In the last year, my company has worked directly with an OSC onsite, and the support has been much better.
We've actually had NETSCOUT for a long time, but originally it was implemented as a security tool, pre- and post-firewall, to just monitor traffic that way, to see how effective it was.
Now that firewalls have improved, and we use Check Point for that, it's been transitioned to the network team - to where I am - and now we're just using it as an NPM-type solution. It didn't really come in as a replacement. It was more, "Here are some assets that we want to use for network performance," so we're learning how to use it and deploy it better.
I don't know how they came to the decision to use NETSCOUT five years ago, but we kept it because we've had an investment with them.
The initial setup has been very complex. Just understanding our own environment, we definitely needed a dedicated resource, an OSC, to really figure out where we needed to deploy these things, what the capacity we needed to build out was, and what we needed to spend; what we currently had versus what we need. It has definitely been complex.
We've always gone straight through NETSCOUT in terms of the support and the hardware. We have never gone through a reseller.
We have seen some initial return on investment, on a small scale. We definitely hope to get more out of it once we implement it properly with the OSC. We're in the early stages.
We were looking at some of the Cisco stuff, and LiveAction, and SolarWinds, but NETSCOUT has its own little deep-dive triage packet part of the market that no one really, that I know of, touches. There is definitely still value there when considering.
If you want deep-dive, triage, packet-capture-type data, rather than just using Wireshark, it's very effective for that. It's definitely good for complex troubleshooting. There are other solutions, going into the cloud with the thin clients, and the vSTREAMs and vSCOUTs are definitely good, as is the nGeniusPULSE - I really like the PULSE product. We're not currently using that.
I think nGenius is very useful. You have to know your own environment, and see if it's good for you or not. My recommendation is mixed, to be honest. Depending on what you're looking for would determine whether I'd recommend it or not, which I actually have, to a colleague.
The solution can help us get to root cause more quickly, but not always. It is definitely a good stepping-stone, and when we have the visibility and the deployment properly implemented, it definitely can quickly get to a root cause.
We use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites to an extent. We have all of our sniffers, and all the stuff that's TAP-ed is in our central areas that get reported back from remote sites. As long as it crosses over one of those TAPs, it works. We're currently in the process of actually redefining and restructuring our build so that it does give baselines and some proactive monitoring, but we're not there yet.
For responding to issues, it can help the network uptime, especially when it comes to capacity, but as far as actually helping the stability of the network, I don't think it's really done that.
nGeniusOne is a seven out of ten, but improving. Originally, about a year or two ago, it was like a four out of ten for us because we weren't using it properly. When it's implemented properly, and the training is there to use the interface and have it work in your company, and people understand it, it can be very effective. As we do more and get it properly implemented, I think that score can even go up.
Visibility into the network is our primary use case.
We're just starting to use the solution for unified communication application performance, but we're not there yet.
The solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment.
It also helps us get to root cause quickly. We've had some voice issues, unified communication issues, over the last few months, and it gave insight that the voice team didn't have. We could actually pin it down to the point that we had a bad DSP box.
It has cut our overall troubleshooting time. It's taken the complexity of having to do SPAN sessions from the core and other places, by just going straight to this tool and applying the proper filters and getting the information.
The details it provides are among the most valuable features; the ability to drill down and get to the packet level.
I like the Dependency Mapping the solution provides. I wish there was a better way to show large groups, greater than 500, instead of just not displaying anything.
I would like to see it closer to more of an APM-type, or at least have that availability to compete with APM - the AppDynamics and solutions like that. I feel it's a natural step to at least have that available.
Also, some integrations with ticketing systems like ServiceNow would be helpful.
Overall, it seems to function really well. We've only had one issue, but that was due to a power outage. It seems to perform well in a virtualized environment and I don't have anything bad to say about the stability.
I haven't had to use technical support yet.
The sales engineer helped me, and I got a lot of help from the website itself.
Be prepared to invest a lot of your own personal time to get the best use out of the system.
Regarding the single pane of glass view, you've got to have a lot of time on the console. Even though it's single pane, you've got to be able to at least get all the phrasing and catch stuff located properly.
I would give nGenius a seven out of ten. I think it could have an easier to understand interface. Other than that it would be a 10.
We're using the tool to monitor our LTE and 3G core networks, as well as our 5G connection.
We're in the wireless space and it does help us with our deployments, especially when we launch new services. We have a lot better visibility.
The solution is very helpful. We're in the support side of the house, doing operations. It makes our workflow a lot easier, being able to very quickly - in near real-time - trace things for our customers when they report issues. It helps us get to root cause quickly. A lot of the issues that we face are interlocution between different vendors. This helps us capture that data and provide it to both vendors, as well as analyze it, ourselves, against the specs. It has cut our overall troubleshooting time. These vendor interlocution situations have gone from a couple of weeks to a couple of days.
We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. I would estimate it at about 20 percent, overall.
The fact that it's able to capture and store packets from the wires is very useful for troubleshooting with our vendors, when issues do come up. It's valuable that we have that overall data for them.
I'd like to see more data expert capabilities. That's one of the big things we're looking forward to, with the release of the KAFKA exports, and expanding the kind of data we can both import and export with the system.
Also, for individual subscriber tracings, sometimes it does not capture all the messages. There is a little bit of room for improvement there.
It's very stable. It's very rare that there are any issues that are attributable to the NETSCOUT product.
My impressions of the scalability of the solution are positive. We've grown greatly as a company, and it's kept up with our needs.
Technical support is very good. Our support engineers from NETSCOUT have been very easy to work with, and always very helpful.
Our move to a new solution was based on the user reports we get. When we heard about traces not being available or tools being unreliable, we started looking at different vendors.
We had NETSCOUT before and switched to another vendor, The Now Factory, which has since been acquired by IBM. The user feedback was pretty immediate. We switched to that solution, and within six months it was very clear that it wasn't the right path and we actually switched back to NETSCOUT for a lot of our network monitoring needs.
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. It's a stand-alone product so we didn't have to spend much time getting ready. We got the probes deployed and the system, and that was great.
We did it ourselves.
I'd say we've seen return on investment. It's helped us, just from a customer satisfaction point of view. Fixing customer issues faster translates to better retention. Overall, I think the solution has helped us retain more of our customers.
Cost is probably the biggest drawback. Compared to some of the newer vendors that have popped up in the space, it's definitely more on the expensive side. It shows its value, though, in the reliability of the solution, the support that we get from NETSCOUT. It's been able to keep its value, even in the face of the cheaper competition.
It's a very good, stable solution. The people behind this know LTE very well, they know how the data flows and what we're looking at. The product, as a whole, works very well for the wireless carrier.
We don't have the single pane of glass view yet, but we are very excited about being where we can get that end-to-end. We're using RS and nGeniusOne right now, which are two different views, but we want to get to nSA and have the single pane.
In terms of our application network uptime, at least in the way that we're using it, I wouldn't say that the solution has helped directly. When we have had problems, it's helped us get the vendors the information they need. But overall, I don't think the application itself has directly affected uptime, in our case.
I would rate the solution a ten out of ten. It does what it needs to do, and it works really well at that functionality.
We use NETSCOUT nGeniusOne to troubleshoot our network. At US Cellular, we have our voice over IP network and we try to figure out the impact to the customer.
The solution most definitely provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It allows us to understand changes that we're making in the network, as well as our network's performance day-to-day and hour-to-hour.
We're also able to see customer impact before the customer complains. Often, in a legacy network, we were used to customers calling in to our call center complaining about the service, but now we're actually identifying problems even before the customer notices.
It helps us get to the root cause quickly, allowing us to drill down into the problem to actually see what service is impacted. It has provided a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. Being able to identify the problem more quickly and having the customizable dashboards make a large difference, making us much quicker than we ever were.
In addition, the solution has absolutely helped us increase our application network uptime. Being able to see the response in near-real-time, we utilize the five-minute increments in the dashboards and the tools frequently. If we're performing our work and we see an impact, we can deal with it much faster than with our old legacy tools, which were sometimes an hour or two in delay.
For me, the most valuable features are the dashboards which we use to highlight the overall impact to the customers, and being able to drill down into the nitty-gritty of the customer experience.
This is not so much application-specific but rather is about the user experience: How the user experience has degraded is what I would like to see more in the tool. A lot of tools highlight what's going on but they don't actually pinpoint the user experience. It would be good if there were a small message or something highlighting what the user experience is like and any degradation that's actually occurring.
For the most part, it's pretty stable. We've had some instances where we've had to have boxes restarted, probes restarted. But overall, the performance has really held up.
After today's conversation, here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, it seems like it's highly scalable. I always knew it was scalable but with the new enhancements coming, it's really good.
We have NETSCOUT personnel who are assigned to USA Cellular. We have an associate, Joe Dockery, who is always at our disposal. We get good help.
Get as much training as you can go to. Get your hands on the product as much as you can. There's a lot of information there and it's confusing at times if you're not familiar with the product. And rely on your NETSCOUT support. A lot of things that you might be looking for are already there, you just might not know how to get to them.
In terms of the solution cutting our overall troubleshooting time, the answer is "yes and no." While it provides a lot of insight as far as the data goes, and the impact, our organization is still trying to learn how to troubleshoot effectively. In most of the cases it's a matter of either user experience or knowledge.
I would rate nGenius as an eight out of ten. There's a lot of data. After hearing where NETSCOUT is going with the ability to actually isolate a problem quickly, it is good to see them working on that. It's really been the struggle: To show the user where the problem lies. There's a little too much investigation that the user has to do at this point.
We're using it for server health, data analytics, and network monitoring on a daily basis. We also use it for proactive monitoring of remote sites. We have around 180 sites, and we monitor their bandwidth and application usage. In terms of SaaS, that's something we're working on too, and hopefully we'll get it to where we want it to be.
It definitely provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It's been pretty useful for some of our cases, especially hardware refresh, where it's been a pretty amazing tool.
It has also definitely helped with detection of anomalies. We've been able to identify a handful of issues within our network. It's been pretty useful. As for root cause, there have been more than a few occasions where we've been able to identify issues right away. We have also seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. There have been a number of situations where, if we didn't have this, we would have been scratching our heads trying to figure them out.
In addition, it has cut our overall troubleshooting time. Last year we had quite an outage that went for a couple of weeks. If we had had this solution implemented the way it's working now, I'm pretty sure it would have just taken us days, instead of weeks.
We also definitely love the single pane of glass view. It's everything there in one single dashboard.
The feature I am looking for is the Arbor technology, especially to run in parallel with our firewall. That's one thing that I've definitely wanted and, eventually, it's getting there.
So far, the stability has been good. There have been a few issues, mainly because we haven't been using it long. I've been having to catch up and upgrade and bring it from the floor up, so hopefully it will become a great tool.
Looking forward, I believe we'll see that the more we add to it, the more and more our network will get better.
Technical support has been pretty amazing with me. Every time I call, every time I contact my SE, they answer right away, so I've been pretty happy with that.
In our company, I know we have other tools, but as a network monitor, for the port situation, per node, I don't know what else was used.
I had to start from scratch. It took me time to comprehend how everything works, but eventually, I found it's pretty easy to understand and set up.
It was deployed long before I got into my job, but the people that I've been working with were the original deployers. I'm pretty sure they worked with somebody.
Reach out, contact NETSCOUT. It's an amazing tool, it has a lot of integrations, and it's definitely worth looking at.
We still haven't gotten that deep into the dependency mapping, but we intend to start getting to it. Similarly, we're planning to start looking into unified communication application performance. We just got our license for it and we're going to try to implement it. I've only been using the solution for six months. My impression so far is that it's been pretty amazing.
As things stand right now, I would give the solution an eight out of ten. I still have quite a few things to learn. Once I get to know its full capabilities, I will probably give it a ten.
One use case that we purchased it for is deep packet inspection at a 10-gig level. Prior to that, we only had deep packet inspection up to one gig.
We are utilizing the tool right now for deep packet inspection, and for everyday dashboard monitoring to show our customers what their current traffic is, how their everyday business needs are consuming their traffic, and what kind of traffic is specifically on their network.
Also, the nGeniusONE is providing TAPs for all of our core traffic and is sending it to our security team for them to sort through and look for security risks. That is actually probably the single biggest purpose we're using it for.
We did a big shift in how we do some of our internal business. To see what the impact would be, we got a baseline of our day-to-day traffic and performance. Then, as we did a proof of concept of the new solution that we were working on, we could see how much that was going to change our performance and our growth, per user, and that enabled us to ramp up bandwidth and resources as needed for that big change.
We wouldn't have been able to prepare our network in a way that would have kept everything functioning properly, without that information.
There are so many valuable features. Deep packet inspection is probably the strongest, but also its ability to slab certain traffic and give visibility into traffic at an application-layer level.
The way that our company is set up, we provide that type of information to the agencies we support. They're basically our customers - government agencies - and they want to know information about their applications' performance, and the health of their applications, usage, troubleshooting, etc.
In addition, it is user-friendly.
The areas it covers are so vast that the improvement would be in the user's understanding of what it can do. Having that information available to customers more easily might be helpful, although I believe it is available to customers easily through their website.
There are so many pieces of their product that integrate with one another that perhaps a recommendation for improvement would be some sort of bigger overview and map to help understand how all their pieces integrate together. On the plus side, they always have resources available, instantly, when you have a question about it. It's not like that information can't be found.
It's very stable. We've never had any problems with it.
The newer technology scales very well, especially in the virtual environment. Some of the hardware that I purchased four or five years ago, since it's a hardware-based system, limits how it can grow and scale. But truthfully, five years for a deep packet inspection tool like this is quite good.
There are some hardware components that communicate to the nGeniusONE that I'm likely to be upgrading within the next few years. My traffic has grown to the point where I need more and, since it's hardware-based, it can only scale so far.
nGeniusONE itself scales very well. It's cloud-based.
We are moving to a virtualized environment in our data center, and NETSCOUT is making very scalable nGenius solutions so that we'll have some virtual instances of it. Our plan is to expand that into our virtualized environment and be able to have some inspection of the traffic that stays in our data center. We've already started that process. Our bottleneck is the internal resources to do it. It will probably be done by the end of next year.
We have a relationship with a NETSCOUT engineer, so I usually just email him or call him, or email or call our rep, and they get us an engineer right away. I think that type of direct relationship with an engineer at NETSCOUT is a common scenario because in speaking with him, he talks about similar interaction with other customers in this region.
I have used their support via a ticket. Their response is quick, and they usually just get us right over to the local engineer. It can usually be resolved without escalating.
We used a solution by SolarWinds, and we also used a solution by another provider. We realized we needed to change when we had a distributed denial of services attack that spanned greater than one gig.
The initial setup was straightforward. They had a lot of automation in place that could take configuration files, etc., and automatically incorporate them into their system. The way that the tool communicates using normal SNMP communication made it a super-easy install. It was very easy to get online.
I have a hardware version of it here, and with getting everything wrapped and cabled and connected, we had it online in about three days.
We had an implementation strategy mostly because we had a business case on what we wanted it for. So we had a strategic plan in place to get it up and running and providing us the information we needed as quickly as possible. We proposed the strategic plan to NETSCOUT and their Professional Services were able to meet everything that we needed.
There were three people involved in the deployment. We had the NETSCOUT Professional Services engineer, and we had two resources from my company, one of whom was really just a backup. Their roles were to deliver the strategic plan to the NETSCOUT engineer and to receive onsite training as services were turned up.
We had Professional Services help us with it and it was a breeze. It was easy to set up. Their Professional Services were the only ones needed.
For the business case that I mentioned above, when we took a baseline of our traffic to show the changes and the differences, there was a big return on investment.
But giving our customers the power to have some visibility into their own traffic has been a huge return on investment. Not only are they able to identify their needs and their growth, and take up less of my resources' time to do an investigation into what they need - so it has saved resource time; but we're also able to identify their growth patterns at an earlier time, so we're not spending money on things that will need to be replaced.
Their pricing is very competitive with other solutions. I'm getting to the point to where I'm going to have to upgrade my licensing level, and it's a pretty big hop. But what I like about NETSCOUT's licensing is that it's shared across all their platforms. They don't create a new licensing scheme for every one of their products. So for nGeniusONE, you buy a certain license level and it works on all of their products.
There were plenty of other options, other things that we were looking at. We looked at trying to accomplish the same thing with tools we already owned like SolarWinds vs nGeniusONE.
We went with nGeniusONE because NETSCOUT's roadmap in development met some of the strategic things we were trying to accomplish.
The advice I would like to have if I was implementing it for the first time is to have a good understanding of what you're trying to accomplish; not for one single thing, but for all the things that you would like to accomplish. Then, plan and design your NETSCOUT purchase accordingly so you're not just doing one piece here and one piece there and then trying to figure out the integration later.
In hindsight, NETSCOUT engineers have been really good at helping us put those pieces together, but it would have been helpful to spin it all up at the same time and to have had it strategically set up to move us to the future, where we needed to go.
If you count all of our customers we probably have over 100 people using it. Their roles include network operations, security operations, network engineering, and we have our agency monitoring.
Some of the shortcomings that we've had with our NETSCOUT products have been because of our own internal resources, not because of the product. We just don't have the time or the bandwidth to implement some of the things that we need. With that being said, I would give NETSCOUT a ten out of ten.
Our primary use for nGeniusONE is packet inspection.
It helps out with firewall issues. Aside from having the logs that are just on the firewall, we're able to get the traffic as it's going in between, throughout our network. It isolates end sources that are having issues, where we don't have any other tools that would be able to go down to an end-user's computer to find out what's going on.
It's catching quite a few things. Most of them really aren't a big deal and we should probably adjust our tolerances for them. A lot of the things are nice to know about but we really don't dig into them because they're not a huge deal.
As far as bigger issues go, it catches those on a weekly basis. That's how often we find something big enough that the only reason we know about it is because of the nGeniusONE. The bigger issues are mostly security-type issues: odd traffic leaving our network or coming into it, that has found its way past a firewall.
When we first got it, we used a lot of it for DDoS attacks to be able to find out where they were coming from, because we were able to actually see the packets and then get all the IPs. That enabled us to block sections of traffic that were constantly hitting us. After that it's server issues, router issues; just about everything.
Apart from the packet inspection, just being able to drill down into traffic is helpful to see where it's coming from, where it's going to, and everything that's going on with it.
We mainly use it for the packet inspection, but when we come across problems with traffic in general, we're able to isolate a source and the find out where, along the way, we're having the issues, because we're able to see deeply into the packet.
Starting off with the broad scope of everything that you're seeing, they have it set up pretty nicely, where you just keep drilling down into it by further clicks. It's pretty logical the way that it's set up. It's more like humans are meant to use it, instead of bots. I like it.
I'd like to see the nGeniusONE, the nGeniusPULSE, and the OptiView, their three separate products, work a little better together, a little more streamlined. We can hook up an OptiView to our system and it will bring it up on our nGeniusONE splash page where we can go and click on it. But we can't really use the OptiView functionality with the nGeniusONE functionality as far as throughput tests go.
If we wouldn't have to have multiple OptiViews throughout our system, and we could just have one that connects straight back and does all the functionality with nGeniusONE that two OptiViews do, that would be awesome.
Another thing that would help out is if they packaged the NetFlow monitor into nGeniusONE. Their NetFlow monitor works with nGeniusONE where you can actually get the netflow of pretty much anything you hook it up to. But it's a separate box that you have to buy. If there was a way that they could package that into nGeniusONE, it would be a complete package straight out of the box. It does a lot for you without it, but with the NetFlow monitor, in our situation, we'd be able to replace three other tools right off the bat.
We haven't had any issues with it going down or not working. The server that we're using is our own server and we have their software loaded onto it. All the issues that we've had have been our actual server. We had to replace our server once because it died on us. But as far as the software and the actual NETSCOUT appliances that we have going to the nGeniusONE go, like the Packet Flow Switch, etc., we haven't had any issues with them since I've been here, which is three years and counting. It hasn't had any downtime that was not scheduled.
We can definitely scale it higher. There's a lot more that we've found that we could be hooking the nGeniusONE up to. The possibility is there. The only issue we have is our bureaucracy.
As far as what it could be doing for us, if I had my way we'd have it taking care of everything. It's just a matter of getting it done. But the option is definitely there. We're using it mainly just for data center and core stuff, but the option is there to send it out to our distribution nodes as well.
For any issues that we've ever had, we've gone directly through our sales engineer and directly with NETSCOUT. As far as customer service goes, getting everything set up, and with any issues we've had since we started using the nGeniusONE, they've always been great with helping out and getting us completely taken care of, without having to go to a third-party.
Typically the response time is same day, depending on when I call or send an email. I understand that they've got other clients, so 24-hour turnaround is what I've experienced. It's been really good, and that's going directly to our account rep and our sales engineer. The times that I've gone to NETSCOUT technical services, I have been on the phone waiting for an engineer to help me out for five minutes, if that. The customer service part has been really good.
The last issue was doing an upgrade on our nGeniusONE server. We were having some issues with getting the upgrade to take on the server from our end. It turned out that we missed an upgrade in between. That's when we called up the technical support and they actually had us upgraded in about 30 minutes after the phone call was made.
I can't remember the name of it, but it pretty much gave us packet flow and some type of visibility into them, but it was so spotty that it wasn't reliable. They had that solution in place for about eight years, but because it was so unreliable as far as getting the actual traffic that you wanted to see, and getting the information that you were trying to get out of it, that nobody really used it.
From what I understand from the people who were using the previous solution before I got here, when they got it set up people tried to use it and it was kind of a mess and the workflow going through it was just not very well thought out. Once you finally got into it, you could see some stuff, but you couldn't ever see, what you were trying to find. People just gave up on it and it sat there. They renewed the contract on it once and when that contract expired we started looking around and we came across NETSCOUT.
I know when they ended up getting the nGeniusONE, the main reason they got it was for the actual packet inspection. We originally had it set up on the outside of our edge firewall to get visibility into all the traffic that was coming in before the firewall blocked it. A lot of the firewalls at the time wouldn't give us that information. So we'd block traffic, but we could only see some of it, and if we were getting a DDoS attack on it, we wouldn't see everything that came through. That was one of the main reasons that they wanted the nGeniusONE, to see all that information.
We've since repurposed it from that, after we realized what kind of traffic we were seeing and where it was coming from. We were able to mitigate a lot of that and we don't have the effects of the DDoS attacks like we used to. So instead of monitoring a little bit of our inside and everything coming in, we've turned the nGeniusONE to monitor everything within our network, not really caring about anything trying to come in anymore because we've upgraded our firewalls as well. It's actually getting us a lot more functionality now than it did three years ago. It's been nice that we've been able to repurpose it, and doing that has actually been pretty easy.
I wasn't actually with the company when they did the initial setup for the nGeniusONE. That happened about a year before I started. I know that typically, you can have it up and going within a couple weeks.
We're currently in the process of repurposing it again and we're adding an SDN networking solution. We're getting into all those leaves and switches that are back there. We've torn it down and we're rebuilding it so we can get information about what's going on in there and in the rest of our data center.
When they first got it, everyone loved what it did, seeing the outside traffic come in. When we moved it into the actual interior of the network, we were able to pick up a lot of issues before they really manifested: packets dropping and errors going across. We have been able to dig into stuff before it actually becomes a problem where people are really noticing that something is going on.
So it's cut down our troubleshooting time and response time to actual issues within the network itself. In my opinion, we've been able to solve problems before they've become a big issue. That's the main reason anybody would want visibility into their network: If you have fewer people yelling at you, you're doing your job.
There's a five-minute lag time for the dashboard to update itself, but we're able to see if there are any significant changes within every five to ten minutes. Before, our response time would be when an end user actually got to the point of getting annoyed with it and then called in. Typically, that would be 30 minutes down the road, after they'd tried all their troubleshooting, and then they would call in to our basic troubleshooting helpdesk and have to go through things with them for another 15 minutes. So as far as end users are concerned, we're able to work on issues about 45 minutes faster than before because we're able to see the problems that they'd be encountering before the users have to make their way through the channels to get them fixed.
If you're looking to implement it or to purchase, once you actually see the usability of it I think the decision will already be made. If you're looking at other similar options, I would definitely advise looking into NETSCOUT and the nGeniusONE, along with all the other NETSCOUT products; at least the ones we've used, the OptiView and the nGeniusPULSE.
I really feel that anybody who has contacted NETSCOUT to look into purchasing it, and has seen demos and proofs of concept on their own networks, for the most part, will end up purchasing it, regardless of what anyone says. They'll be able to see exactly what it's doing for them and what they didn't have visibility into before. The product pretty much speaks for itself.
In terms of increasing usage, that's why we ended up getting OptiViews and the nGeniusPULSE devices and server, to take care of some of that load in a less expensive way. It's cheaper for us to be able to use nGeniusPULSE devices out on remote sites than to use a virtual NG1 out there, or to have multiple OptiViews. But if we need to dig down into stuff, we have the options there through NETSCOUT products. That's one thing that they've done well. If you don't have the money to put nGeniusONE devices out everywhere, you can get some of that functionality through different products at a cost that's more reasonable.
We have five people using it on a daily basis. Their role is pretty much monitoring, for the most part. We have it set up to get all of the traffic that we want for application services, etc. But for the most part, it's just a monitoring role, and when there is an issue we just dig down into it from there. They are the same people who are dealing with the maintenance.
I would rate it a nine out of ten and the reason is the integration issue with OptiView and the nGeniusPULSE. If they made it so that the nGeniusONE product would be able to do traffic testing with the OptiView, at that point it would be perfect, for what I use it for.
Our primary use case is troubleshooting. We use it to go take a look at application flows, to understand, when we have an issue, if there's some sort of latency or if there's a communication problem or if we're getting some abnormal behavior. Our first troubleshooting step, anytime we have an issue, is source and destination IPs and run a capture. It's the first tool that always gets called in when we're trying to troubleshoot an issue.
The biggest benefit is the ability to do low-level packet inspection. When I say packet inspection, I don't mean looking at payload, but just looking at your communication handshakes and the like. It reduces troubleshooting time because you can get a much better view into the communications path between servers, database servers, web servers, and understand what's going on. So the biggest impact is reducing time to recovery when we have a problem. It's the kind of thing such that when something is just flat-out broken, you can usually figure it out, but when you have degraded performance in applications, that's when it can be very valuable.
One of the things that we're doing is building the application flows into the dashboard, to monitor them that way. That will be one of the more valuable things to do. We are in the process of doing a PoC with one application, although we haven't actually built the workflow yet. There are some others that were built last year for some of the other more simplistic applications, but we're trying to look at the workflow for more complex applications, and do the analysis on how they're performing.
The other thing that is of high value is that we can go back and look at past performance. As long as we have data retention, which is typically only about three or four days, based on the amount of storage we have, we can go back and try to troubleshoot an issue that may have already corrected itself. We have the data back there to take a look and see what was going on at that time.
We do use it for doing a little bit of performance and capacity planning, but that's not its primary function.
The GUI has gotten better over time but there could be some improvement in how the GUI is built. That's one of the major areas of feedback I get from the users.
From a stability perspective, we have not had any issues. We haven't had it break or go down.
It's extremely scalable. We've had no issues with the scalability at this point.
Tech support has been good. We have a local pre-sales engineer and he's very helpful. He comes onsite on a regular basis, and we work with him if we're trying to do anything with new feature functions. He's helped us build some of the dashboards and done some training with the staff. He's readily available. He's local so he's here within a day or two if we need something. We're not bringing him in if we need a break-fix, we're bringing him in for enhancement of dashboards or application monitors.
Prior to this, we were just using Wireshark on laptops. We did have a product called GigaStor which we're using, but we've had a lot of issues with the stability of the product. It tends to crash, it's just not very usable.
The product was implemented about five years ago, and turn-up time was very quick. It only took us about a week to get it up and running. The implementation was, in the words of the person who did it, "pretty simple".
There isn't anything that we quantify in terms of ROI but it results in less time to resolution. Anytime engineers spend less time troubleshooting and, instead, are doing other work, they're able to be more productive. This solution reduces the amount of time that our folks have to spend doing troubleshooting because they can rapidly collect the data to solve problems.
It takes the process of collecting data from hours down to minutes.
Like any company, we always want better pricing. The pricing is okay, but it's not a cheap solution. When you want to deploy it across an enterprise as large as ours, you go into seven figures. It's not a cheap solution to get out there.
GigaStor was a product that was in-house, which we were not happy with. We really didn't do a competitive bake-off of nGeniusONE vs GigaStor, but we had experience with that product and we were not happy with it.
With nGenius, the user interface is much better and the ability to collect data is better. The GigaStors are like a PC with Wireshark on steroids. It's a large device, you put it into a SPAN port, and it can collect a lot of data. But the problem is with the interface, with how you do the data analysis. It's not good. And, as I mentioned, we've had issues with the hardware reliability with that device as well. We've had a couple of them and they tend to have a lot of hard drive failures, which either corrupt or cause loss of data.
On the retail side of our business, where we don't have nGenius deployed, we still use those GigaStors on an ad-hoc basis. We have to go over to a switch and plug them in when there's an issue going on, which is not a very effective way of doing troubleshooting.
We're not really looking at any competitors at this point. We're happy with what we're getting out of nGenius.
We have a pre-sales engineer whom we engage with on a regular basis. That has been extremely helpful, having somebody who is not just tech support but who is very familiar with the product and can provide some training. The product requires some knowledge on how to use it.
You really need to be a more frequent user. That's probably part of our downfall as an organization: We don't have people using it enough to help build dashboards and application monitors. We use it in a reactive manner and I think there's more opportunity to be proactive in how you build application monitors within nGenius.
There isn't so much of a heavy learning curve for the user interface, it's how you build the dashboards. The user interface seems to be pretty good. It's gotten better over time. But it's understanding how you get into how the mechanics of how the product works, where you pull your dataflows from, and how you stitch them together to get an application dashboard.
I've been with the company about four years, and we've been using it as long as I've been here. There was a bunch of infrastructure that was put in prior to my getting here, all the TAPs and things to expand the footprint, but the footprint for nGenius is just in the PBM (pharmacy benefit manager) part of our business. We don't have it on our retail side.
We're continuing to roll it out. As we can get funding, we increase the footprint of the product. Today we're only tapping a portion of our environment. Our plan is to continue to expand it and, eventually, put it into retail.
It's used by our entire Operations staff. Some people are better than others, so it's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 people who have access to it. It's not used on a regular basis by anyone. It's used if we have a request or a problem, as needed. The users are all network engineers. Some people are on the Operations side, and some folks are on the Engineering side, and some people are on the Architecture side. It goes across the whole swath of network engineers.
There is just one guy who maintains it, and it's only a part-time job for him. As we scale it across the operation I expect we will only have to marginally increase the number of people who work on it. The biggest effort will be, as we roll it out, in bringing in additional TAPs, tapping the switches and the routers that we want to. But once that's done, we just direct the data feeds into the backend and, at that point, it's just a matter of how much storage we have. It doesn't require a whole lot of care and feeding. In the time I've been here, we've done one or two upgrades. But they've all gone well with no issues.
The main application that we use is NetFlow: all the NetFlow traffic, monitoring, bandwidth utilization, top-talkers, etc.
We are using nGeniusONE to run our bandwidth capacity management reports. In the past, we used to be very reactive, we used to depend a lot on suppliers to tell us which sites are our hot sites, meaning, which have high bandwidth utilization. Now we do this in a much more proactive way and we are moving to a more predictive approach in that aspect, thanks to nGeniusONE.
The most important feature in my regular operations is the NetFlow traffic analysis. It also has a packet inspection or packet analysis although that's something that we use less.
In addition, the ability to be able to do detailed traffic analysis such as top-talkers, application-specific monitoring, and understanding them through patterns, is helpful. We're also able to gain an understanding of voice calls, voice traffic, whether we have packet loss in a certain part of the network or jitter or high latency that might be impacting the network. All of those are nice functionalities.
Most of the functionality I mentioned above could be improved, to be honest.
Also, it's not intuitive, it's not simple to use. It is probably the only monitoring tool, out of all the ones that I have, that I really need an expert on, an expert from nGenius, a contractor that I have to pay, to manage the tool. And that's because it's simply not easy to use. NETSCOUT needs to focus on making it easier to use. I should not need to pay an expensive resource to be able to manage the tool for me. With any other tool, I'm able to do that management internally. They should focus on the user experience, not just on the capabilities that they can provide. User experience is important these days. That would be one area where it could be improved.
Another, which might be related, is that it's almost like "white elephant." There are so many features that it makes it hard to know it all. You end up paying for things that you don't use and probably don't even need. It might be better if NETSCOUT came up with a modular way to pay for what you're going to use and not pay for all of this "white elephant" without being able to take advantage of all of it.
I also think that it's a little too dependent on physical agents all over the place. If they were able to move a bit more to the virtual environment that would be better. I believe that we still depend too much on physical appliances to get the most out of the tool. And by the way, I recently found out that they do have some virtual environments that they can deploy but I'm not sure that it's widely known yet.
Those are the main areas that I would improve.
I haven't necessarily encountered issues from the stability perspective, but I certainly find it inconsistent in the way it drives reports. For example, if you follow the standard procedure to monitor size or to monitor bandwidth, you're going to find that for about 30 percent of them you will have to do some level of tweaking and customization to make it work. It seems to either have a number of bugs in the tool that we have been reporting and they have been fixing as they go, or it's just part of the functionality that we have to do things differently for a lot of sites. It's not stability, it's more from a standardization perspective. I think that they would do better if they simplified the rollout process.
I have not had any problems with scalability.
Technical support is great. But then again, I would expect it to be great because I'm paying a fortune just to have a dedicated contractor from NETSCOUT in my office, to be available. But I don't know if we'd have the same level of support, I don't know if it would be as easy to improve and patch and continue with the operation, if I were not paying for dedicated support.
On a scale of zero to ten, I would say support is a five. I don't think many tools out there in the market require having a dedicated person just to support a monitoring tool.
Before NETSCOUT we were in the "prehistoric era" and we were not using another tool. NETSCOUT was the first tool that we started using for this purpose.
The initial setup was very complex and that relates, in part, to the simplicity issue that I mentioned earlier.
Not just the initial set up, even migrating from one version to another, like 5.3 to 5.5, was an entirely new setup from scratch. We had to change boxes, we had to change software, we were not able to migrate databases. We had to load everything from scratch. It's like we were installing the tool for the very first time. It was a very cumbersome process.
It all comes back to the user experience feedback that I provided earlier. That's the biggest opportunity area for NETSCOUT. It is not simple to deploy, not simple to operate, not simple to maintain.
Again, it's kind of a "white elephant." If you are able and you are willing to use everything that NETSCOUT provides to you, it's probably a relatively fair price. The problem is that it's such a large and such a complex tool that I'm not sure that many companies would be able to use it entirely, the way it's expected to be used.
So what I'm paying today, based on the value that I'm getting out of the tool, makes me believe that I'm overpaying. You pay for the entire thing whether you use it or not. And these days, that's not the wisest way to go.
There are a few other options that we are currently evaluating. They include:
Now, I understand that most of these tools are only providing a subset of what NETSCOUT can provide. I'm perfectly aware of that. But that's exactly what I meant before about the modularity. Right now, I feel that I'm overpaying for a huge product that I'm not fully leveraging and I'm not sure that I want to fully leverage. I would rather pay less money for a tool that is going to give me exactly what I need, even if it doesn't have all the functionality that NETSCOUT can provide.
This is our traffic analyzer replacement. We use it to provide some functionality for our operations to do live captures so they can manage instant management.
The big features we use are definitely the packet capture function, NetFlow collection, and the UC analyzer to monitor real-time communication in our environment.
This is a typical thing, but every time they do a major code upgrade, we get hit with some nasty bugs. Some of them literally stop the whole platform from collecting traffic data. They should really do more Q&A on software stability before release.
Other than those bugs I mentioned, we haven't encountered any issues with stability. The system has been rock solid. It's just stable.
As far as we can see, the scalability issue is mostly that we need to spend more time to tune the software to understand our environment a little better. Other than that, we haven't found any scalability issues. Scalability is related to the hardware sizing and I think we did a pretty good job on that front.
The tech support team has been helpful. They are easy to engage and they're willing to engage the resources that we need to communicate with. I have no complaint about them.
We did have a different solution in place before. We reviewed a couple of vendors and ended up with NETSCOUT after doing a PoC in our environment.
The initial setup was a little simpler than what we have with NETSCOUT now, because our environment grew.
We evaluated NIKSUN but the accounting was way worse than what we have with NETSCOUT.
You need to spend some time to make the system to fit into your environment. Once you get it there, it works pretty well.
I give it a nine out of ten. It's only to the point that we still need to do some feature requests for things we want to do. The toolset was there but, initially, it wasn't GUI-based, so it took some time for them to implement that.
It's easy to detect unwanted traffic with all the detection tools available.
It needs a better GUI, and especially it needs to be more user-friendly.
We've used if for four years, five months.
We had issues with capacity planning.
7/10 because they have limited numbers of engineers who can handle the ticket created.
We previously used SolarWinds Netflow Traffic Analyzer, and switched because Netscout is more granular.
It's complex because you have to first identify the traffic flow, and then the capacity of the appliance.
We used a partner.
SolarWinds Network Traffic Analyzer. Netscout is more detailed than SolarWinds Network Traffic Analyzer.