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Network Instruments Delivers Enterprise-Wide Reporting

Network Instruments announced the release of its Observer Reporting Server, which provides high-level reporting on network and application activities across the enterprise. The Observer Reporting Server connects to multiple Observer Suite consoles and aggregates the critical network performance metrics into an overall view of network health.

In addition to providing an easy-to-access view of network performance, reports can be segmented by individual business units, user groups, or infrastructure types. This allows network managers to quickly view bandwidth utilisation or application use by department. If managers notice unexpectedly high bandwidth use from a department, they can quickly and seamlessly drill down on the report to the individual link or user detail using the Reporting Server and Observer. Root cause and Expert analysis can then be performed using Observer.

"The Reporting Server with Observer answers the need of enterprise to quickly move from high-level performance monitoring to root cause analysis," said Douglas Smith, president of Network Instruments. "With the Reporting Server the network team can view their global network while knowing within a few clicks they can drill down to isolate any problem on the network."

Security Forensics

Beyond being able to drill from an enterprise-wide view of network activity down to specific links, it is critical for network teams to be able to isolate specific performance problems to a network, application, or security cause. Often IT teams waste hours attempting to replicate the issue or blaming each other for causing the problem.

To facilitate fast problem resolution, Network Instruments has expanded the retrospective network analysis capabilities of GigaStorT to identify a security breach. GigaStor surveys the network like a security camera recording everything traversing the network for future analysis. With post-capture Security Forensics, GigaStor determines whether a security breach has occurred by comparing the historically captured traffic against a list of thousands of known attacks and anomalies. If a breach has been identified, GigaStor provides drill-down analysis to determine the source and time of the occurrence.

"GigaStor's comprehensive forensics and Expert analysis has changed the way network, application, and security teams resolve network problems," said Charles Thompson, manager of sales engineering at Network Instruments. "Rather than arguing about the source of the problem, the teams can focus on the solution. With Security Forensics, GigaStor can now conduct Expert analysis for network, application and security issues, identify the problem, and eliminate the guess work for IT managers."

bserver 12 Features

In addition to Security Forensics and the Reporting Server, Observer offers several new features that expand its position as a leading analysis solution.

MPLS Analysis and Troubleshooting

Observer provides detailed analysis of an organisation's MPLS network, including quickly isolating MPLS issues, tracking varying MPLS queues, and segmenting the data by label, precedence, and embedded protocol type.

If an organisation is transitioning from ATM or frame relay to MPLS, Observer can provide extensive MPLS reporting to verify that network performance expectations are being met. Service Level Agreements can also be enforced by creating MPLS-specific alarms.

VoIP Expansion

According to a recently released Network Instruments survey, 45 per cent of network engineers indicated they have VoIP running on their network. The adoption of VoIP will continue to increase during 2007 with 30 per cent of respondents planning to implement the technology in the next 12 months. Network Instruments continues to invest and expand the Observer VoIP offering to provide greater support to the countless engineers that use Observer to monitor and optimise VoIP traffic.

Observer now includes support for Avaya CCMS and Nortel UNIStim protocols as well as providing long-term trending for call detail records (CDR).

SSL and SSH Decryption

Observer can be configured with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Secure Shell (SSH) certificates to decrypt secure data.


In line with a recent United States government mandate requiring that all federal agencies support IPv6 by June 2008, Observer has become the first analyser to track, monitor, and report IPv6 traffic.

Automatic Packet Correlation

Observer tracks conversations or transactions as they traverse multiple segments, hops, and routes. Known as MultiHop Analysis, this process has been automated in Observer 12.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.