What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature would be the ability to deep-dive into the network stack, reasonably quickly, reasonably effectively, and generate useful transaction data for troubleshooting and analysis.
For example, if you have a transmission between yourself and a customer, oftentimes there might be latency, there might be whatever the connectivity issue is. There are millions of different things that could happen. Using NetMaster it's easy to dig into the TCP/IP stack and generate useful data to troubleshoot where the problem is. That allows you to fix the solution based on targeted troubleshooting because there's so much data there, versus just pointing fingers and saying "Hey it's your problem," "No it's your problem."
How has it helped my organization?
Time to resolve is improved. Downtime is the single most expensive thing that a company can encounter, so reduced downtime is the biggest thing.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see a web-based interface that mimics the ease of doing data traces, similar to something like a Wireshark which is a Windows-based network monitoring tool. Wireshark is fast. I'm an old Windows guy, it's what I know.
I think the liability of NetMaster is having to do things through the panels. It's slow to generate traces, and when you're doing a real-time troubleshooting call - when you have to wait 30 seconds for a process to spawn and fire up in order to give data back - 30 seconds is a long time when there's an issue.
The user interface is probably the biggest impediment to my success with it.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability seems to be fine. I don't know that scalability applies. It runs on an LPAR basis so its boundary is within the environment with which it's installed. Scalability is not the issue.
How are customer service and technical support?
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
NetMaster was there when I got there. I probably have some small say into, does it stay here forever or do we go with something maybe more affordable, less expensive.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We have not looked at, but would consider looking at, anything in the IBM suite, for example, or BMC, or whatever other competing products. I consider NetMaster to be the best-of-breed. That's more of a Windows term, I think, best-of-breed, like VMware would be for virtualization. I consider NetMaster to be the best-of-breed for network.
What other advice do I have?
Understand that upfront cost is not the most important part of the solution. Usability, supportability, upgradeability, all that matters; and nobody measures that. All people look at is "Oh wait. That's more expensive to buy. I can't have that." And that's only a portion of it, so I'd be cognizant of the fact that the lifecycle of the product is the cost you should be considering, not just the upfront cost.