What is our primary use case?
We were using ClearSight Analyzer as an analytics platform and a performance platform and it's served us quite well, but when NETSCOUT bought it, NETSCOUT integrated it into their nGeniusONE platform, and it's not the same product anymore.
I use it in place of Wireshark. It's better than Wireshark.
What is most valuable?
Sometimes we're tasked with analyzing traffic flow for an application that we don't know what it does. We speak to the programmers, we speak to the DBAs and they don't have a clue of how it works either, which is very unusual. What ClearSight will do is it actually maps out the conversation for you. Effectively, you can get the same thing out of Wireshark, but it's a lot more looking when you don't know.
Let's say you've got a multi-tiered application with a front-end, some middleware, and then something on the back-end (your database is on the backend). It draws the arrows and it shows you the timing between the front, middle, and back-end and their interactions. And if somebody stops talking, it draws the arrows and shows you.
It just keeps going back to the same thing. You see the question being asked, so it breaks that down and it'll just show you who's not answering. It's a lot more intuitive than Wireshark.
What needs improvement?
I wouldn't want the interface to go towards the web because they did have a version that was inside of the TruView product. It was more web-based and, to me, the web-based applications lose the robustness of the intimacy of a true character interface. I liked that they were on that path and I hope that they stay on that path because it just looks like it's a better product.
I would like to see a multi-user version where you can have a launch platform and, potentially, instead of buying six licenses you buy 12 seats or something like that. From a centralized platform, you could have multiple users using that particular product in a series of different ways. That's what I'd like to see, rather than having everybody running a standalone one on their own workstation.
For how long have I used the solution?
We had ClearSight Analyzer going back to 2014 when Fluke owned a product called TruView.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
ClearSight Analyzer is more of a one-to-one type of a thing. You don't buy ClearSight Analyzer and then have 30 people on the same product at the same time. We use it more one-off.
How are customer service and technical support?
Everything that I got from Fluke was perfect. That was the quintessential organization, I loved them. I was upset when they sold the product to NETSCOUT.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
This is the best protocol analyzer I've used and I've used some from WildPackets and quite a few other places. They were onto something when they made it and they're still onto something now.
My organization is big, it's multifaceted, it's got a bunch of different remote offices. I think at the time we had about 12 of their solutions geographically dispersed. One of the problems that we have is, as an example, a user could call us on a Thursday, we would get a ticket and they'd tell us that something is slow. We start looking and turning on the captions and everything and I'd get the data and realize that I didn't see anything slow.
The reason why this product was so effective is that with the TruView platform, I had it set to "capture," and kept eight days in the buffer so I could go back on it and get the packets from before the problem started and when the user says it started. Then I can start analyzing it and see what changed in the flows. TruView really kept all of the data there as well as the NetFlow data and everything else.
You take this and you combine it with the packets and you're actually seeing the statistical versus the actual packets themselves and you knew what was going on in your network and you know what changed. Turns out, in many of these instances what would happen is the user would have a patch pushed to it, some kind of Windows update or something, and that's usually what would break things, it was never the network that was causing the problem.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty easy. You put a key in and boom, it's off and running. ClearSight was the easiest thing to deploy.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
When I bought the product inside of the TruView product, I had 12 licenses in there and then I bought six standalone licenses. So that meant I could run it on my laptop.
It was pretty modest because you could get it in different ways. I think the six licenses, at that time, were about $1,000 each. But then again, I work for a school and educators tend to get discounts on things. So maybe it cost us about five or six hundred a copy.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I think this was the best packet analyzer that I have been able to find, and I've still been looking at a bunch of others. WildPackets does quite a bit but it does it differently. Maybe at this particular junction, I'm a little more biased just because sometimes we get familiar with something and because it's so intuitive we're less open to earnestly evaluating something else.
What other advice do I have?
I would rate ClearSight Analyzer a ten out of ten.