NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Review

We use it every day for the triaging of events, saving us a lot of time

What is our primary use case?

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.

How has it helped my organization?

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.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

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.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is a good thing.

I have about 50 users who are technicians.

How are customer service and technical support?

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.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

When I was first hired on, we had one InfiniStream. We've had those ever since.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

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."

What was our ROI?

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.

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

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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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.

What other advice do I have?

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.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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