NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Review

Gives us network KPIs and increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment

What is our primary use case?

We are a telco company and we are using nGeniusONE to do a survey of our core network. We created different services based on nodes and based on services like VoLTE and the like. Our use cases are mainly to provide KPIs and to detect anomalies in case of an issue in the network.

How has it helped my organization?

Before we were pretty weak in network KPIs. That's the area where we have improved as a result of the solution, based on the service.

The solution transforms packet wire data into real-time data that is actionable. It helps us with faster detection of issues and allows us to create alerts.

It also provides the right people in our company with the right information in a single pane of glass view. There is always a place for improvement, but it does so. We have created a special dashboard for different teams so that each team has a relevant dashboard for the system.

In addition, nGeniusONE provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. When we are launching a new node or a new application, it gives us a way to check that traffic has moved from one node to the other and that we still have the same level of traffic and the same success ratios.

It also helps us to get to root cause quickly, for sure, with the drill-down. If we see an issue on a KPI or we have an alert, we drill down to get into the special cases — tracing and that kind of thing — to detect the root cause.

Using nGeniusONE for unified communication application performance for VoIP helps us with uptime and user experience. We can see, for a given call, if it is a one-way or there are gaps.

What is most valuable?

The main feature, for us, is the dashboard. That is the main way we are using the solution to detect issues and to create alarms.

The drill-down is definitely interesting.

We are also using another tool from NETSCOUT, for tracing, called Iris Session Analyzer.

What needs improvement?

The solution's ability to transform packet wire data into well-structured contextual data works pretty well. But sometimes we've had issues because when we want to present some KPIs, not all the formats are available at the same time. When we think it would be better to present a KPI in a certain way, that means we have to remove another presentation. For example, there was a point in GTP where we were creating services on nodes and after that we wanted to have services on APN. We can't have both. That should come with the next release, but we are still not on version 6.3. So there are some limitations with these types of things. When we would like to use a feature, we have to remove another one. For me it's a bit of a drawback. I'm a bit frustrated with it. I would like to have everything, at all times.

For me, it would also be good to be able to split the system. For example, I would like a user to have rights for some probes but not the same rights for other probes. I'm thinking about a laboratory where we have probes and I would like to give all the rights in the laboratory to all users. I would like to have everything in the same system. We have users who can use both production and the laboratory but we aren't always able to specify that a user has access to only this part of the installation, or the hardware, while another user has access to another part. I would like to give a user rights to see everything in one part, but to have limitations in other parts, due to data protection.

Otherwise, the product is efficient and we are able to do most of the work which is required.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using NETSCOUT nGeniusONE for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability could be a bit better. We are working right now to find solutions to improve the stability and we are in discussions with NETSCOUT about that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution's distributed architecture, in terms of being both lightweight and scalable, is pretty good. The ability to distribute the solution is good. We have more and more use cases with virtualized systems, so we need a way to be able to distribute the solution on different clouds and sites.

There are about 100 users.

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

Previously we were using Tektronix, and that became NETSCOUT. We took nGeniusONE to improve our ability to detect issues. We were mainly working with a tracing system and nGeniusONE brought us more network visibility, with KPIs based on the network itself, and on the traffic in the network.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty complex. For me it was complex to configure everything as needed to be efficient: to get all the data, to have some reliability, and some confidence in the data quality. It was time-consuming. We need to understand what was possible, what was the best solution for evaluating a service, etc.

In one sense, the deployment is a never ending story, because each year we have new services and we need more capacity. We are always implementing new things. But the initial deployment itself took us almost a year.

In terms of our experience with NETSCOUT's customer support during deployment and post deployment, here are two levels. The first level was their people who are in direct contact with us and that level was good. When they needed support from development and R&D, at that level we had some quite long delays, at times, and the response was less good.

As for the learning curve, when people are used to working with the system, it's okay. At the beginning we had some training, but now, if a new colleague comes in, we can train him internally. We help colleagues on different teams by giving them training. With one day of training, you can already provide a lot of hints and information. After that, people need to learn by doing.

When it comes to administration, there are three of us who are mainly involved, but it's not 100 percent of the time for any of us. It might be the equivalent of one FTE. I'm a network engineer and I'm mainly involved in the monitoring and probing of new applications. When new services come out I work on increasing the capacity and evolving the system. So I'm not the main user working each day with it.

What about the implementation team?

We have worked directly with a NETSCOUT consultant. We have a reseller, but direct contact with NETSCOUT is very important for me.

What was our ROI?

We needed this type of a solution. Without it we are fully blind. We can't even launch a service without one solution or another. We needed to put something in place, but I don't have figures or a monetary value for ROI. It gives us visibility.

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

The pricing is fair.

We have a yearly agreement that covers extensions, etc. There are no additional costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other solutions much because we already had a probe installed with Tektronix. NETSCOUT was quite a natural way to extend what already existed. We decided not to remove everything that was in place, but to extend instead.

What other advice do I have?

It's a good tool. You need to have a clear view of what you need before you evaluate the system.

Automatic discovery and mapping of client-server relationships is not something we are using much, because we are more at the level of the network and a bit less at the level of all the servers and the internet application server.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using nGeniusONE is that to get good results from the system, you need good knowledge of the network. The system will, for sure, help to find issues, but it's not possible to have someone working with it, someone who doesn't know the network, and have that person fully use this type of system.

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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