NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Review

Enables us to be more proactive regarding bandwidth, but it is not simple to deploy, operate, or maintain

What is our primary use case?

The main application that we use is NetFlow: all the NetFlow traffic, monitoring, bandwidth utilization, top-talkers, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We are using nGeniusONE to run our bandwidth capacity management reports. In the past, we used to be very reactive, we used to depend a lot on suppliers to tell us which sites are our hot sites, meaning, which have high bandwidth utilization. Now we do this in a much more proactive way and we are moving to a more predictive approach in that aspect, thanks to nGeniusONE.

What is most valuable?

The most important feature in my regular operations is the NetFlow traffic analysis. It also has a packet inspection or packet analysis although that's something that we use less. 

In addition, the ability to be able to do detailed traffic analysis such as top-talkers, application-specific monitoring, and understanding them through patterns, is helpful. We're also able to gain an understanding of voice calls, voice traffic, whether we have packet loss in a certain part of the network or jitter or high latency that might be impacting the network. All of those are nice functionalities.

What needs improvement?

Most of the functionality I mentioned above could be improved, to be honest.

Also, it's not intuitive, it's not simple to use. It is probably the only monitoring tool, out of all the ones that I have, that I really need an expert on, an expert from nGenius, a contractor that I have to pay, to manage the tool. And that's because it's simply not easy to use. NETSCOUT needs to focus on making it easier to use. I should not need to pay an expensive resource to be able to manage the tool for me. With any other tool, I'm able to do that management internally. They should focus on the user experience, not just on the capabilities that they can provide. User experience is important these days. That would be one area where it could be improved.

Another, which might be related, is that it's almost like "white elephant." There are so many features that it makes it hard to know it all. You end up paying for things that you don't use and probably don't even need. It might be better if NETSCOUT came up with a modular way to pay for what you're going to use and not pay for all of this "white elephant" without being able to take advantage of all of it.

I also think that it's a little too dependent on physical agents all over the place. If they were able to move a bit more to the virtual environment that would be better. I believe that we still depend too much on physical appliances to get the most out of the tool. And by the way, I recently found out that they do have some virtual environments that they can deploy but I'm not sure that it's widely known yet.

Those are the main areas that I would improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't necessarily encountered issues from the stability perspective, but I certainly find it inconsistent in the way it drives reports. For example, if you follow the standard procedure to monitor size or to monitor bandwidth, you're going to find that for about 30 percent of them you will have to do some level of tweaking and customization to make it work. It seems to either have a number of bugs in the tool that we have been reporting and they have been fixing as they go, or it's just part of the functionality that we have to do things differently for a lot of sites. It's not stability, it's more from a standardization perspective. I think that they would do better if they simplified the rollout process.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not had any problems with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. But then again, I would expect it to be great because I'm paying a fortune just to have a dedicated contractor from NETSCOUT in my office, to be available. But I don't know if we'd have the same level of support, I don't know if it would be as easy to improve and patch and continue with the operation, if I were not paying for dedicated support. 

On a scale of zero to ten, I would say support is a five. I don't think many tools out there in the market require having a dedicated person just to support a monitoring tool.

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

Before NETSCOUT we were in the "prehistoric era" and we were not using another tool. NETSCOUT was the first tool that we started using for this purpose.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex and that relates, in part, to the simplicity issue that I mentioned earlier.

Not just the initial set up, even migrating from one version to another, like 5.3 to 5.5, was an entirely new setup from scratch. We had to change boxes, we had to change software, we were not able to migrate databases. We had to load everything from scratch. It's like we were installing the tool for the very first time. It was a very cumbersome process.

It all comes back to the user experience feedback that I provided earlier. That's the biggest opportunity area for NETSCOUT. It is not simple to deploy, not simple to operate, not simple to maintain.

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

Again, it's kind of a "white elephant." If you are able and you are willing to use everything that NETSCOUT provides to you, it's probably a relatively fair price. The problem is that it's such a large and such a complex tool that I'm not sure that many companies would be able to use it entirely, the way it's expected to be used.

So what I'm paying today, based on the value that I'm getting out of the tool, makes me believe that I'm overpaying. You pay for the entire thing whether you use it or not. And these days, that's not the wisest way to go.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are a few other options that we are currently evaluating. They include:

Now, I understand that most of these tools are only providing a subset of what NETSCOUT can provide. I'm perfectly aware of that. But that's exactly what I meant before about the modularity. Right now, I feel that I'm overpaying for a huge product that I'm not fully leveraging and I'm not sure that I want to fully leverage. I would rather pay less money for a tool that is going to give me exactly what I need, even if it doesn't have all the functionality that NETSCOUT can provide.

**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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