What is our primary use case?
Over the years, it's been more for packet-capture troubleshooting. But in the last two or three years, we have been using it for application monitoring and expanded our usage because of voice over IP and the communications stuff. It has really expanded a lot, and we've creating dashboards and reports. Originally, it was just a reactive tool. If there was a problem, we'd go capture something and move on. But it has really expanded quite a bit in the last four or five years.
How has it helped my organization?
The solution gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It's recording data all the time, so we have the "before" picture and the "after" picture. That's a big thing.
The Dependency Mapping is very helpful. When everything is instrumented correctly, and we can bring up a Dependency Mapping, sometimes it even surprises people in terms of what the applications are talking to and where the single failures might be.
In addition, in the troubleshooting area, we are able to zero in on an issue more quickly and get things working faster. In areas where we have instrumentation, we have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair.
What is most valuable?
The solution is very reliable.
The best feature is when we have it connected permanently via TAPs. That enables us to constantly collect data and then we can go back in time. Of course, we don't want a given problem to keep happening, but if we weren't able to use the solution to go back in time to when a problem happened, then we would have to hope the problem happens again so we can capture it and figure out what's going on. To be able to rewind, back in time, and see the problem as it happened, is very helpful.
What needs improvement?
In terms of additional features, they have the virtual clients here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, and they have really expanded that. That type of coverage is going to be crucial. The COTS that they are doing now are a very good idea, to lower the price some. We work with them weekly, and if we uncover something, a feature that would be relevant, we usually report it. A lot of times it will get included.
Regarding room for improvement, on a network the size of ours, the loading times seem a little extensive, 20 or 30 seconds to load up some graphs. But there is a lot of data being crunched. That's all server hardware.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
nGeniusONE is very stable. We have very few problems with it.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It scales well also. We are about up to 350 InfiniStreams. We have a multi-tier architecture for the NG1, locals and globals, and backup solutions and the failover solutions for disaster recovery work well.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is very responsive. We have two people onsite that we pay. They work for NETSCOUT and they're very helpful.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
We've had NETSCOUT so long I can't even remember what previous solution we had. We did have a couple of areas where we had Riverbed Technology but we are phasing that out.
How was the initial setup?
For an organization of our size, the setup was fairly complicated. We have a lot of equipment, a lot of tiers. We have a lot of security concerns so we had to shut down ports and we have firewalls and things like that. It may not have been complicated because of NETSCOUT, it just may have been complicated because of the environment.
What about the implementation team?
We did not use any outside resources for the deployment, but we do have onsite people from NETSCOUT.
What other advice do I have?
Take a good look at this. It's been good for us. I've looked at some other solutions and everybody has the same problems to fix. The way that NETSCOUT, the company, is integrating so you get to reuse the data, is good. One of the problems we had originally was that everybody was doing something else. If you are going to capture all this network wire data, why not use it for security and everything. It's all in there. That's a big opportunity with these guys. If you go out and get something for voice from one company, and something to work on your network issues from another company, it's really hard to work them together. You never get to that single pane of glass.
We use the solution for unified communication application performance but that's not really my area. People do use that constantly, and I don't think we'd be paying hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, if it didn't help with uptime and end-user experience.
I rate the product pretty highly, a nine out of ten. The biggest problem we have with this product is the expense. Also lately, the network traffic loads, getting up to 100 gigabytes, are taxing the hardware a little bit. That's a problem everywhere, so it's not really particular to NETSCOUT. They are responding to that. I rate them very highly.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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