Plixer Scrutinizer Review

Visualization of the network traffic allows us to drill into information quickly

What is our primary use case?

It's a NetFlow collector.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps provide reporting information to our customers, which is also part of certain regulations that we have in the UK. 

The solution is similar to an automation process because we can automate and schedule reports. From a workflow process, the pipeline is automated. We would need to have a lot of people doing many reports in Excel instead of using one product. The solution emails us when we need it and on a periodic basis automatically.

The insight the solution provides as a result of its correlation of traffic flows and metadata is very good, fast, and accurate. It is one of our go-to tools when there is an issue and we want to do some accounting on the network.

The solution has helped reduce the time to resolution for network and security events by three to four hours.

What is most valuable?

Visualization of the network traffic is the most valuable feature. It allows you to drill into information quite quickly.

The solution helps enrich the data context of our network traffic. It allows us to easily visualize data flows and data usage. This helps keep management happy.

What needs improvement?

It would be useful if there was a way to back up the configuration information. E.g., if you wanted to deploy a new instance or disaster recovery, you could quite easily deploy and restore the config, as opposed to having to restore all the NetFlow data. If there was just a button that said "backup config information", that would be good.

For how long have I used the solution?

About four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We're happy with it. The solution is stable.

We have one person who is required for deployment and maintenance. Their role is network administrator.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable for what we need. It has a lot more functionality than what we use. We can distribute the collection engine and some things like that, but we're not using that because we don't need to. It is there if we do need it.

There are varied roles across different teams. There are about 20 users, in total, who are mainly network operators.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been excellent. Any problems that we have had, the technical support has been able to remedy and resolve them. But, there haven't been very many problems.

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

The workflow integration within a single platform has allowed us to remove redundant tooling. So, it streamlines that process into less workflows. It's allowed us to consolidate network statistical information. We have eliminated tools like SolarWinds, ntop, and some Linux utilities.

The primary reason that we switched to Scrutinizer was the interface. I saw a demonstration of the product at one of the security seminars where it was advertised as Splunk for network data. That's exactly the type of product we were looking for and it gave us that functionality. It was also able to deliver as expected.

Other requirements that we had were that it was multi-vendor, scalable, and a single-appliance solution. So, we didn't need to have a lot of database servers or Microsoft Servers and could run it as a virtual machine.

How was the initial setup?

The product, Scrutinizer, was simple and straightforward to set up. Where we had trouble was not with the actual Plixer product, but with the sFlow sending. Although the issue wasn't with Scrutinizer, the support was able to help us resolve the issue.

The deployment took two weeks, start to finish. We had a test environment. A large part of those two weeks was setting a test environment up, having to play around with how we send data to Scrutinizer, and the NetFlow data. When we did a pilot, it resolved any problems with Scrutinizer directly. Then, we deployed into the live environment.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it. Plixer was there with technical support from the sFlow perspective. We didn't need them for the actual deployment.

What was our ROI?

It probably saves somebody at least one day a month at minimum.

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

We have increased the license over time. We have added more licenses as the network has grown.

There is a recurring maintenance fee after the initial purchase or if we want the license upgrade.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We already had some solutions in place. So, we evaluated Scrutinizer, which did what we needed it to do. At the same time, we were evaluating open source and SolarWinds.

Scrutinizer does exactly what we need it to do. We're very happy with it. We're not looking to change in the short-term or long-term. It's a product that runs without any issues and gives the information that we need.

Compared to previous solutions that we have used, this solution is a lot more intuitive, less clunky, and resource-hungry.

What other advice do I have?

  • Remember to save the reports.
  • Give reports different file names.
  • Understand how to back up and restore the configuration information. 
  • If you use the building tools for the sizing for history information, they're quite accurate. 
  • If you want to go back many months or years, you need more storage for that. 
  • If you want a higher resolution to get into the data, make sure you size appropriately.

Try the free demo or evaluation copy of it. You should be happy with it, if it does what you need it to do. 

I would rate the solution a nine (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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