vRealize Network Insight Review

Enables me to represent network data in a way that management, and non-network engineers, can understand


What is our primary use case?

We use it for network troubleshooting, to provide some capacity reports, and to help generate rules for NSX microsegmentation.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows me to really represent network data in a way that management, and non-network engineers, can understand. That makes it easier for me to make my point.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the ability to look at the traffic flows, to look at NetFlow data, whether it originates from the VMware host or from the harbor host.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see better support for being able to search the hardware NetFlow data. It ingests fairly well, but you can't tell, in a lot of cases, what source the data came from. I'd like to see more support for picking specific sources. That way you could really make a compelling use case.

There are also some difficulties where it can't exactly trace the path between source and destination but if you hit the reverse flow on the same search it shows the entire path. It continues to improve, but I'd like to see better support for hardware stuff.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty stable. There are some random glitches in the Web UI, but they are usually pretty cosmetic in nature. I don't really seem to be able to use any browser other than Chrome with it. I also get some weird errors from time to time on the hardware NetFlow Collectors, where it doesn't sync data. 

But overall, it's pretty reliable and what I need is in there and its miles ahead of what we had before. So the above are not really complaints, more just observations. It's been getting better since we first deployed it when was on 3.23.4, and we're on 3.8 now.

It's really easy to upgrade. We did have one issue during one upgrade, I believe it was the 3.7, where it was just a bad patch and the upgrade went sideways.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have it deployed across four vCenters, four proxy VMs. It seems to take up an awful a lot of resources, but it seems to scale pretty well. We added an entire environment to it and it didn't seem to have any problems with that at all. It adjusted the data very quickly, and I can find what I need really fast.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used the technical support and technical support was awesome. They got done what I needed done, without any hassle. They called me up, said, "We got it fixed." It was great.

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

We used a combination of legacy netflow products, some freeware and the like.

My criteria for selecting a vendor include: is it somebody we already have a relationship with? Do I have to go through the vendor selection process on my end? Is it providing a compelling enough use case to warrant the effort we need to be able to go after it? At a high level, does it fit needs that we have today? What's it going to allow us to get done?

The project workload I have is so high that if it doesn't help me with my day-to-day work, or answer questions or solve a problem, I just don't have time for nice-to-have things. Network Insights has been pretty critical, helping me out. I'm working on so many projects running the business that I need all the help I can get with that. It's been great.

How was the initial setup?

It was a super easy setup. I deployed it myself in about an hour, and I have been working with it ever since. We deployed it, initially, for an assessment and then we turned on the demo license and I said, "Okay this is awesome", and we bought it.

It's incredibly powerful for how easy it was to set up.

What was our ROI?

The value that I have seen is that I spend less time troubleshooting the same problems. It has insight into the virtual environment and the hardware environment, so I'm able to trace problems fairly quickly. I can turn around to a ticket and say, "No it's not the network, here's the graph, this is why". That enables me to get back into project work, which is mostly security, and that benefits the business a lot. It takes a lot off my plate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at some Netscout stuff but it just wasn't working out. We looked at Cisco Tetration Analytics instead but it wasn't giving us what we wanted.

What other advice do I have?

There is not an easier way to do this. If you have unlimited time, maybe go look at something else. But if you don't, then this is would be the way to do it.

I rate it a nine out of 10. It's a fantastic product, it's great. Some of the things I think it should be able to search on, it doesn't. I would also like to see tighter integration with some logging and SNMP-type information. I also use Splunk so I'd like to see something with Splunk. I know it can do vRealize Log Insight but that doesn't seem to do a whole lot for me yet. I only gave it a nine because I know there's so much more potential there. I would tell anybody "Get it". I rated it very highly but there's a lot more potential and room to grow.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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