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Accedian Skylight OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Accedian Skylight is #12 ranked solution in APM tools and #25 ranked solution in best Network Monitoring Tools. IT Central Station users give Accedian Skylight an average rating of 10 out of 10. Accedian Skylight is most commonly compared to ThousandEyes: Accedian Skylight vs ThousandEyes. The top industry researching this solution is Computer Software Company, accounting for 34% of all views.
What is Accedian Skylight?

Accedian provides performance analytics and end user experience solutions for on-premise, cloud and hybrid IT infrastructures. Accedian SkylightTM delivers unified network and application performance monitoring (NAPM) visibility across the entire application and network chain, with best in class resolution and velocity. This enables Accedian customers to assure their business-critical digital infrastructure and unlock the full productivity of their users.

Accedian Skylight is also known as Accedian SkyLIGHT PVX, SkyLIGHT PVX, SecurActive, Performance Vision.

Accedian Skylight Buyer's Guide

Download the Accedian Skylight Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Accedian Skylight Customers

T-Systems, Thomson Reuters, Bordeaux Metropole, CGI, Citadelle Regional Hospital Center, Lorraine Institute of Oncology, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Groupe BPCE, Group S, Splitpoint, Horus-Net, Audatex, Indexis, Province de Liège, EASI, Spie Batignolles, Faymonville

Accedian Skylight Video

Archived Accedian Skylight Reviews (more than two years old)

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reviewer1188207
User at a media company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
End-to-end performance monitoring improves our troubleshooting capability

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to measure performance end-to-end across the cloud data center allows us to take corrective action to keep our channels online."
  • "This solution is expensive compared to some others."

What is our primary use case?

We are looking into systems that will provide users with end-to-end application and network performance monitoring in real-time. Media and broadcasting place quite high demands and, consequently, the ability to know exactly what's going on is key to success.

How has it helped my organization?

We're still in the research stage. We are looking to test performance management systems on a standalone network, which we will load with real-world traffic. We will conduct these tests this year. It's yet to go live, but testing has been very positive.

What is most valuable?

Media and broadcasting place quite high demands on resources and the key to success is knowing exactly what is going on. The ability to measure performance end-to-end across the cloud data center allows us to take corrective action to keep our channels online.

What needs improvement?

This solution is expensive compared to some others.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been evaluating this solution for about a month.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability of this solution seems to be generally good.

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

We did not use another solution prior to this one.

What about the implementation team?

We enlisted help to assist our in-house team with the implementation.

What was our ROI?

We have yet to develop a business case, so ROI is not a primary consideration.

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

We understand there's a significant cost difference, but have yet to investigate fully.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're in the process of evaluating and have not chosen a solution yet.

What other advice do I have?

The scale we are dealing with exceeds the capability of most performance management tools, so we're keen on seeing systems that scale to support the millions of people who consume BBC media.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: we're researching performance management with a view to improve current systems
Joel Baczynski
Network Administrator at CHR Citadelle
Real User
Makes it easier to troubleshoot, to get a view of my network's health

Pros and Cons

  • "I always have the Skylight dashboard on one of my screens... Now you can create your own dashboard, specific to an application, specific to a server, or to something else."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a hospital and we have a lot of external consultants and a lot of external programs. When we have a performance problem with a program, generally the response of the consultant is, "Oh, it's your network, your infrastructure, your server." With Skylight it's easy to prove that the problem is not our infrastructure and, in most cases, the problem is the application.

    We use it to improve the performance of the database tables as well as for our Citrix solution.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I do a lot of troubleshooting with Skylight, troubleshooting network speed and application performance. It's really good because we have all the metrics, and it's very easy to find a direct route to the problem.

    For example, one month ago we had to change a lot of servers in a laboratory. Before the change of the infrastructure, we took a snapshot of the network infrastructure and the performance. After the replacement of the servers, we took the same snapshot, the same picture of the network and the performance. We could see if the network was better and if the server performance was better than the old server. It was easy for us to see if the replacement of the hardware was good or not; or, after the virtualization of a server, if the performance is better or not. Without Skylight it would be difficult to compare because we would not have any measurements.

    My work is easier with Skylight. It's easier to troubleshoot. It's easier to get a view of my network's health.

    It has also helped to improve the interaction between our network, data center, and application teams. I can generate a report, for example, of database status or health. It makes it easier to discuss with the database administrators, to explain where a problem is. It's much easier to explain issues and to discuss them with the correct guy.

    It's very important for us to have it. We save a lot of time when we have a problem. It's very easy to point to the problem and to get to the solution, whether it's a network problem, an application problem, or a server problem. It's very easy with Skylight.

    In addition, it has improved productivity for sure. Regarding improvements in downtime, it's difficult to evaluate because we had a lot of other sensors to help us know if a server had a problem or if there was a database problem. If it was a big crash, for example, we had that information before we started using Skylight. If the issue is a degradation of an application or a service, Skylight is very useful because we see it on the main dashboard. We see all the applications. It's a critical application. If we have a green, and after that it's orange and then red, we know we have a problem. It's easy.

    What is most valuable?

    All the features are valuable. I am a network engineer, so I principally use the network sensor. 

    I always have the Skylight dashboard on one of my screens. The dashboard used to be very simple, a fixed dashboard, you couldn't change anything on it. But there has been a lot of improvement in the new version. Now you can create your own dashboard, specific to an application, specific to a server, or to something else.

    The UI is very comfortable, it's very useful. It's very simple to use. It's very simple to explain to someone who doesn't know what a network is.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's a very stable application. I have never had to reboot the server, other than after an upgrade. And to upgrade it takes about ten minutes.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The product is very scalable.

    We have two internal data centers and two external data centers; one for production and one for the development. We have about 200 access switches. We have Citrix farms and about 200 servers with Windows and Linux. We have a mainframe. It's a large environment.

    We have had no issues with scaling.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support from the Skylight is very good. When we have a problem with deploying or configuring something, it's very easy to contact technical support and they are very good. In general, within one hour, we have the response to our problem. It's the quickest support I see, and I use technical support from Cisco, from Palo Alto. Skylight support is very fast.

    We had to escalate an issue one time. They redirected me to R&D and I had a response in one or two hours, with the correction I needed.

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

    We didn't use anything before Skylight.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of Skylight is very easy. It takes about ten minutes. In ten minutes the server is running and it's collecting information. That ten minutes is when you have a physical version. For a VMware version it takes about one hour to deploy it, but it's very easy. 

    The initial deployment is easy, but for the rest, day-to-day, there is work: To configure the zones, the critical networks, critical applications, it's day-to-day. The initial setup is easy, but afterward, I worked on it for about an hour every day. The configuration is ongoing.

    What about the implementation team?

    I deployed it directly.

    What was our ROI?

    It has clearly saved us money. For example, when we have a problem with an external application and we meet with the distributor of the application, they will say, "Okay, the problem is the performance of the server." The distributor will suggest we get a new server with more capacity, more disk, more memory, more everything. We can prove, with Skylight, that the problem is not on the server. We can prove that the problem is not on the network. We can prove that the problem is due to the database's structure. When we put the diagram in front of the distributor he says, "Ahh. Okay." And the database administrator can say, "Okay. Just add an index here, an index here," and after that, the product is good to go. So we have saved a lot of money there.

    Before we had Skylight's analysis, the people who use the application would spend a lot of time in the application and would lose a lot of time waiting for it. After we proved that the problem is the application, and after fixing the problem, its speed improved a lot.

    It's difficult to quantify the money we have saved with it, because it's money for a server, it's money for the time of the people involved with the application, it's money for the time of our networker equipment, etc.

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

    Pricing is a little bit expensive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I tried SolarWinds before, but it's more expensive.

    What other advice do I have?

    I used the first version, it was called Secure Active. After that, its name was Performance Vision. And now it's Skylight.

    With each new version of Skylight, there are a lot of new features.

    I am the principal user of Skylight. When anybody in the service - about 20 people - has a problem, they come to me and I generate the reports. But I'm the only one who uses SkyLIGHT.

    We don't have any plans to expand usage as of now.

    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.
    Learn what your peers think about Accedian Skylight. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
    543,424 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    BJ
    Freelance IT Consultant at SPW (Service Public de Wallonie)
    Consultant
    Helps us identify where a bottleneck is and has significantly reduced our MTTR

    Pros and Cons

    • "Capturing traffic [is very interesting]. Currently, with our configuration, we don't capture the payload of the packets, just the header. But when we want the body, the payload of the packets, we can do a PCAP, and then analyze it within Wireshark."
    • "It's a bit slow. When I execute a query, something general with a short timeframe that covers one month, for instance, and I do not specify the IP source or IP destination, it can take ages because it has to query the whole database."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to troubleshoot application issues. For instance, when an application is slow we can identify where the bottleneck is in the chain.

    How has it helped my organization?

    In terms of network troubleshooting, we had an issue with an application, that it was slow for certain users. We didn't understand why. We started to investigate and, thanks to Skylight, we were able to see that the application was very chatty. It was fetching lines one-by-one. That meant it had to do many transactions to get the full bundle from the host. Skylight helped a lot in this case because we could see that there were 1,000,000 small transactions instead of just a few.

    We didn't have a tool before to investigate end-to-end performance issues. Thanks to Skylight we have a tool for this kind of investigation. When business users are complaining about application problems, we are able at least to identify where the bottleneck is. Of course, if the bottleneck is on the server itself, we will use tools other than Skylight because it is more for network investigation than on the server side. With Skylight we can identify that most of the time is spent on the database or on the proxy or on the application server. It has sped up investigations a lot. Before, we had to spend more time to identify in which block the bottleneck was found. Now it's much faster. It has reduced our mean time to respond by at least 50 percent.

    In addition, sometimes users complain that they are not getting the data they want. Thanks to Skylight and the PCAP functionality, we are able to capture the traffic and to confirm whether the data was transmitted or not. It's quite important in terms of proof.

    Skylight has helped to improve the interaction between our network data center and application teams. The server people are now aware of the possibility of investigating the traffic. Thus, when a technical team is facing an issue, they always think, "Okay, maybe I can get more information thanks to Skylight."

    What is most valuable?

    The application modules are quite interesting. I mainly use a CTP module, but I also use a SQL module as well to note the queries sent to the database. We are going to use another module for Active Directory.

    What is also very interesting is capturing traffic. The solution generates a PCAP and after we can view the PCAP in Wireshark. Currently, with our configuration, we don't capture the payload of the packets, just the header. But when we want the body, the payload of the packets, we can do a PCAP, and then analyze it within Wireshark.

    The UI is quite straightforward. We can easily identify the menu we need to get specific statistics. It's okay. We are not yet using the dashboarding, which is a recently added feature.

    What needs improvement?

    It's a bit slow. When I execute a query, something general with a short timeframe that covers one month, for instance, and I do not specify the IP source or IP destination, it can take ages because it has to query the whole database. That is a bit slow. It can take two or three minutes to get the results. It would be helpful if they improved the way the database is optimized. To improve on this, we have purchased an appliance with disk. Up until now, we used mechanical disks. We are going to change our Skylight architecture and use an SSD disk with the appliance. We are tackling this issue with a new architecture.

    Another negative point is the fact that we don't know where the retention of data occurs. But the more we go into the past, the less data we get. And it's not crystal clear at what point we are losing data. For example, if I take the data from one week ago, it's less detailed than data from one hour ago. We don't know at which point we are losing the granularity. We need to be aware that if we are looking for data from two days ago, we only have granularity of one hour. If we are looking for data from one hour ago, we have granularity of one minute. This is not indicated in the application. It's not mentioned.

    One other issue is that it is not so easy to get the binaries from the website, for updating. Once we know where to find the binaries, updating easy.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Skylight is very stable. I do not remember having an issue with it. It can be slow when we are running big queries on a large timeframe, but if we do small queries it's fast. I don't remember any crashes. It's quite stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is our issue. We are collecting more and more data but we are still on mechanical disks. That's why we have decided to go with a new appliance with a local SSD disk. We expect to have better scalability with the new architecture. This is something to keep in mind with the product: The number of flows, the type of disk, and the amount of data.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is good but we are going through our partner. They are responsive. They answer quite fast and usually with the right solution.

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

    We are using PRTG and Nimsoft. These are more general monitoring tools, not specialized in network analysis. We are also using a network tool for latency.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. It was a fast installation. The deployment took less than five days.

    We had to identify where to put the probes because we could put them on a physical connection or on virtual connections. We have a network which is quite complex, with more than 200 sites and two data centers. So the first question to answer was where to put the probes. After that was decided it was easy. We put the appliance in the rack and we asked the network team to cable the connection with the router. It was simple.

    The setup required one person from the external consultant and we dedicated one network engineer for a couple of days. After installation, maintenance of the solution requires half a day per month; maybe four or five days a year. It's minimal. And when there is an update, deploying it is quite straightforward. It's not a big deal, it takes one hour.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used an external consultant to install the product. They helped us a lot with the setup for a reasonable price. It was matter of days to get everything working. In addition, they gave us support in terms of training. When we ask questions they're quite responsive.

    What was our ROI?

    It may have saved us money but it's difficult to quantify. But if we are able to demonstrate that we can identify where a problem is, that's already something positive. Before, we struggled a lot to say, "Okay, the problem is on the database or the problem is with the application server." But thanks to Skylight, we can say, "Okay, the problem is there," and we can investigate more within that specific block.

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

    It's not for free, clearly. But on the other hand, it offers very interesting functionality. We pay around €100,000.

    Maybe they should have a price for public sector organizations. I don't know if they differentiate between public and private sector organizations.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We are a big organization with around 10,000 people and 200 sites. So we are considering other APM solutions that are highly rated in industry reviews. We are considering Dynatrace, but we have not yet purchased that product. We are still with Skylight.

    What other advice do I have?

    It provides a better view of your infrastructure. You know better when the big flows are going through. It gives us a better picture of where the pain points are. For instance, if there is big traffic between 9 pm and 2 AM, that's due to the backups. It gives a better overview of how the data flows are working.

    We have VMware onsite but we are not using an external cloud so we are not using it for performance and traffic monitoring of a cloud environment.

    We currently have four people using the tool: me and two people on the network team and one person on the end-user computing team, because sometimes people complain that their PC is slow.

    People are already aware that it exists within our organization. The next step is to extend it to a few people. There is a notion of the privacy of the data. We can't give the tool to everybody. Otherwise, they will see that Mister X is surfing on this website, etc. It's very important for our organization to have this under control. So maybe there will be two or three more people using it, but not 100 people.

    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.
    MO
    Network Architect at a recruiting/HR firm with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Saved us a few servers that we would have bought, not knowing that developers were making mistakes

    Pros and Cons

    • "If [the problem] is something related to HTTP or VoIP, then I can have a quick look into the protocols, a process which gives me some good ideas..."
    • "The response times, with the performance, are really interesting too, where you can see the packet loss."
    • "If you want a new version, you go to the website. The hardest part is finding the link, where is that .bin file? Sometimes it's pretty hidden in a document... it's hidden in the release notes or in another file somewhere. And it's usually not on the first page either."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use case is troubleshooting. If a user starts to complain about something that's not working, we have a look into it. 

    It depends on whether it's already into the mirrors or not, because that's a problem at the moment. We have most of our servers on ESX machines at the moment, and each of these machines have dual 10-giga links. Putting them all together with a mirror onto only one 10-giga link makes it drop packets. I usually don't do that. I usually only put one or two of those servers into the mirror to avoid too much packet loss.

    In the future we should go for a more distributed version, where we have Skylight on each ESX server so we don't lose any information at all. But at the moment, we have just one big appliance, called Site Extra Large, and we are running 5.1.3R1.

    How has it helped my organization?

    In terms of network troubleshooting, not so long ago a new company started (IT hosted on our location), and one of them was complaining about QoS trouble with VoIP telephony. They decided to go with a cloud telephony solution where I did have no say in it. I had to tell them, "I have no idea how this thing works. I have no visibility into any of the management of that solution." They were complaining about bad voice quality. Normally, I shouldn't have been able to know anything about it. But I thought I would just put Skylight on it for a moment to have a look at what was happening. I changed the mirror for a while so that Skylight could see the traffic, and it didn't take long to figure out that there were a few agencies that the company was using that had, at certain moments in time, some notable packet loss and some bad MOS scores on the VoIP part.

    With that information, I was able to go to the company that gave us the SIP trunk and tell them about it. They changed some parameters, because there was something wrong on their side, and it was fixed. 

    Without that hard information it would have been pretty difficult to find things like that. Skylight is not used on a daily basis, but when it's used it usually helps to fix a problem pretty fast. I don't really have to look into multiple devices because it captures most of them. With that information I can usually say, "Okay, why is your server slow? Maybe you should not have all the thin clients asking every ten seconds about some server." If you have 1,000 thin clients, suddenly you have 100 requests every second.

    That's what you can easily see with Skylight

    I have no idea how much time it has saved when it comes to response time, but I am comfortable saying "a lot."

    In terms of helping improve interaction between our network, server, desktop and database teams, we're all in the same boat. It has helped me a lot when they have had serious issues. It helps me to say, "You came to me with an issue, I found this information. Which points to a specific problem at some team".  It helps them, of course, in figuring out why something is slow/not working... It helps us saving time. We can look for a solution, not the problem.

    In the past, we had some serious loads on a file cluster, which was mainly due to a few procedures doing some bad things, like passing through an entire directory and asking for every file in the directory tree one by one. While doing that, it continually opened and closed all the total transactions. So it was incredibly slow and incredibly heavy, because of one bad procedure. Skylight helped us a lot at that point in time, especially the server team, to figure out why the file cluster was slow. In the end it was a simple procedure creating havoc on the FILE Cluster. Hard to find when you can't see CIFS traffic.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the first things I'll do is look into bandwidth. With the bandwidth, I usually already have an idea if there is an issue or not. And I'll have a look into the errors of course. 

    If it's something related to HTTP or VoIP, then I can have a quick look into the protocols, a process which gives me some good ideas too. 

    The response times, with the performance, are really interesting too, where you can see the packet loss.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had some issues. One of them was with Nexus, but that was a missing feature. I don't think you can call that a stability issue.

    We had one issue which was pretty annoying. The slave Secure Active was running at our new data center and, when we rebooted it, it just didn't work from the get-go. We needed to boot it again. I never really figured out what it was. Nowadays, it's not doing that anymore, so I guess they found the reason why it was happening.

    We also had an issue with licensing when we did an upgrade: All the licensing was gone. We needed to request new licensing and they said, "We're very sorry." That took a few days but it wasn't really a stability issue either.

    Once we lost all the information about the data. I didn't truly care about that because the data from the past is not that important for us. They felt really bad about it and they fixed it because we have never had that issue again. 

    So these are not really stability issues, and every time there was something they were spot on; maybe not immediately, but they fixed it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    When it comes to scalability, there is never enough, of course. I can't put all my servers on it, but it's a lot better. It's an issue at the moment for us. We have now one big box and the changes are not a problem related to Skylight, it's more an issue for our company. When we bought new appliances, most of the servers were not really virtualized yet. Not much time later, we went for a totally new data center and a totally new way of working, where it was becoming mandatory to have it all virtualized.

    Now, pretty much all of the servers are virtualized, which is great because if something is down you can just put in on another server, vMotion, and it works fine. But if you don't have Skylight running on each of those servers or some mirror on each of those servers, then you are not capable of capturing all the traffic because the server can at any time change to another server. It's a lot harder at the moment. We have to juggle things with the other teams and make sure we're all on the same page, that they don't move the server at that point in time.

    So scalability, at the moment, is pretty bad for us now, because our modus operandi have totally shifted. We now need a more distributed solution, which is something we'll probably look into the future. We are going to need to buy the licensing to get it running on each of those servers, which would be the ideal solution. Another solution could probably be going for a 40-gig port, and maybe an even bigger appliance. But I wouldn't really like it because it would still mean that we would lose quite a large amount of information, such as from what server it is actually coming at the moment.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    All the things I wanted, they put in. That's what I like about them. They did listen to me. I got a modification for the VoIP. They changed the handling of the system because we had some Nexus 5648Q switches here, which seemed to be capturing traffic in a different way, which made it unreadable for a while. But a few months later there was a version that was capable of reading all of it.

    They do listen. I hope that remains when they are absorbed by this new company, Skylight. I was pretty happy with the interaction with them.

    Tech support is good. They usually respond within a day. They are highly knowledgeable, and mostly it's not coming from some theoretical stuff, it's real-life knowledge. They know how their solution works in real life, not just how it should work. I rate them really highly in support.

    Every guy I have had until now at Secure Active, I got the impression that I wasn't only talking to some support guy who only does support. I got the impression that most of those guys who do support do programming on a regular basis, and that some of the lead programmers sometimes do support. They're really highly knowledgeable. I don't think you could get that kind of knowledge without really knowing how it works. It's really impressive. It's definitely not Cisco's standard. On Cisco's standard you're trying to get out as fast as you can from the first level.

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

    We didn't have a solution seven years ago, before this one. I know that determining problems used to be difficult. The reason why we bought Skylight, which, in the past, I knew as Secure Active, was that at that point in time we had some serious issues with printers at locations where the bandwidth usage was really high. We couldn't figure out what was happening, which jobs were the issue. With Skylight we found the exact times when printer calls were made. We saw from whom and where to; from all the sites. Something was sent to that printer and then this printer. It was just a matter of looking into the printer information and finding out what kind of print job it was. We found out that PostScript was s badly configured on some spoolers, so we needed to change the PostScript driver/configuration.

    But before we had SkyLIGHT, we had months of issues and there was always a time crunch involved in figuring out why some agencies were slow. We saw peaks but we couldn't figure out why there were some serious peaks. That's when we figured out the PostScript drivers were badly configured, simply because some of printing jobs were 50 megabytes or 100 megabytes for only two or three pages. There was something terribly wrong with drivers/configuration.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's hard for me to say anything about the initial setup because we did it seven years ago. At that point in time, I had some help from them. But it was, in my opinion, pretty easy. This solution is for hardware network or data center guys. It's not for a simple user who is not going to understand anything about it, at first glance anyway. But for the people it's made for, it should be easy for them to figure out what's going on. Putting in capture ports is easy, defining zones, defining VLANS, etc. is easy. As soon as you have done that then you already have something functional, and you get a lot of information out of it.

    Even starting with a reasonably simple configuration is going to make a huge difference when you start using it for troubleshooting - and you are going to find issues. The question is not whether you will find issues. The question is, do you have time to figure out these issues, and are they your issues? You can fix your issues and send issues that are not network related to the other teams, and let them figure them out, if they have time.

    The length of time for deployment depends. The last deployment of the new system was pretty much a copy-paste operation. It took less than one day. In the beginning it took me about a week, figuring out configuration. 

    That's another thing that's interesting. You should better think in advance about how you're going to configure all your zones. Zone configuration is interesting for the matrix, and if you don't put your configuration into an easily readable setup, it's going to be hard to get interesting information about that matrix. And that matrix is actually quite interesting to have. It's probably very slow as well because, if you're like me, you have an enormous number of zones, a few hundred zones. It's not so easy to show a matrix with a few hundred zones on the browser. So zone configuration is pretty important. The way I do it is, I have my internet, I have my internal LAN, which I split into voice and into data. I split my data into locations, etc.

    I can easily see the difference: Is it voice/data, is it client/server, internet/local what is the location...? If you don't do that correctly with sub-zones or the like, it's going to be way harder to figure things out.

    It has always been me who is the only one who does deployments. My colleagues use Skylight also, but they are more into looking up some stuff. They don't really configure it.

    Maintenance is also just me but it's pretty easy. If you want a new version, you go to the website. The hardest part is finding the link, where is that .bin file? Sometimes it's pretty hidden in a document. They could put it more easily in Salesforce, because now it's hidden in the release notes or in another file somewhere. And it's usually not on the first page either. Somewhere in the last pages you usually find something like, "Here's the location where you can download the file." I'm not saying it's hard. I'm just saying it's the hardest part. In a way, it's a good thing because you do have to read the release notes.

    As soon as you find it, you download it and upload it to the machine, wait for it to say it's done, and then you need to reboot. Ten to 15 minutes later, it's working.

    What was our ROI?

    Our organization has saved money by using Skylight. While I can't say how much, it has probably saved us a few servers that we would have bought simply because we wouldn't have known of some badly configured procedures. 

    We've seen ROI in terms of time. Time is money.

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

    If you don't look into licensing, Riverbed and SolarWinds are pretty comparable. But if you look into licensing it would not be smart to go for either of them. On the pure, bare-metal basis, it's the same. But when you get the bare metal and a few basic licenses, then you need all those other licenses just to be sure that there's no issue.

    They're going to tell you, "Yeah, but you only need to buy those that you need." How do I know I need them? You're going to have to know you have a particular issue. How do I know I have that issue? Or you can just wait until your users start complaining that you really have a VoIP issue. Then you should really buy the license for that issue, because there must be a voice issue.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did look into alternatives a few years ago, from Riverbed and SolarWinds. You have to look at competitors. If you don't do that you're not really doing your job correctly. I wasn't really happy about doing that because I was happy with this solution, I didn't want to change. But we wanted to see what the competition had. We looked into them and realized, "Why would we want to change?" We're going to have more problems for more money, and we're going to have licensing issues, etc.

    If you look into Riverbed, it's a licensing nightmare. You need to pay for every type of analysis. If there's one thing you don't want to do, it's that. When you're troubleshooting what do you need? You don't know. You've got a problem. A user complains something isn't working. You don't know why it's not working, that's why you have this solution. But then you click on a thing and it says you don't have this license. Great. So you buy the license, you can click on it, and you find the problem wasn't there. Click on something else - you don't have this license. You're going to buy stuff that you're not going to be needing, but you don't know you won't need it.

    One of the great things about Skylight is you have them all, and you actually need them all, not because you have certain issues, but just to know you don't have issues with it. Just click once and see, "Okay, this looks fine. Next."

    What other advice do I have?

    Put some thought into how you want to organize your zone information before you start. Play around with zones at the beginning but don't keep that setup as something you want to really use. As soon as you have an idea of how it works, put some thought into how you really want to go with it in the future. Then reorganize it so that it works the way you really want it to be, following that structure. Then start finding some issues. And trust the other teams that they'll start do their things as well, so that you start to get a clean network. Having a clean network makes it way easier later on to find issues. I thought I had a clean network. I didn't.

    If you already have ten or 20 issues that are all doing bad stuff, it's going to be way harder to find out why this new thing created new issues, because you already have a lot of issues. Cleaning up the issues after you've used Skylight is pretty important - and you're going to find issues.

    I don't think it helps me with minimizing downtime. If the network is not working, Skylight is not going to help either because it looks into the traffic from the network. If the network is not working, I'm not getting much information.

    We don't use Skylight for performance and traffic monitoring of cloud environments at the moment. We are not using any cloud solution at the moment on a production basis. It's only in some test cases. It might be possible in the future, and then Skylight might be quite handy. I have no idea how it works, but I saw that Skylight has some new stuff about cloud.

    What's interesting also about Skylight is that it's not going to show you the issue that may be the cause of your troubles at that point in time. It's going to show you all the issues that could be the cause. Usually there are four, five, or six issues that you didn't notice simply because you had enough capacity, so the service didn't have any issues. And then you'll get a seventh issue and that seventh issue does start to create a problem. You're going to look for that seventh issue, not for the first six issues that were there too, when you still had enough capacity to make it work.

    It's not going to show one issue. It's going to show them all, which is a great thing and a bad thing. It's going to be clear that you don't have one issue, you have multiple issues. Of course, when you fix them all, you're going to be really happy and you'll have a much better network. If you want to do it right, it's going to take you a while to fix your issues on the network. You don't have to. You can always say, "I don't care about these and those issues. They're just some side things and they're not really important." If you don't have the time, don't fix them. Just keep in mind that you still have those issues.

    In terms of direct users, it's just me and my two colleagues. All the users at my company total around 1,000-plus people. They get use out of it because the network keeps on working.

    It's not really used heavily at the moment. We use it when there are issues. Most of the issues have been resolved. It has become a troubleshooting tool now. When there's an issue, we look into it. And that's when it shines. 

    I could use it for other things also, but I don't. We're not really looking into it for that either. For me, it's just a Swiss Army knife for a lot of things. Something I have next to my other tools. I use a latency monitor. I use a bandwidth monitor. I use Netdisco, which is an inventory manager for all MAC addresses. I have Skylight. I have five or six different kinds of network tools, and Skylight is one of those specialized tools that I can use for a lot of stuff at the same time.

    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.
    AM
    Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Reseller
    Setup is easy to understand and can fit into most network scenarios

    What is most valuable?

    Ease of use; can literally diagnose an issue in about four clicks.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Root cause analysis and speed of application performance analysis is faster.

    What needs improvement?

    Support for more VoIP systems, Avaya, etc.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Very easy to deploy.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Product is very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Product scales well.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Good level of technical support from vendor.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setup was easy to understand and can fit into most network scenarios.

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

    Good value for…

    What is most valuable?

    Ease of use; can literally diagnose an issue in about four clicks.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Root cause analysis and speed of application performance analysis is faster.

    What needs improvement?

    Support for more VoIP systems, Avaya, etc.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Very easy to deploy.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Product is very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Product scales well.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Good level of technical support from vendor.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setup was easy to understand and can fit into most network scenarios.

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

    Good value for money paid.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    ExtraHop.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We resell Performance View and use it as an analysis tool.
    AM
    Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Reseller
    APM analysis is much faster than traditional root cause analysis of application problems.

    What is most valuable?

    The speed with which we analyse application performance issues Application analysis modules

    How has it helped my organization?

    APM analysis is much faster than traditional root cause analysis of application problems.

    What needs improvement?

    A lower price and more flexible versions will help the product.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Four years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    The product is relatively straightforward to install, just follow the instructions.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product is very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The product is very scalable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: The customer…

    What is most valuable?

    • The speed with which we analyse application performance issues
    • Application analysis modules

    How has it helped my organization?

    APM analysis is much faster than traditional root cause analysis of application problems.

    What needs improvement?

    A lower price and more flexible versions will help the product.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Four years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    The product is relatively straightforward to install, just follow the instructions.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product is very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The product is very scalable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    The customer service is excellent.

    Technical Support:

    The technical support is above average.

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

    No, this was the first APM product we used.

    How was the initial setup?

    Initial setup is easy.

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented the product in-house.

    What was our ROI?

    N/A

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

    The product is a little expensive but does work well.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Yes we evaluated ExtraHop and SolarWinds.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We resell the product and use it ourselves to troubleshoot client application performance issues.
    it_user201624
    Network administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    The application easily allows us to highlight the black points and point us to the real blocking points.

    What is most valuable?

    We heavily use the "network analysis" section to dissect and analyze flows. When analyzing past incidents, we also use analysis of application performance. The analysis of the DNS queries is also very useful for us. In sum, we very much value the ability to program the PCAP captures according to the personalized criteria.

    How has it helped my organization?

    When we are approached for our expertise following an incident on an SI that seems to indicate network infrastructure, the application easily allows us to highlight the black points and to generate exculpatory (or inculpatory) reports for the infrastructure, pointing to the real blocking points.

    What needs improvement?

    We would like to see support for the sFlow protocol in a future version.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    For 2 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We have encountered problems with the license that is connected to the hypervisor on which the virtual appliance is deployed. All of a sudden, the VM is not transportable from one hypervisor to another, which worried us and forced us to review our mode of product displacement between different sites.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Nothing in particular.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No concerns in particular. The physical machine hosting the product is sized properly for our needs.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    The level of customer service is satisfactory. They make a point every year to follow up with our needs and product usage.

    Technical Support:

    The support is good enough and we received quick and competent assistance during incidents that we raised.

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

    We have not tested similar products over the long term.

    How was the initial setup?

    The documentation is clear enough to permit a rapid installation and configuration. The video tutorials were appreciated.

    What about the implementation team?

    The implementation was only done internally.

    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.
    it_user192582
    Head of Systems and Networking with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    When a remote contact complains about a slow application, we can immediately pinpoint the cause of concern.

    Valuable Features

    The most valuable feature has been the use of bandwidth.

    Improvements to My Organization

    When a remote contact complains about a slow application, we can immediately pinpoint the cause of concern.

    Room for Improvement

    Embed a warning system to a mailbox when it exceeds the threshold for use of bandwidth over a given period of time.

    Use of Solution

    We have been using the solution for several months.

    Deployment Issues

    No issues with deployment.

    Stability Issues

    No issues with stability..

    Scalability Issues

    We encountered no issues with scalability.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service: Do not know - we never used the customer service. Technical Support: Excellent technical support.

    Initial Setup

    The installation…

    Valuable Features

    The most valuable feature has been the use of bandwidth.

    Improvements to My Organization

    When a remote contact complains about a slow application, we can immediately pinpoint the cause of concern.

    Room for Improvement

    Embed a warning system to a mailbox when it exceeds the threshold for use of bandwidth over a given period of time.

    Use of Solution

    We have been using the solution for several months.

    Deployment Issues

    No issues with deployment.

    Stability Issues

    No issues with stability..

    Scalability Issues

    We encountered no issues with scalability.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service:

    Do not know - we never used the customer service.

    Technical Support:

    Excellent technical support.

    Initial Setup

    The installation was done by Securactive and was not complicated.

    Implementation Team

    We implemented through Securactive. Expertise was excellent.

    Other Solutions Considered

    Operator-options (too complex, too expensive).

    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.
    ITCS user
    IT with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    Good Overview of Network Performance

    What is most valuable?

    Network control when experiencing problems indicating "the network is slow".

    What needs improvement?

    Combination with Avaya switches pose some problems.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    3 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Combination with Avaya switches pose some problems.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: OK Technical Support: OK

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

    No

    How was the initial setup?

    A bit complex caused by the Avaya problem.

    What about the implementation team?

    Vendor: Good expertise

    What is most valuable?

    Network control when experiencing problems indicating "the network is slow".

    What needs improvement?

    Combination with Avaya switches pose some problems.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    3 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Combination with Avaya switches pose some problems.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    OK

    Technical Support:

    OK

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

    No

    How was the initial setup?

    A bit complex caused by the Avaya problem.

    What about the implementation team?

    Vendor: Good expertise

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user172716
    Network Manager with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Performance Vision is our primary tool for troubleshooting; there are many cases in which it gave us a clear diagnostic.
    We had already invested in network & application performance monitoring a few years ago, but our team felt that it was critical to enlarge the scope of analysis of our existing solution, get better retention times and adapt our tooling to a datacenter which is now mostly virtualized. It was also important for our team to rely on a solution which would be able to cope with the volume of data of our datacenter and offer a much more intuitive access to troubleshooting data. With the experience we already had, the objectives were clear Be able to troubleshoot reactively (with relevant data on past degradations) Analyze usage and performance trends through time Get an instant overview of the status of the critical applications Provide other teams (systems, application) with relevant data to…

    We had already invested in network & application performance monitoring a few years ago, but our team felt that it was critical to enlarge the scope of analysis of our existing solution, get better retention times and adapt our tooling to a datacenter which is now mostly virtualized. It was also important for our team to rely on a solution which would be able to cope with the volume of data of our datacenter and offer a much more intuitive access to troubleshooting data.

    With the experience we already had, the objectives were clear:

    • Be able to troubleshoot reactively (with relevant data on past degradations)
    • Analyze usage and performance trends through time
    • Get an instant overview of the status of the critical applications
    • Provide other teams (systems, application) with relevant data to optimize performance
    • Help migration and changes with clear network usage information to facilitate the configuration of network devices (firewalls and filtering in the datacenter)

    This need became urgent and we decided to take a new look at the market and realized that we could get a much better service than the one rendered by our Visual Performance Manager tools, at a much more favorable rate. We went into a test phase to look at different products in parallel and Performance Vision cumulated many advantages compared to its competitors.

    The decision has been easy to recommend to our management as, on top of all these advantages, Performance Vision could do much more for much less budget. The TCO of the migration remained way under the cost of maintenance of our former solution.

    We use Performance Vision on a daily basis. We have a monitoring screen which displays the performance status of our critical applications and network links. With the simple color code, we know immediately if an application gets degraded.

    Performance Vision is our primary tool for troubleshooting; there are many cases in which it gave us a clear diagnostic, which we would not have achieved without such a tool. We fixed many configuration issues on the name resolution service: as an example, one server was requesting the same DNS resolution 40 thousand times an hour to access its database server; we had the DNS cache configuration fixed and improved its performance dramatically.

    We also use Performance Vision to help our team make better decisions, based on actual facts; as an example, we had a certificate issue with Google Chrome. This was not an issue at the time we launched a service, given the small market share of this browser. With Performance Vision, we have been able to show our development team that it became an issue given the share of this user agent among our actual users.

    After a few months of use, our feeling is strongly positive. I would recommend Performance Vision to any IT manager in charge of a critical architecture. It improves our efficiency, helps deliver better service every day and guides us to the right decision. Furthermore the Post Installation Follow-up Service, we get from SecurActive’s partner, iBO Solutions, is excellent, and brings the adequate support to extend the use of Performance Vision; we can confirm that the training and certification of their integrators is rigorously done and translates into good service. We also appreciated receiving a new major version (with no extra cost) with great new features no more than 3 months after the integration of the solution. Performance Vision’s HTTP performance module has a very strong value and this confirms that we made the right choice by switching to Performance Vision and that we shall benefit from the continuous improvement of their solution.

    Disclosure: IT Central Station has made contact with the reviewer to validate that the person is a real user. The information in the posting is based upon a vendor-supplied case study, but the reviewer has confirmed the content's accuracy.
    it_user192357
    Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    It permits me to quickly identify the source of performance slowdowns, saving precious time analyzing.

    What is most valuable?

    The Performance feature is the one I use the most because it permits me to quickly identify the source of performance slowdowns.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Performance Vision saves time diagnosing performance problems. It also anticipates where investment is needed by pointing to the infrastructure limitations.

    What needs improvement?

    The licensing of the virtual pollers is problematic because they are attached to the physical ESX on which they are installed. An ESX fleet can quickly become overloaded with data so we do not see everything all the time. It still lacks integration with a RADIUS server so we have to do without creating local accounts.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have worked with the SecurActive solution for six to seven years (first as NSS then Performance Vision).

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No, the deployment is very simple.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Not to date. It does it’s job.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not had big changes with our system in recent months.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    It is very good. We have had quick access to developers in case of problems.

    Technical Support:

    It is very good. We have had quick access to developers in case of problems.

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

    No.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial configuration is very simple. There is a little information you need to understand to render the solution operational, only the time it takes to receive traffic, but it still requires a good mastery of the infrastructure to customize the product and analyzse the data.

    What about the implementation team?

    The product was implemented with the aid of SecurActive who have a good level of expertise with the solution.

    What was our ROI?

    It is difficult to evaluate, but what is certain is that the solution saves precious time in analyzing our slowness problems.

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

    I do not know the cost of installation as it was installed on my arrival. The cost using it is difficult to determine as the product mainly saves time. You do need to keep up to date with the product, approximately half an hour per month.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    No.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is important to customize the product so that the data that is provided is relevant.

    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.
    it_user186786
    Director of Information Technology at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    ​Following network saturations, SecurActive's analysis was able to detect where the problem came from and solve it.

    What is most valuable?

    Load monitoring and network analysis are valuable features.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Following network saturations, analysis was able to reliably detect where the problem came from and solve the problem.

    What needs improvement?

    Each version brings a lot of improvements!

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Since 2010.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues with deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We did not encounter issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: Very good. Technical Support: Excellent and responsive.

    Which solution did I

    What is most valuable?

    Load monitoring and network analysis are valuable features.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Following network saturations, analysis was able to reliably detect where the problem came from and solve the problem.

    What needs improvement?

    Each version brings a lot of improvements!

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Since 2010.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues with deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We did not encounter issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Very good.

    Technical Support:

    Excellent and responsive.

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

    We did not previously use a different solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    Pretty simple.

    What about the implementation team?

    Through a vendor team -- very competent.

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

    21,671 Euros.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    No, we did not.

    What other advice do I have?

    Load the network

    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.
    it_user184044
    Network Engineer with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    Easy to use and allows us to have a realistic vision of what is going on at the heart of our network.

    Valuable Features

    I like this product because it is easy to use and it allows us to have a realistic vision of what is going on at the heart of our network. Flow matrices, the ability to analyze response times for our web apps (http), and what is related to SQL requests are among the key features we need.

    Improvements to My Organization

    This product enabled us to identify the cause of some apps known to be running slow. Analyzing connection times from the sequence of elements involved in a request (PC, application server, database server) enables us to immediately identify the element that is failing.

    Room for Improvement

    Increase the drive’s capacity to store more data, and maybe switch to a database system similar to 3Big-Data. The goal is to avoid truncating information after a certain amount of time, and to improve the performance.

    Use of Solution

    We have been using this solution for several years, but the latest 3.0 version, which was installed at Campus France in 2014, brings in new features that we find very interesting.

    Deployment Issues

    No, no problem at all.

    Stability Issues

    No, no problem at all.

    Scalability Issues

    No, no problem at all.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service:

    Good level, I can describe it with three words, responsiveness, availability and efficiency.

    Technical Support:

    Good level as well. Efficiency and professionalism.

    Initial Setup

    It was simple but a bit long, because one has to create all networks, objects, flows and so on… But once it’s done, it’s very smooth.

    Implementation Team

    With a vendor team, very qualified and kind.

    ROI

    I didn’t really know about that, but I think it is an essential tool, it enables us to know what is going on our network at anytime, and it saves us several men/days spent on analyzing what is happening when faced with some apps slowing down for instance…For that reason alone, I really think it’s cost-effective.

    Other Solutions Considered

    Yes, I had tested HP Openview, but despite its extensive offer, this product is too complex.

    Other Advice

    Carefully identify the important elements within the technical infrastructure (apps, servers, database, etc…) during the set-up phase, as it affects the relevance of the data.

    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.
    it_user172728
    ICT Manager with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Beyond the savings of the IT team’s productivity, the reduction of the performance degradations has helped save money.
    Despite their ability to monitor availability and resource consumption (CPU, RAM, Disk…), our SNMP monitoring tools (Microsoft SCOM) did not provide any useful information to deal with user complaints. “Wireshark”, which we used to use for firefighting operations, could not provide us with an easy way to understand the origin of an issue.  First, we felt the need to monitor proactively our IT usage, as well as the performance of both our network and applications. In case of complaint, we wanted to be able to quickly qualify Which application was impacted? Which users were impacted? When? Was our WAN network overloaded? By which applications? Was there any abnormal behavior on our network (virus or worm)? Second, due to the limited WAN capacities with a maximum of 10Mbps per connection,…

    Despite their ability to monitor availability and resource consumption (CPU, RAM, Disk…), our SNMP monitoring tools (Microsoft SCOM) did not provide any useful information to deal with user complaints. “Wireshark”, which we used to use for firefighting operations, could not provide us with an easy way to understand the origin of an issue. 

    First, we felt the need to monitor proactively our IT usage, as well as the performance of both our network and applications. In case of complaint, we wanted to be able to quickly qualify:

    • Which application was impacted? Which users were impacted? When?
    • Was our WAN network overloaded? By which applications?
    • Was there any abnormal behavior on our network (virus or worm)?

    Second, due to the limited WAN capacities with a maximum of 10Mbps per connection, we needed to fully understand our network usage: which application was using which capacity and when? The objectives were to be able to anticipate congestions and their nasty consequences on our users and to get the right information to optimize our network and its usage.

    Our IT infrastructure partner, AB Network, presented Performance Vision from SecurActive, which seemed to respond to our requirements. To validate its capabilities in a real life environment, we organized a proof of concept with AB Network. The conclusion was fully positive!

    Each collaborator of the IT team has a full access to the solution. Each of us looks at the information he needs to execute his tasks: two developers, two people in charge of the infrastructure administration, one person in charge of the relationship between industrial engineering and IT, and myself:

    • Our developers use Performance Vision to troubleshoot performance issues on our http applications which are critical for our users located across all our sites to access to our databases. A good example is our planning software: this application is accessed from several sites by users from different companies within the group. It connects to several ERPs to consolidate planning information for several countries. Performance Vision helped optimize its performance by providing a clear understanding of how the application chain works.
    • The administrators in charge of the infrastructure monitor specifically the WAN usage and the bandwidth consumption. A recent example was the identification of a malfunction inside our antivirus architecture: in principle our antivirus system is composed of servers located on each of our four main sites. A configuration issue made that some clients communicated with the antivirus server of a different site and overloaded the WAN network.
    • My team access to the data from the three probes distributed on our main sites through a single graphical interface, which is particularly intuitive.
    • There are many examples of diagnostics run thanks to Performance Vision: without this tools, these incidents would have had strong consequences on our business. With Performance Vision, our administrators have been able to quickly pinpoint the origin of the issue and to solve it:
    • Citrix Performance degradation: some time ago, we received a growing number of complaints from users based on Poland trying to connect to our central applications. We could quickly identify that the performance was degraded for the Citrix flow only and not for the applications themselves. We identified that the slowdown of the Citrix flows was due to the configuration of our PDM/PLM application, which was using too much bandwidth during office hours.
    • We have a file synchronization software which runs over multiple sites. Our sites have different bandwidth available depending on the number of users present on each site. Thanks to Performance Vision’s reporting, we tuned the configuration of this software to manage this synchronization on all our sites, without any harm to our daily business operations.

    Our team is currently working on a degradation that appeared on a customized application which relies on VB6 to query our SQL databases. I have no doubt that we will find the necessary elements to solve this problem in a very short timeframe.

    On my end, I read a daily report to validate that our response times (application, network, and bandwidth) are fine. Automated, these reports represent no additionally workload for my team and allow us to share an objective history of our network & application performances and usage.

    After 15 months of use, our feeling is strongly positive. I recommend Performance Vision to other IT directors on a regularly basis, to have a good visibility on the network and to diagnose or optimize the performance of their IT. It is a key element to help our teams to efficiently collaborate both at the development and infrastructure levels.

    Beyond the savings gained on the IT team’s productivity, the reduction of the performance degradations for the business users, the monitoring of our bandwidths and the optimization of our applications, Performance Vision also helped saving the money we would otherwise have spent in the upgrade of our WAN network.

    Disclosure: IT Central Station has made contact with the reviewer to validate that the person is a real user. The information in the posting is based upon a vendor-supplied case study, but the reviewer has confirmed the content's accuracy.
    it_user172719
    Network Manager at a local government with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    No more than half a day, and we were getting relevant information that was fully intuitive.
    Our team is in charge of the network routing and quality of access of the different applications. As part of our mission, we need to visualize the flows towards our datacenter and to monitor the response times of all applications for each of the 300 remote sites. In 2011, we started to look for a tool capable of addressing our needs. We selected a few products and tested them intensively on our datacenter: some proved to be good at protocol analysis but way too complex to manage for our needs; they would have required more dedicated resources than we could afford. All reports had to be created from zero and were not available “out of the box” (reporting was indeed an important feature for the Police Headquarters). Other solutions only covered a portion of our needs, because they were based…

    Our team is in charge of the network routing and quality of access of the different applications. As part of our mission, we need to visualize the flows towards our datacenter and to monitor the response times of all applications for each of the 300 remote sites.

    In 2011, we started to look for a tool capable of addressing our needs. We selected a few products and tested them intensively on our datacenter: some proved to be good at protocol analysis but way too complex to manage for our needs; they would have required more dedicated resources than we could afford. All reports had to be created from zero and were not available “out of the box” (reporting was indeed an important feature for the Police Headquarters). Other solutions only covered a portion of our needs, because they were based on active QoS /compression devices and were not rendering the necessary diagnostic and analysis capabilities.

    In the end we selected Performance Vision based on its strengths which fit well with our needs: In no more than a half day, we were getting relevant information and could use the product; The drill down access to information was fully intuitive; The tool was adapted to all our team (including punctual / light users); The network context (geographical and IP addressing plans) was perfectly translated into the interface and reports.

    Moreover, Performance Vision offered an easy way to automate the distribution of graphical response time reports to all our IT staff located on each remote site; the information provided was easily understood by them and required little additional information from our team.

    For diagnostics, Performance Vision outperforms our previous sniffer solutions and Netflow collectors!  We started by making an assessment of all applications to understand their respective behavior: we pointed out a certain number of conception defects, which had a negative impact on users despite good server and network performance. We also built a baseline and determined the normal behavior of each application. We also implemented a daily reporting on our most critical applications to check that their performance andbehavior remained in line with the baseline.

    Secondly, we proceeded to a large "house cleaning" operation: we got rid of large volumes of DNS errors, corrected the configuration of many workstations (which were using bad URLs or IP addresses for updates), as well as the one of certain servers relying on IP addresses instead of domain names, etc…

    Performance Vision is an easy-to-use product; its administration requires very little time. Of course, Performance Vision provides data which has to be interpreted (e.g. one of our critical applications has very good response time per transaction but it involves a large number of transactions per user). The training is a key element in the project: as far as we are concerned, it got delivered in our context, on our own data. It has been very efficient and has quickly put us in a position where we can efficiently understand the information we are getting.

    Overall, our experience has been brilliant: we consider Performance Vision as a very good product which fits our initial wishes. It is simple to use, provides a lot of relevant information. Upfront, it is very easy to use for network administrators and provides well designed reports for other IT staff members. We keep on enriching its configuration and using it on a daily basis. We have the project to extend its coverage through an additional virtual probe to analyze network traffic on remote sites (to analyze the application flows which cannot be viewed from our datacenter and diagnose local issues on remote sites)”. 

    Disclosure: IT Central Station has made contact with the reviewer to validate that the person is a real user. The information in the posting is based upon a vendor-supplied case study, but the reviewer has confirmed the content's accuracy.
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