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CA NetMaster Network Management OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

What is CA NetMaster Network Management?

CA NetMaster Network Management for TCP/IP enables you to optimize your IP and EE network for business success, by providing reliable network access to IP-enabled mainframe applications while reducing your mainframe costs with integrated solution that enables you to proactively monitor, manage and remediate network problems. It also helps improve security awareness with advanced diagnostics such as real-time verification of secured and non-secured connections. 

CA NetMaster Network Management was previously known as CA NetMaster, CA NetMaster Network Management for TCP/IP, CA NetMaster Network Management for SNA, CA NetMaster Network Management for TCP/IP.

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Download the Network Management Applications Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

CA NetMaster Network Management Customers

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Archived CA NetMaster Network Management Reviews (more than two years old)

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it_user558525
Senior Systems Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Streamlines quick and effective drill-down into the network stack for better troubleshooting

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature would be the ability to deep-dive into the network stack, reasonably quickly, reasonably effectively, and generate useful transaction data for troubleshooting and analysis.

For example, if you have a transmission between yourself and a customer, oftentimes there might be latency, there might be whatever the connectivity issue is. There are millions of different things that could happen. Using NetMaster it's easy to dig into the TCP/IP stack and generate useful data to troubleshoot where the problem is. That allows you to fix the solution based on targeted troubleshooting because there's so much data there, versus just pointing fingers and saying "Hey it's your problem," "No it's your problem."

How has it helped my organization?

Time to resolve is improved. Downtime is the single most expensive thing that a company can encounter, so reduced downtime is the biggest thing.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a web-based interface that mimics the ease of doing data traces, similar to something like a Wireshark which is a Windows-based network monitoring tool. Wireshark is fast. I'm an old Windows guy, it's what I know.

I think the liability of NetMaster is having to do things through the panels. It's slow to generate traces, and when you're doing a real-time troubleshooting call - when you have to wait 30 seconds for a process to spawn and fire up in order to give data back - 30 seconds is a long time when there's an issue.

The user interface is probably the biggest impediment to my success with it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very stable. No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability seems to be fine. I don't know that scalability applies. It runs on an LPAR basis so its boundary is within the environment with which it's installed. Scalability is not the issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used it.

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

NetMaster was there when I got there. I probably have some small say into, does it stay here forever or do we go with something maybe more affordable, less expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not looked at, but would consider looking at, anything in the IBM suite, for example, or BMC, or whatever other competing products. I consider NetMaster to be the best-of-breed. That's more of a Windows term, I think, best-of-breed, like VMware would be for virtualization. I consider NetMaster to be the best-of-breed for network.

What other advice do I have?

Understand that upfront cost is not the most important part of the solution. Usability, supportability, upgradeability, all that matters; and nobody measures that. All people look at is "Oh wait. That's more expensive to buy. I can't have that." And that's only a portion of it, so I'd be cognizant of the fact that the lifecycle of the product is the cost you should be considering, not just the upfront cost.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user589350
Systems Programmer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We use the SmartTrace feature for troubleshooting.

What is most valuable?

I have NetMaster Network Management for SNA, NetMaster Network Automation and NetMaster Network Management for TCP/IP. The TCP/IP product is the best for us.

How has it helped my organization?

We use the SmartTrace feature a lot. It's very good for troubleshooting.

What needs improvement?

The automation part could use improvement, but I do not do that much with it.

Maybe you could have some pre-canned NCL or REXX processes that anybody could use or easily modify that anyone could use. Everything is so menu-driven that you get lost looking for something.

Otherwise, I think it is one of the better network products out there.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this product for more than 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is very stable and has been for years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have never had problems with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical staff is very knowledgeable and has been with them for years; very efficient.

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

It was in place before I came into our Network group and has been here ever since. I have been in the Network group for about 20 years.

How was the initial setup?

I saw it installed using SMP/E when Sterling Software owned the product. Afterwards, they were bought out by CA. The installation instructions are not always intuitive, but once you have it configured and working, it is a very useful product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated IBM NetView and TMON for TCP/IP; did not like either one of them.

What other advice do I have?

Do not be afraid to contact their technical support if you get stuck. They are very good at what they do.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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it_user572880
IT Specialist at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Video Review
Vendor
We are able to look at packet traces, at SSH handshakes for the key certificates, and at protocols that are transferring over the wire before it leaves the mainframe.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are tracing, SmartTrace; being able to look at packet traces; looking at SSH handshakes for the key certificates, as well as looking at protocols that are transferring over the wire before it leaves the mainframe.

How has it helped my organization?

It is fast getting work done over to banks. It's important to understand what the communication protocols are and get them fixed.

There are a lot of banks that had to be converted from FTP to SFTP, and there were all sorts of things that were issues while doing the conversion. Using the trace function was able to help alleviate certificate key problems very quickly.

What needs improvement?

What was mentioned at a recent CA conference was NetMaster's getting tied in with the whole new infrastructure with the analytics. That would be great to get that over to z/Linux, to see if there are tools that could do the understanding of how the network is working, and if it could be shifted off. For instance, I'd like to be able to see week-in, week-out what's happening with SFTP traffic. There are a few metrics that could be followed, and you could actually see in real time, with some threshold monitoring, with the new product feature that they had, with the metrics that were being put into the analytical phase.

A few months ago a java app making web services calls to the mainframe didn't "work". App developer blamed the majnframe. I traced the connection (port & source ip) in netmaster. Saw a SYN, SYN, ACK then nothing else. I told him he needed a network person to fix the problem. He wouldn't believe it. After telling him there was nothing more I could do, he got the network guru. Long story short - the skinny protocol (for voice) was turned on several routers. It used the same port as the listener on z for web services. The router let through the startup of the connection but skinny then dropped the data packets.
This would have been hard to troubleshoot without being able to see the trace and proving beyond doubt it was not a problem on z.

Seeing the handshake during ssl connections was also used to verify proper use of algorithms with remote vendor clients.


For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are so many different functions that it has. I didn't think the SNMP function, was easy to set up. That caused some problems with the address space. It didn't bring it down, but there were issues with just getting the functionality to work, along with getting the correct ACF2 resource access permission set up. That was difficult. It was workable, but it took considerable more time to do than I thought.

Stability-wise, the whole product runs great, especially with the automation. That's where it really shines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With being able to scale out, no matter how many resources you add to it, the resources are definitely well-managed and controlled in a great way.

I thought one of the weaknesses was the ISR functionality between multiple LPARs, and being able to have a control point in just one. Doing that link, it's a one-offer product. You have to understand how ISR links work. It's nothing like you've ever used before.

It has scalability, but you're never going to be able to transfer that technology on how you set it up and configure it to any other products. It's scalable, but not the best way that it could have been implemented.

How is customer service and technical support?

There were three people that were on the line, that you could get the response from when opening tickets. All three do a great job. All three were prior users of the product. When it came to after hours, it seemed like the only people that really were accessible were the US team. Over in China, or a third shift for US, they really didn't have anybody. There was somebody over in the UK, so if it was early-morning hours, it was OK, but there was a little bit of a hole in the support side, actually, from the second shift, with the global following, over in the Asia-Pacific time frame.

How was the initial setup?

There are three different FMIDs: for the main product/automation, for TCP, and for SNA. Then there's more than that; there are more FMIDs. The individual setups were much easier done with Chorus. When it was done before Chorus, it was much more difficult. There's a lot of VSAM that has to be set up. The sizing of it became a bit of a problem for the IP lock; being able to capture the IP data that you want. There are a lot of variables that had to be considered. It was not one of the easier configurations that I actually had to do. You needed a lot of post-customization after the product was running; collecting data in order to get really a good working solution. Things in the manual didn't cover a lot of things that were really needed for sizing efforts.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

NetView cost too much money. There was only really serious consideration among two products, and the cost of NetView was more than could be stomached.

For me, the most important criteria when selecting a vendor is the automation component. I want to see what the support team, that is, the post-sales, and in this case, it was actually a pre-sales person that was actually the most knowledgeable on how to do the automation functionality, and specifically with NCLs; how to create and get the NCLs to work, so that the NCL could do automated control of the network.
That was really important for us to be able to operate an SNA structure, so that, if there was an SNA failure, that you would have the automation be able to recover that node in time, because there was a lot of processing going on with banks, specifically with CICS having some sockets, as well as WebSphere. Having a person that knew the NCL capability was really important for me.

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_user602412
Mainframe Network Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
I can define thresholds that include self-defining baselines.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are SNA and IP monitoring. It has also been very easy to define many thresholds, including self-defining baselines.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see new release migrations made easier. If not all NetMasters are migrated to V12.1, you need one focal point running with Version V12.0 and one running V12.1. A focal point running V12.1 is not able to support subordinates running V12.0.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 5 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

I would rate…

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are SNA and IP monitoring. It has also been very easy to define many thresholds, including self-defining baselines.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see new release migrations made easier. If not all NetMasters are migrated to V12.1, you need one focal point running with Version V12.0 and one running V12.1. A focal point running V12.1 is not able to support subordinates running V12.0.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 5 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

I would rate technical support as very, very good.

How was the initial setup?

We developed our own setup method for a nearly automatic installation on in excess of 100 logical partitions (LPARs).

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_user597609
IT Consultant at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Provides a framework for creating custom monitoring solutions.

What is most valuable?

  • Framework for creating custom monitoring solutions
  • Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use scripting language (NCL)
  • Visibility into TCP/IP with comprehensive and easy-to-use reporting and analysis

How has it helped my organization?

We developed a highly proactive monitoring solution for our file transfer infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a web-based UI (major effort now in progress).

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this since 1999. We are currently using:

  • NetMaster Network Automation MVS 12.1
  • NetMaster Network Management for SNA MVS 12.1
  • NetMaster Network Management for TCP/IP MVS 12.1

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No deployment issues have been encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No stability issues have been encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No scalability issues have been encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support has been excellent. It is far and away the best among the products that our team supports.

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

We previously used a different solution. The previous solution was more expensive and lacked a good framework for developing monitoring solutions.

How was the initial setup?

It's very easy to install. You get a lot out of the box without any customization.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing, we evaluated other options. We replaced IBM’s NetView with NetMaster.

What other advice do I have?

Spend time defining the monitoring problems that you are trying to solve. Don’t be a solution looking for a problem.

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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