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NETSCOUT nGeniusONE OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is #12 ranked solution in best Network Monitoring Tools. IT Central Station users give NETSCOUT nGeniusONE an average rating of 8 out of 10. NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is most commonly compared to Gigamon:NETSCOUT nGeniusONE vs Gigamon. NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 58% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 25% of all views.
What is NETSCOUT nGeniusONE?
The nGenius Real-Time Monitor software provides you with tools to monitor and display information about your network both historically and in real time. The nGenius Real-Time Monitor software allows you to understand your current network usage and to plan for future needs. It also allows you to proactively troubleshoot problem areas in your network.

NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is also known as NETSCOUT nGenius, nGeniusONE.

NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Buyer's Guide

Download the NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Customers
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Archived NETSCOUT nGeniusONE Reviews (more than two years old)

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RL
Automation Engineer at a comms service provider with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Gives us quicker reaction times and more proactive diagnostics

Pros and Cons

  • "It is the ability to collect data and analyze it, especially key performance indicators. This is before a customer would call to the service center to complain that they have had bad coverage or a dropped call."
  • "While it is good, the single pane of glass view is too high level. It is better for management or someone doing sanity checks. A lot of times, I need to go deeper into the additional screens to get what I want out of it."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to have the ability to detect issues that a customer would eventually see. It's a more proactive approach for making the customers have a better satisfaction in terms of their usage and performance.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us quicker reaction times and more proactive diagnostics, especially in terms of needing to set up an alarm if a threshold was exceeded.

It gives us a deep package inspection. It provides that sort of visibility. It also has the ability to get the data in real-time.

This solution helps us get to root cause quickly, especially as we dive deep capturing packets.  

What is most valuable?

  • The quick ability to troubleshoot.
  • The ability to look forward.
  • The ability to develop proactive solutions.

It is the ability to collect data and analyze it, especially key performance indicators. This is before a customer would call to the service center to complain that they have had bad coverage or a dropped call.

What needs improvement?

While it is good, the single pane of glass view is too high level. It is better for management or someone doing sanity checks. A lot of times, I need to go deeper into the additional screens to get what I want out of it.

We would like to have increased performance in the future. Eventually, we will need more horsepower.

We would like NETSCOUT to add additional topics to the data that it collects, because big data is important going forward.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. 

When we first got the tool, there were some performance issues. Eventually, they worked out the issues through various upgrades and server hardware enhancements. That was a plus.

How are customer service and technical support?

We do have two onsite NETSCOUT engineers, who are excellent. Especially when we encounter an issue, we tell them right away, "We have an issue. Can you fix it?"

We don't have to wait a few days for something to be solved.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a probably a little complex. We had to get things up and running, do field trials, fine tune the performance, then evaluate it under load, and fine tune it again.

What about the implementation team?

We worked closely with NETSCOUT for the deployment. 

We have our own IT department who channels the server, infrastructure, and networking. I'm on the engineering side, and we work directly side-by-side with NETSCOUT. 

We don't use a third party vendor.

What was our ROI?

Proactive versus a customer having a bad experience: That is the key point. Because you get a bad experience, and you lose customers. You always want tools to make your customer happy.

The solution gives us a forward looking vision. We develop custom applications on top of the data that we collect. It gives us that ability, which is an advantage.

It's definitely decreased troubleshooting time. We get a direct window into the infrastructure and various probes, especially the ability to capture certain KPIs that we look at. Normally, if we didn't have this tool, we would have to collect them under various vendor boxes. That takes time and experience.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Deep packet inspection is the key point for NETSCOUT versus the other competitive tools that we also use.

What other advice do I have?

Take a look at it. If not, you're losing the opportunity to improve your performance in terms of its customer aspects.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TD
Systems Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
The single pane of glass view makes life simpler

Pros and Cons

  • "With the Vprobes, we quickly identified issues on the application servers, which we normally couldn't, where it usually would be a full circle round between our NOC and server people."
  • "I would like more in-depth convergence between all the applications, especially when I look for information through a data mine."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is to monitor what is coming in and out, then distinguish where we have problems in our network.

How has it helped my organization?

With the Vprobes, we quickly identified issues on the application servers, which we normally couldn't, where it usually would be a full circle round between our NOC and server people.

This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments.

We have seen a small decrease (10 to 20 percent) in our overall troubleshooting time.

What is most valuable?

The sessions, where everything is graphically displayed out, which allow people in our NOC to quickly figure things out.

The single pane of glass view makes life simpler.

The dependency mapping provides quicker analysis and quicker resolution. We are able to pinpoint problems quicker online.

What needs improvement?

I would like more in-depth convergence between all the applications, especially when I look for information through a data mine.

It has a lot of what I like to use, but some features are not there yet. It is sometimes even going down to older protocols still getting used in the world right now.

They need to improve using voice other SIP.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for at least six years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good, so far. We are probably five nines up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is definitely scalable, as long as we do things right.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been superb, so far. We have a sales engineer who works directly with us. He has been awesome.

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

The biggest reason for the switch that we're going through right now is that it is a Solaris box running old C++ code. That definitely needs to be replaced, as that technology is dead. This is more of solidifying a two-vendor solution to make life easier for people working on troubleshooting.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. 

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen ROI.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about NETSCOUT nGeniusONE. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,305 professionals have used our research since 2012.
GB
Senior Designer with 10,001+ employees
MSP
It has versatility to correlate different traffic types, but we would like more encryption of customer data

Pros and Cons

  • "Network faults are easily and quickly identified through dashboards and drill down."
  • "It has versatility to correlate different traffic types and performance management statistics."
  • "The current solution is not easy to scale, because it is an appliance-based solution. So, you have to swap everything out."
  • "We would like more encryption of customer data, because we have a very security conscious company. We have a lot of regulation coming in which requires us to make customer data private."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is network monitoring for telecoms.

How has it helped my organization?

Everybody is using the same tool set. Therefore, we are speaking the same language.

Network faults are easily and quickly identified through dashboards and drill down.

What is most valuable?

It has versatility to correlate different traffic types and performance management statistics.

The single pane of glass view is very simple and good. For my users, having all the applications in one place is the aim.

What needs improvement?

We would like more encryption of customer data, because we have a very security conscious company. We have a lot of regulation coming in which requires us to make customer data private.

There is a lot more integration work that needs to be finalized for simpler tool set. The integration of many products into a much simpler single pane of glass is where we want to be.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. We haven't had a major failure for years. Apart from the hardware's age, the software is pretty robust.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The current solution is not easy to scale, because it is an appliance-based solution. So, you have to swap everything out.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is OK. While it is not outstanding, we don't have any complaints.

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

We did not have another solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is relatively straightforward, as any network integration can be. The complexity comes when you are trying to tune it.

What about the implementation team?

We used a reseller for the deployment. They were very good. We have a good working relationship with them.

What was our ROI?

We have seen some ROI with the root cause analysis. It is quicker to root cause analysis. We are seeing increased network uptime, because if we're spotting, and if we're getting root cause analysis quicker, then we know what comes up quicker.

From my user community, I am getting the impression that something which use to take days has now gone to hours for troubleshooting.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JE
Leads System Engineer at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
A stable, scalable product with good visibility

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is visibility."
  • "We would like better end-to-end data flows. This is something that my users always complain about, as they don't know what the data flows are on the network. We would like to know every point along the line."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is network management.

We have an older product. We are just now installing the newer product. The older product was primarily used for troubleshooting, which is all I can discuss.

How has it helped my organization?

The product hasn't helped the way our organization functions.

Going forward, we will be using this solution for unified communication application performance: voice, video and data.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is visibility.

In the past, the product has helped us get to root cause quickly.

What needs improvement?

We would like better end-to-end data flows. This is something that my users always complain about, as they don't know what the data flows are on the network. We have things, like Cisco NetFlow, but all you have is the two endpoints that you have captured from a probe. We would like to know every point along the line.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We have had no issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. We have had no issues. It has been very scalable.

We have two network operations centers. We support 34 nodes, and those nodes are being remotely monitored.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had very good support from the NETSCOUT team.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed in-house.

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

It is very expensive, but it's well worth the money.

What other advice do I have?

We probably won't use the single pane of glass view.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
JC
Manager at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
We have cut back on our troubleshooting by isolating certain trouble areas

Pros and Cons

  • "The visual and graphical interfaces in the display that it provides for us to show our senior leadership. We can show them what is actually happening, instead of a spreadsheet."
  • "Some help screens would be nice, especially if we bring on new operators. It would be great to see if they have more helpful tips available."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for network monitoring, event management, packet tracing, and forensics.

How has it helped my organization?

We have cut back on our troubleshooting, by isolating certain trouble areas. It has brought visibility to what requires replacement in the future.

We had a situation where a client said the network was the problem, because their reports weren't running from an automated server report. After multiple support groups tried to isolate and troubleshoot the situation, the incident came to us. We were able to isolate it with five minute clicks and determine that it was an access issue.

What is most valuable?

The visual and graphical interfaces in the display that it provides for us to show our senior leadership. We can show them what is actually happening, instead of a spreadsheet.

I like the single pane of glass view. A single pane of glass view of the network will help us address important needs more quickly based on our alarming.

The dependency mapping is very helpful and resourceful.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see nGeniusPULSE and AED (Arbor Edge Defense) integrated with the solution.

Some help screens would be nice, especially if we bring on new operators. It would be great to see if they have more helpful tips available.

Between the host analysis and session analysis, there is a limitation of one hour. This can hinder us if a situation occurred ten hours ago. Sometimes, you can't open up that window.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great. I am looking forward to seeing more.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been very attentive and responsive to our needs when I have called.

What about the implementation team?

The solution was deployed in-house.

What was our ROI?

We are starting to see ROI.

We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).

This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time.

The solution has helped us increase our application/network uptime.

What other advice do I have?

Do a proof of concept. Get to know your account manager.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JB
VP Infrastructure at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
We build application dashboards and performance indexes for locations, but the scalability is difficult

Pros and Cons

  • "We build application dashboards and performance indexes for locations."
  • "The solution helps us get to root cause quickly by using the Media Monitor to help identify QoS mismatches for voice calls on the network."
  • "The dependency mapping is good, but I am hopeful that they will build some type of partnership and relationship with ServiceNow. I want to see NETSCOUT partner with ServiceNow so they can leverage Service Now Discovery and Service Mapping to automate the build of the service dependency mappings inside of nGeniusONE."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is network and application performance management.

How has it helped my organization?

We build application dashboards and performance indexes for locations.

This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments, e.g., data migration.

The solution helps us get to root cause quickly by using the Media Monitor to help identify QoS mismatches for voice calls on the network.

We use the solution for unified communication application performance. It helps us with uptime and end user experience. We can proactively detect if there are issues and resolve them before they impact the end user.

What is most valuable?

  • Application performance
  • Triage
  • Resolution
  • Problem identification

What needs improvement?

The single pane of glass is possibly overrated.

The dependency mapping is good, but I am hopeful that they will build some type of partnership and relationship with ServiceNow. I want to see NETSCOUT partner with ServiceNow so they can leverage Service Now Discovery and Service Mapping to automate the build of the service dependency mappings inside of nGeniusONE.

The user interface needs some updates. There is some complexity to the product. You have to understand where the InfiniStreams are and what physical interfaces are connected where, so when you go into the user interface, you know what data you are collecting and from where.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is okay.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is difficult. Packet capture and packet broker are hard to do because you ultimately have to build a separate overlay network, so you can capture the packets. The network speeds are constantly increasing, so now you are at 10 gig or 100 gig capabilities, and it's hard to scale.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, but we did leverage an RSE in the beginning.

What about the implementation team?

We used NETSCOUT directly for the deployment.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI.

The solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time by two to four hours.

The solution has helped increase our application/network uptime by less than two percent.

What other advice do I have?

Understanding what problem you are trying to solve. NETSCOUT nGeniusONE is not a true application performance management product. However, because of the wire data, packet data, its ASI capabilities, and the analytics on the roll up of that ASI data, there is benefit and value there. 

We use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites. To some extent, we also use the solution for SaaS applications that are external to the environment to do proactive monitoring.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RM
Network Engineer at a tech vendor with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
The product is efficient, but the learning curve is very steep

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments. E.g., if we have devices which have overloaded or links which have saturated, then this tool tells us exactly what is going on with that link or device. Very few tools do it at this level for things like DDoS."
  • "We see it overload once in a while. It doesn't have built-in protection. Therefore, once it gets too much data, it tends to crash. Then, we have to recover it."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is troubleshooting.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to find working hardware, which we were not able to do it with any other tools.

This solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting IT deployments. E.g., if we have devices which have overloaded or links which have saturated, then this tool tells us exactly what is going on with that link or device. Very few tools do it at this level for things like DDoS.

The solution help you get to root cause quickly.

What is most valuable?

It provides very low details. I can't get this low of level detail from any other tool, down to the packet level.

What needs improvement?

They can improve the UI. For example, with all modern tools, they generate a shared URL, like a Slack URL. Somebody clicks and they see the exact same thing as you. With this tool, if you want to tell somebody how to get to your view, you have to give pointer steps. 

The single pane of glass is a decent effort, but it is not how things are done these days.

It is not a good monitoring tool. It is more like response tool for us.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We see it overload once in a while. It doesn't have built-in protection. Therefore, once it gets too much data, it tends to crash. Then, we have to recover it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability becomes very expensive quickly.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is excellent.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. There are a lot of things that you need to configure together. There is not one push button. You have to feed a lot of data into the initial configs before it starts working.

Do your research before you jump in. These type of solutions take a long time to build. Spend a few months doing the research before you jump into it, because once you start and get the project going, it's very hard to roll back or switch off. 

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with NETSCOUT for the deployment.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).

This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time.

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

The license becomes cost prohibitive very quickly.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We always use a mix of different tools, and NETSCOUT is one of them.

One advantage that NETSCOUT has in the market is a very broad range of products. They cover a whole range of 11 products, where other vendors tend to be specialized, with a more narrow field. So, NETSCOUT is a good end-to-end vendor.

What other advice do I have?

The product is efficient, but the learning curve is very steep. Also, the technology feels a bit outdated.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RT
Network Engineer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It helps us with uptime and eases our experience

Pros and Cons

  • "The speed that you can get from the top of a problem all the way down to the packet layer of troubleshooting analysis."
  • "The product is a little complicated."

What is our primary use case?

We use this to investigate various network anomalies, application performance issues, and anything that somebody can't seem to solve in our environment.

How has it helped my organization?

As the network team, we get engaged when somebody having a problem with an application, and they have run into so many walls that they've come to us. The network team typically manages this from top to bottom, so we use it to troubleshoot.

This solution helps us get to the root cause. Most recently, we had a third-party vendor who was experiencing trouble. They said it was our problem, trying to determine if something was wrong with the SSL connection. They spent some time looking at it, like days or weeks even looking at this.  When they came to us, and said “Can you get a packet capture? Can you tell us what is going on?” We were able to identify it in about a minute.

We use this solution for unified communication application performance. It help us with uptime and eases our experience. There are user experiences that we've been able to get to the root cause of very quickly using their tools. We have found QoS mismatch and different anomalies in the QoS configuration. We have used this to troubleshoot and find issues, where we could explain exactly why a client was behaving the way it was. It might not be necessarily security, but technical.

What is most valuable?

The speed that you can get from the top of a problem all the way down to the packet layer of troubleshooting analysis.

The dependency mapping might be one of the best pieces of the product. We have not leveraged it as fully as we can, but it is an extremely powerful piece.

What needs improvement?

The product is a little complicated.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for a long time, since 1998.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a very stable product, if it's properly implemented. Anybody who is using the product should probably use Professional Services to implement it properly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is superior among most of the support centers that I have dealt with.

How was the initial setup?

Our environmental is complicated. So, the initial setup was a bit complex, but it was as simple as it could have been made.

What about the implementation team?

We used NETSCOUT Professional Services years ago. 

If the single pane of glass can be effectively implemented, it is very powerful. However, if you're not working with NETSCOUT closely, this is a little difficult. Overall, it is a very good pane of glass to provide customers.

If you are going to do a deployment of this product, you should use NETSCOUT Professional Services or have an expert.

What was our ROI?

For common issues, we have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).

It has cut the troubleshoot time on many issues. It has cut some problems from days to hours (or less).

It has helped increase our application/network uptime.

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

It is a little overall pricey and expensive, but you get what you pay for.

What other advice do I have?

We haven't used it as much for IT deployments, but we do use it occasionally after a deployment to troubleshoot when somebody is having problems with their deployment.

I'm looking at their nGenious Visibility-as-a-service to try and leverage product. The struggle that most of people have with it: The product isn't all we do. We're not just looking at NETSCOUT all day. If you have somebody that you can dedicate to NETSCOUT, it would be an incredible investment. However, most companies don't, so I'm looking at their nGenious Visibility-as-a-service because I'm in the position where I know I can get more from the product. 

It is a great investment. The product is superior, but it's difficult to manage, keep current, be in front of, and be proactive with it. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AD
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
When we have any type of outage, we can tell what the root cause of the issue is

Pros and Cons

  • "Packet decode and bandwidth analysis reports are the two most valuable features."
  • "When we have any type of outage, and we dig into it, we are able to tell what the root cause is instead of having to go through Wireshark, etc."
  • "The product was lacking for awhile when they did the Arbor acquisition. I was waiting to see more security stuff, which they did eventually add, and is now impressive."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to monitor our network.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution provide us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment.

When we have any type of outage, and we dig into it, we are able to tell what the root cause is instead of having to go through Wireshark, etc. 

What is most valuable?

Packet decode and bandwidth analysis reports are the two most valuable features.

What needs improvement?

The product was lacking for awhile when they did the Arbor acquisition. I was waiting to see more security stuff, which they did eventually add, and is now impressive.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is excellent. The company allows you to add more to what you already have. Not all companies do this.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an on staff SE. He is one of the top guys around and excellent to work with. I deal with him all the time.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't around for the initial setup.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know (MTTK) and mean time to repair (MTTR).

This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are looking at Pulseway at the moment.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a big advocate of NETSCOUT. They're always thinking ahead, and that's what I like. I would recommend taking a look at NETSCOUT.

Overall, when we get to the point that we need to, the dependency mapping will be excellent.

We actually like the single pane of glass view. I don't know if we will ever be able to get to it, because of the organization that I work with.

Once we get it implemented correctly, I think the solution will help to increase our application or network uptime. As of right now, that is why I'm pushing for product integration within my organization, which has been difficult.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TN
Senior Staff Engineer at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
It benefits us by finding situations in our networks that we don't know exist

Pros and Cons

  • "It helps us get to the root cause quickly. It helps us find massive error codes, then we drill down on that error code, knowing that is the source of our problem."
  • "The technical support could improve a bit with quicker responses for early on questions. What I think are simple questions are taking a long time to get answers to."

What is our primary use case?

Detecting network issues which aren't obvious, more than just node alarms.

How has it helped my organization?

It benefits us by finding situations in our networks that we don't know exist.

It helps us get to the root cause quickly. It helps us find massive error codes, then we drill down on that error code, knowing that is the source of our problem.

What is most valuable?

It is on the wire. We see everything: all the packets.

I have a positive impression of the single pane of glass view. The feature is nice. Everything is structured around a drill down, starting with one pane, then drilling down.

What needs improvement?

It is a good product with a few limitations. It is so complex and takes a bit of training to figure out. We need better training, so we can take this complex solution and implement it more easily.

Change the font size on the grid in nGeniusONE so the names of the grids will all fit on the grid tiles. The font is so large that you can't see the name.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is mostly good. However, we just had an outage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't scaled much. Talking to other customers, it sounds like it scales well.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is mostly good. They could improve a bit with quicker responses for early on questions. What I think are simple questions are taking a long time to get answers to.

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

We wanted visibility that we did not have with our tools at the time. We had an Ericsson type solution, which we added this solution to.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. It was hard to know what to tap and how to tap. We are still wrestling with TAPs and light levels, then filtering.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed the solution in-house.

What was our ROI?

This solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time by several days. It has helped increase our application/network uptime.

We have engineers spending less time troubleshooting the network. That has to have some return on investment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

NETSCOUT was sitting on the wire. The other vendors that we looked at were taking flows from network nodes instead of sitting on the wire, and we liked the wire better.

What other advice do I have?

NETSCOUT is a good product, but you need to spend the time training-wise to figure it out and make it useful.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DL
Principal SIP Engineer
Vendor
Gives me the MOS, latency, and jitter

Pros and Cons

  • "It gives me the MOS, latency, and jitter."
  • "I would love to have them reassemble fragmented packets. That would be a very big plus in my book."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is diagnosing real-time communications for all the Voice over IP on our network. We use this solution for unified communication application performance, specifically for performance monitoring, but especially for the troubleshooting.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped with the operations teams, who have been able to collect information and troubleshoot with the application. So, it has been a benefit for the lower tier support.

It has helped identify issues more quickly.

What is most valuable?

It gives me the MOS, latency, and jitter. 

It captures RTP, so I am capable of ingesting and listening to the RTP side of it.

95 percent of the solution helps us get to the root cause quickly.

What needs improvement?

I would love to have them reassemble fragmented packets. That would be a very big plus in my book.

While it does give me increased visibility while conducting IT deployments, I have experience some limitations with it.

We have jumbo frames, which can get fragmented. They don't bring together everything that I need for me to work right. If I could get an end-to-end, then it would give me a good view of how everything would be in my particular call flow.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have a lot of timeouts when we are trying to assemble data packets together or trying to pull down a view of one particular call. However, overall, it performs adequately.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't directly use their technical support.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, it was a little cumbersome to set up. Once we figured out the nuances of what we wanted, it was fairly simple to set up and set our cards, so we got to things a bit quicker.

What other advice do I have?

Ensure that you get all your DAPS in at the right spots for your data. Learn how to build your cards to have a quick view and quick selection of where you want to troubleshoot.

I believe other departments within our organization use this solution for proactive monitoring of SaaS applications or remote sites.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Elias Lolei
Network Specialest at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Call search and Media Monitor were essential when we launched VoLTE

Pros and Cons

  • "The VoLTE model, call search and Media Monitor were essential when we launched VoLTE. We're relying heavily on them to troubleshoot our VoLTE calls."
  • "NG1 has been stable for a while in our environment - at least we have what we needed. But with nBA, there's a lot of room for improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for a lot of VoLTE monitoring and network monitoring in general. Most of our services are being monitored via NG1.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. For example, once we launched VoLTE, we had other tools in the network that we were using for some other use cases, but in terms of MOS scoring and general monitoring of how the VoLTE calls were doing, we were using the Media Monitor.

We're not really using it to proactively capture outages, like Zero-day outages for example, when there is something completely new. But once we detect an outage, we can then use the tool to understand what it was and create an alarm, and that can be used for future similar outages so we can avoid them in the future.

It also helps us get to root cause quickly. We had an Rx Diameter issue at some point in IMS, and without the product it would have taken us more time to be able to troubleshoot and figure out what was happening. With the product, we were able to use Universal Monitor right away to figure out the actual error code and understand the issue from there.

In terms of unified communication, that's the VoLTE modules and the MOS scores. We used it heavily when we launch VoLTE. Currently, we have monitors set up per region so that we can monitor VoLTE. We also have it per event, so when we know something is happening on a big scale and we really need close-up monitoring, we set it up specifically for that area or region or the particular cells, to monitor that particular event.

The solution has cut our overall troubleshooting time and has helped to increase our network uptime.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is VoLTE, for sure. The VoLTE modul, call search and Media Monitor were essential when we launched VoLTE. We're relying heavily on them to troubleshoot our VoLTE calls.

What needs improvement?

There is a lot of the VoLTE, voice, video MOS, and customer experience that we'd like to do. There's a lot of throughput analysis where we're trying to understand, with the vendor, whether it's accurate or we need more work on it. Those are our top priorities.

NG1 has been stable for a while in our environment - at least we have what we needed. But with nBA, there's a lot of room for improvement.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is a tricky question. It is stable, but the way we use it, we have a lot of tweaks and a lot of specific and detailed configurations on the InfiniStream. It's a very manual process to configure it right now. We're also looking into ways to automate that and, hopefully, eliminate the human error.

So it's stable, but once you start doing more and more with it, there is always something happening in the background that we're not sure of, that fails or something happens, and we have to troubleshoot it and understand it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, on the NG1 side, it's been very easy to scale. We just go into InfiniStream if we need to and we can very easily link it to our same NG1.

In terms of actually needing to add new InfiniStream, this has been a challenge because we'd like to reduce costs. However, there are a lot of use cases where we absolutely have to have new hardware, which we don't like, but it is what it is.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. We have a dedicated team. We have two SEs onsite who work with us, plus the support engineer. With those three, we have great support.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't part of the initial setup, it was set up before my time. But I helped set up the NG1 part and it was fairly straightforward because we have very good SEs on site, plus the support team. Whenever we need something we reach out, and they support us right away.

What other advice do I have?

Get a demo. The guys at NETSCOUT have been super-helpful. Any time we ask for something they simply say, "Let's show it to you." They come onsite, give us a demo, show it to us, and if we like it we deploy it. We also have a sandbox, where we get our real traffic into the product in the early stages. We do all of our testing and all of our new builds in there before rolling to production, and that really helps.

Regarding the single pane of glass view, we have different views because we use different tools for different use cases. We can't really say that we have it in our network yet, but if we can work toward that, it would be good.

We have not used the Dependency Mapping the solution provides because our connections and relationship are way too complex. It's hard to see it on a visual screen.

The solution helps us with network uptime. It helps with user experience to some degree. We still have some caveats that we're trying to work on with NETSCOUT. We're using nBA now for user experience and there's some cool stuff coming up. We're looking forward to it.

I would rate nGenius at eight out of ten, because of the support and all the feedback we get. And at events, we get direct contact with their executive.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Patricia Bertrand
General IT Manager at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Provides us with all the detailed information we need to get to root cause quickly

Pros and Cons

  • "The valuable features include packet analysis, packet capture, and [that] it's easy to use."
  • "The single pane of glass view is a challenge. I like the graphics, they're easy to understand, but when more digging is required, it's more complicated to get what I'm expecting."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for our network capacity performance, for the entire ICM backbone core.

In addition, our company uses the solution for unified communication application performance. While it's not my team, there is another team responsible for capacity performance for video and they are using the same NETSCOUT toolset for wireless, wire line, and video.

How has it helped my organization?

I manage the entire building, so I have the responsibility for extending network capacity if we hit a limitation. It gives us the possibility of increasing the capacity wherever it is required. We have over 55,000 employees across Canada, from the Atlantic to Vancouver, so I use the tool on a daily basis to do my analysis.

It helps us get to root cause quickly. When we have a problem or people are reporting latency on their network, my guys are, of course, checking for the dates, specific times, and IP. We can get all the information that we are looking for, in detail. While my guys are not responsible for finding root cause, the solution is quite helpful in finding it.

In addition, it has cut our overall troubleshooting time for my network guys, when there's a real network problem. It has increased our network uptime as well.

What is most valuable?

The valuable features include 

  • packet analysis
  • packet capture
  • it's easy to use. 

What needs improvement?

The single pane of glass view is a challenge. I like the graphics, they're easy to understand, but when more digging is required, it's more complicated to get what I'm expecting. Since the challenge for me is the dashboard, I would appreciate having a better view from the dashboard. What I don't know is whether the issue is that our configuration needs work. We probably don't do the mapping and the dependency configuration properly and that may be the reason why my dashboard is not crystal clear.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's also pretty scalable, there is no problem with that. It can be expensive, but if you have a good configuration, based on what you are looking for, it's okay, it's manageable.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. We are well supported by the team. Even with the PULSE - I am new on this team, I have been here less than a year - they were there all the time, on a regular basis, to provide support on that completely new application for us. We were asking very simple questions and they were always there for us. It's been a great collaboration.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup would be complex for me, since I don't have that kind of talent, but it was pretty simple for my guys.

What about the implementation team?

On my team, we are doing the implementation. Other teams within the company are using third-parties to do the deployment. But on my side, it's all internal people.

What was our ROI?

We're losing a thousand per minute when we're down. Being able to know where the problem is more quickly, we're going to save a lot of money.

What other advice do I have?

I'm not a big fan of pushing a particular vendor, but it is a very good product: pretty stable, pretty scalable, with a very good and solid engineering team behind it. They are available and listen to customer needs and are always willing to do more to improve their products. But because I don't like to push a product too much, I prefer that people see and try it to see if they like it, to see if it fits their needs.

The tool itself is just fantastic. We've been using it since 2001 or 2002. We are a big fan of the product.

If we are satisfied with what we have, we don't ask for more. It's always about problem resolution or product improvement. We used to have regular, weekly calls with our NETSCOUT rep and, as soon they had a new product, a new version, new updates, they would share them with us, and we would know if we wanted to go in that direction or not. Today, we are quite happy and satisfied with what we have.

We don't yet use the solution for proactive monitoring of SaaS applications or remote sites. We are working on the deployment of PULSE. I can easily imagine that with that new solution deployed in production, we will be able to do more and more proactively. It's not because it's not available with nGeniusONE, it's just that I have no one to check and be proactive.

We will see a decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair, more and more in the coming months, with PULSE. It's more about a business impact. With PULSE, we will have that "radar view", a view of the network, the server, and the application. So instead of needing 15 resources on a call at 2 AM, and losing 45 minutes just to get everyone there to find out what the is problem, with the PULSE solution, we are going to decrease that MTTR dramatically.

Because nGeniusONE is pretty stable and scalable, I would say it's a good nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
George Dohanich
Telecom Design Engineer at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
For service assurance, in SMS in particular, they use it very heavily to proactively hit issues

Pros and Cons

  • "Among the valuable features, if it's TAP'ed well, are the density of the data that you can get and the relatively high veracity or accuracy rate that we see from it."
  • "The stability is only fair. It goes down a lot."

What is our primary use case?

We used to use it for application debugging, in particular SMS and MMS, but lately, we've been turning towards using it for OpenStack and cloud-issue debugging.

How has it helped my organization?

In a network deployment, it provides us with increased visibility.

From the service assurance perspective, in SMS in particular, they use it very heavily to proactively try to hit issues. There are a lot of times where NETSCOUT will catch something spinning up the SA organization and then, in turn, spinning up the operations organization to go catch and kill it; or it comes over to network development. So it's used fairly extensively.

We use it on the cloud side more from a reactive perspective and it's certainly helped us catch and kill a couple of issues that we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. 

It helps us get to root cause quickly. We had an OpenStack Cinder issue, a storage-type issue, and we chased our tails on that for quite some time until we managed to get the data over to a NETSCOUT probe. Then we were able to very rapidly figure out what the heck was going on.

When we can get the data into the tool, we absolutely see a decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair, and similarly for overall troubleshooting time. With that Cinder issue, we spun our wheels for almost two weeks before we managed to get the data over to the tool and, once we did, we solved it fast. So it can be days or weeks of saved time.

In terms of application uptime, it's deployed and leveraged for almost all the applications in our organization: VoLTE, SMS, MMS, etc. So as heavily as the service assurance groups and operations use it, I'd say that they consider it pretty essential at this point.

What is most valuable?

Among the valuable features, if it's TAP'ed well, are the density of the data that you can get and the relatively high veracity or accuracy rate that we see from it.

What needs improvement?

In terms of additional features, Bruce Kelly was talking about the NFV and 5G aspects of it, in monitoring all the APIs for all of those functions. We're really looking forward to seeing that so that we can give better visibility into the functioning of the cloud and the orchestrator itself.

There is room for improvement in its stability and by expanding into the cloud and orchestration sphere, which I think is on the roadmap.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is only fair. It goes down a lot.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales out fairly widely, horizontally. And with the new virtual one, we'll be doing it a lot wider. So it has good scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. We've got good onsite support and those guys are generally available.

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

We knew we needed to invest in a new solution because we couldn't fix things.

What was our ROI?

We see ROI through the ability to fix and to keep the perception that our network is up 100 percent. That is absolutely critical. It keeps the customers coming in.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at Empirix.

What other advice do I have?

Consider what your applications are for this and purchase your features accordingly.

Regarding the single pane of glass view, we don't think we've really fully deployed it from a cloud perspective, but from a VoLTE perspective, I know they're starting to get on top of it. From an SMS perspective, we found it very useful.

I'll give it an eight out of ten as it stands today. It's very useful, but we do see some stability concerns. There is a lot of maintenance around the probes, and I think there needs to be more development done in the cloud sphere.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Matthew Cady
System Engineer at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Visibility, real-time and on-demand, is key for us, but the scalability needs some work

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are visibility, real-time, on-demand."
  • "The scalability needs some work. From a probe perspective, we are limited to a certain amount of throughput on the devices themselves. Without having actual hooks into the bare metal hardware for the solutions, it's a bit of a "thumb in the air" as to when we hit our capacity or when our high watermark is."

What is our primary use case?

We use it mainly for north-south, and soon to be, again, east-west: Troubleshooting, visibility into the VoLTE cloud that we've designed. Initially, it was very small, baby clouds, per se, but now as we redesign and go to scale, so that we have the visibility we need, we need better tools. We have the infrastructure, but we need to take the next step into the virtual lane.

We use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites. We have 29 data centers where these clouds are built and we're moving out to edge and we will have even more.

How has it helped my organization?

It has provided us with increased visibility, not during deployment, but downstream, once we actually turn up services, whether it's microservices or a VNF.

During outages, and in terms of visibility into VNF and container behavior across the various versions of our cloud, it has helped our organization.

nGenius also helps us get to root cause quickly. Signaling is one example. We have challenges between applications that share the same baby clouds but that utilize storage differently than the network. We don't have that visibility now in some of our deployments. Our new deployments will have that visibility because we're not using copper for a lot of the east-west traffic in the cloud. We're actually moving to fiber so that we have that visibility. The next step will probably vSTREAM.

In addition, I believe it has cut overall troubleshooting times for the OSS and DevOps teams, and it has increased uptime. I'm not in the operations lane, but I know that is something that we have to have.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are visibility, real-time, on-demand.

What needs improvement?

I need more details on the vSTREAM and how that scales from a CPU perspective. I know that we can start with one virtual CPU, but at the same time, our clouds are still limited by compute nodes. That's an ongoing question and it's part of why we're here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, to see how we architect that out.

I'd like to see improvement in scalability and the CPU perspective on the actual cloud nodes. It would be good to have a roadmap of what impact to our underlying cloud we will see as we add vSTREAM vCPUs.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any problems with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability needs some work. From a probe perspective, we are limited to a certain amount of throughput on the devices themselves. Without having actual hooks into the bare metal hardware for the solutions, it's a bit of a "thumb in the air" as to when we hit our capacity or when our high watermark is. I'm not sure if our operations teams have that capacity under control. So when we have to scale, it's a very large expense.

How was the initial setup?

I'm not aware of whether the initial setup is straightforward or complex. We have a standard template when we build them out.

What about the implementation team?

A lot of it was internal or direct with NETSCOUT.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've had ongoing RFPs back and forth for multiple years. As far as new solutions for our visibility needs go, as we're right in the middle of our cloud journey from an LTE to NFV to 5G, we're trying to get a grasp. We're always on the cusp, looking for the next set of roadmaps and how we integrate that into our network to provide for our customers.

Our shortlist included the usual culprits: Empirix, Gigamon, all of them in the same build with NETSCOUT. We still have a very vast mix of everything.

What other advice do I have?

We can't ever walk into our builds or our support models blindly. This solution is one of many options, but it's obviously one of the better ones that we've worked with for years, and it's an integral portion of our architecture upfront.

"Single pane of glass" is a very overused cliche in our business for the past couple of years, same with "Agile." I like the idea of being able to stitch it all together. Our operations team definitely insist on it.

I would rate NETSCOUT a seven out of ten. Not to be a detractor, but I don't have the hands-on experience from an operations standpoint, so that's why I rate it a seven.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DO
Technical Lead at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Packet capture, going back hours or days, helps us do real troubleshooting

Pros and Cons

  • "The packet capture is the most valuable feature for us. It gathers data from the device. In case somebody has a problem, I can go back X amount of time - days, hours - and get the data to do real troubleshooting."
  • "Trying to set up dashboards is hard to figure out at times, if you don't do it every day. It's not really intuitive to set them all up... If there were a wizard to take us through, step-by-step, creating dashboards and the like, that would be really helpful."

What is our primary use case?

Troubleshooting is our primary use case for the solution.

How has it helped my organization?

We get increased visibility from nGenius while conducting an IT deployment. If the deployment has issues then we can always go back, look at the logs, and figure out what may be happening.

A lot of times people blame the network, and since I'm responsible for the network, people call me. Through troubleshooting using the tool, I verify that it's not our issue, and I also use the tool to help figure out what the issue really is.

It helps us get to root cause quickly. For example, troubleshooting an application issue without the tool would mean we wouldn't have the collection of data to go through to figure out what the problem is. Now that we have X number of hours, maybe even days of data, depending on what we're actually watching, we can look at the data. It's possible that somebody's having an application issue and they come to us figure out what the problem is and we can help them solve their issue a little faster.

We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. It's a little hard to say how much because it depends on what you're troubleshooting, but I would estimate it at 25 percent, or even less, of what it would normally be. And our overall troubleshooting time, in most cases, is down to a day, as opposed to multiple days. Without the data, it's almost impossible to figure out what a problem may have been.

What is most valuable?

The packet capture is the most valuable feature for us. It gathers data from the device. In case somebody has a problem, I can go back X amount of time - days, hours - and get the data to do real troubleshooting.

What needs improvement?

In terms of the single pane of glass view, it's good, but trying to set up dashboards is hard to figure out at times, if you don't do it every day. It's not really intuitive to set them all up. Other than that, it's a good dashboard. A lot of people are using it.

If there were a wizard to take us through, step-by-step, creating dashboards and the like, that would be really helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. Every once in a great while we'll have to reboot the nGeniusONE server. That may be server-related and not application related.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't really scaled it very much. We're not a really big shop. We've got five InfiniStreams collecting into our nGeniusONE. It's supposed to scale pretty well, but I don't really have much comment on it because we're pretty small as it is.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good.

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

We didn't have a previous solution at all, other than Wireshark to capture packets when we needed them. We knew we needed something better than that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a little complex, only because it was the first time we were getting into such a tool. We didn't know much about it. We had to learn while going along. It was complex, but quite doable.

What about the implementation team?

We did it ourselves.

What was our ROI?

I don't see the numbers, because I'm a technical guy. But I would imagine there probably is a return on investment because we're fixing these applications faster, causing less of an outage. I would say we're actually saving money, or at least not losing as much money when these applications are down. It's a big help there.

What other advice do I have?

I would show someone who is looking into this type of product what I know about the product, how I use it, and help them make a decision on whether it's the right product for them.

The product has a lot of capabilities and we're just using a small fraction of it. So, right now, I would call the solution a nine out of ten, because we only use a small portion of it. But for what we do, it helps us out tremendously.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MV
Telecom Tech with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Identifiers enable us to drill down into any kinds of issues that are reported to us

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature of this solution is being able to drill down into any kind of troubles that are reported to us, by use of identifiers."
  • "Some of the filters could be easier to see and to set up. That's the only thing that I've ever had any trouble with."

What is our primary use case?

Troubleshooting our LTE network - any situations that come up in our cellular network. We also use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites, as we use it to monitor all the towers in our cellular network, as well as our core applications.

We're still in the beginning stages, learning how to use it.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a great monitoring tool. At a glance, we can get an idea of what's going on in our network.

Also, while I don't track it personally, I know that time to repair has been reduced and that it has cut our overall troubleshooting time.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is being able to drill down into any kind of troubles that are reported to us, by use of identifiers.

What needs improvement?

Some of the filters could be easier to see and to set up. That's the only thing that I've ever had any trouble with. The ones that I've seen here, at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, are part of a newer version that we don't have yet, and it looks better. So, it may already have been fixed.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's 100 percent stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm sure it's great, but I haven't had to deal with technical support. I'm a technician.

How was the initial setup?

I assume the setup was straightforward. I'm a telecom tech. The engineers did all the setup and I only use the tool. I didn't help set it up.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend it. It's the best tool that I've used as far as troubleshooting quickly, at a glance, and for being able to drill down into any issues, any complaints we might have from customers.

I do know that we would like to get TrueCall, but we don't have that yet. We're working on it.

I would rate nGenius a nine out of ten because I don't rate anything a ten. There's always room for improvement.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DC
Network System Admin at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
For VoLTE, it provides visibility into network operations

Pros and Cons

  • "From the standpoint of VoLTE and related things, it's providing visibility into the network and how it operates."
  • "Our biggest area of concern right now, supporting the applications, is that while NETSCOUT does a good job of monitoring the network and the applications, we need more visibility into system health and performance monitoring."

What is our primary use case?

Network troubleshooting is our primary use case.

How has it helped my organization?

nGeniusONE provides us with increased visibility while conducting a deployment. I'm not on the IT side, I'm on the carrier side, but it provides that increased visibility for us.

From the standpoint of VoLTE and related things, it's providing visibility into the network and how it operates. It has also improved our ability to troubleshoot end-customer issues.

What is most valuable?

One of the valuable features is permanent user perspective, getting to the one pane of glass, so that they can use one tool for multiple purposes.

What needs improvement?

In terms of the single pane of glass view, NETSCOUT has many tools. I think NG1 provides that single pane for a lot of things, but users are still using several different applications within the NETSCOUT realm of applications, and more integration would be helpful.

Our biggest area of concern right now, supporting the applications, is that while NETSCOUT does a good job of monitoring the network and the applications, we need more visibility into system health and performance monitoring. We need something that will monitor the tool that monitors the network.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability, for us, has been an issue but, to some degree, I think that's from a standpoint of capacity. People are wanting more from the system than what we originally deployed it for, so it's pushed it to its limit. As a result, we're deploying additional capacity.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It seems to be scalable. We have a pretty big installation. Once we get capacity in place, I think it will resolve a lot of our issues.

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

The main driver was VoLTE, but also getting to a single pane of glass, so that we can have one tool to monitor end-to-end performance. Before nGeniusONE we used Empirix and we still have that solution in place today for some things.

How was the initial setup?

To some degree, the initial setup was complex because of the nature of the application. But, as things go, I wouldn't describe it as any more complex than anything else.

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with NETSCOUT.

What was our ROI?

I don't have access to the numbers to give a black and white answer, but I think that our company will get that return on investment over time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn't get to choose. I support what the business chooses. I've supported several applications in this area, and my experience with NETSCOUT has been positive to date.

What other advice do I have?

I've been speaking to people who were having some technical issues with our NETSCOUT deployment, but when it works it absolutely helps us get to root cause more quickly.

I would rate it pretty close to a ten out of ten. It's a very complex application and system, and the support from our NETSCOUT resources has been stellar.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RR
Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Dependency Mapping helps us understand what applications are talking to and where single failures might be

Pros and Cons

  • "The best feature is when we have it connected permanently via TAPs. That enables us to constantly collect data and then we can go back in time... To be able to rewind, back in time, and see the problem as it happened, is very helpful."
  • "On a network the size of ours, the loading times seem a little extensive, 20 or 30 seconds to load up some graphs."

What is our primary use case?

Over the years, it's been more for packet-capture troubleshooting. But in the last two or three years, we have been using it for application monitoring and expanded our usage because of voice over IP and the communications stuff. It has really expanded a lot, and we've creating dashboards and reports. Originally, it was just a reactive tool. If there was a problem, we'd go capture something and move on. But it has really expanded quite a bit in the last four or five years.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It's recording data all the time, so we have the "before" picture and the "after" picture. That's a big thing.

The Dependency Mapping is very helpful. When everything is instrumented correctly, and we can bring up a Dependency Mapping, sometimes it even surprises people in terms of what the applications are talking to and where the single failures might be.

In addition, in the troubleshooting area, we are able to zero in on an issue more quickly and get things working faster. In areas where we have instrumentation, we have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair.

What is most valuable?

The solution is very reliable.

The best feature is when we have it connected permanently via TAPs. That enables us to constantly collect data and then we can go back in time. Of course, we don't want a given problem to keep happening, but if we weren't able to use the solution to go back in time to when a problem happened, then we would have to hope the problem happens again so we can capture it and figure out what's going on. To be able to rewind, back in time, and see the problem as it happened, is very helpful.

What needs improvement?

In terms of additional features, they have the virtual clients here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, and they have really expanded that. That type of coverage is going to be crucial. The COTS that they are doing now are a very good idea, to lower the price some. We work with them weekly, and if we uncover something, a feature that would be relevant, we usually report it. A lot of times it will get included.

Regarding room for improvement, on a network the size of ours, the loading times seem a little extensive, 20 or 30 seconds to load up some graphs. But there is a lot of data being crunched. That's all server hardware.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

nGeniusONE is very stable. We have very few problems with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well also. We are about up to 350 InfiniStreams. We have a multi-tier architecture for the NG1, locals and globals, and backup solutions and the failover solutions for disaster recovery work well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very responsive. We have two people onsite that we pay. They work for NETSCOUT and they're very helpful.

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

We've had NETSCOUT so long I can't even remember what previous solution we had. We did have a couple of areas where we had Riverbed Technology but we are phasing that out.

How was the initial setup?

For an organization of our size, the setup was fairly complicated. We have a lot of equipment, a lot of tiers. We have a lot of security concerns so we had to shut down ports and we have firewalls and things like that. It may not have been complicated because of NETSCOUT, it just may have been complicated because of the environment.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use any outside resources for the deployment, but we do have onsite people from NETSCOUT.

What other advice do I have?

Take a good look at this. It's been good for us. I've looked at some other solutions and everybody has the same problems to fix. The way that NETSCOUT, the company, is integrating so you get to reuse the data, is good. One of the problems we had originally was that everybody was doing something else. If you are going to capture all this network wire data, why not use it for security and everything. It's all in there. That's a big opportunity with these guys. If you go out and get something for voice from one company, and something to work on your network issues from another company, it's really hard to work them together. You never get to that single pane of glass.

We use the solution for unified communication application performance but that's not really my area. People do use that constantly, and I don't think we'd be paying hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, if it didn't help with uptime and end-user experience.

I rate the product pretty highly, a nine out of ten. The biggest problem we have with this product is the expense. Also lately, the network traffic loads, getting up to 100 gigabytes, are taxing the hardware a little bit. That's a problem everywhere, so it's not really particular to NETSCOUT. They are responding to that. I rate them very highly.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DG
Network Analyst
Real User
Dependency Mapping feature is critical in figuring out any path, but we need a quicker way to get the net path

Pros and Cons

  • "If one of our network pipes is getting plugged up by somebody using too much bandwidth, we can use the NETSCOUT tool to examine and find out what is going on."
  • "One of the products we use is SolarWinds, and it provides a very cool mapping of an agent from end-to-end. If NETSCOUT could somehow implement that into their design... make it quicker and easier to get those net paths, it would be huge."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for when an app team or somebody comes to us and tells us that we have a problem with a server, that they're experiencing slowness, or latency, or the like. We like to take two IPs end-to-end. It will give us a server IP and the client IP, and we can plug that into nGeniusOne to hopefully give us some kind of error codes or a breakdown of what's going on from the packet level of the transaction. Hopefully, it gives us an idea of what's wrong.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution gives us increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment, depending on what the deployment is. As long as it's still monitoring in places that we're deploying something - for example, if it's in the DMZ, and it's going over a firewall - we have sniffers and tasks with this product deployed. In that case, we should be able to use it.

Another example would be when we're in the process of doing a lot of backups to the cloud. The teams come to us and they want a certain amount of bandwidth and a certain amount of resources, and they constantly ask us whether it's too much or too little, or can they use more overnight or at certain times. I can go back to my NETSCOUT reports and find out whether they're in trouble or actually have more capacity so they can ramp up their operations. It provides a view into that.

When we actually can use the product, we can see a measurable decrease in mean time to know or mean time to repair. It definitely has been something we wouldn't do otherwise, especially for capacity planning. We will get there when we have more proactive alarming and monitoring in place. It can greatly cut overall troubleshooting time once you know how to use it and it's properly and fully implemented.

What is most valuable?

Its troubleshooting capabilities are the most effective because we have it deployed in and out of our data centers, with our servers on-prem. And even now, going off-prem with Azure, we want to have visibility. For example, if one of our network pipes is getting plugged up by somebody using too much bandwidth, we can use the NETSCOUT tool to examine and find out what is going on.

I like the Dependency Mapping the solution provides, as long as it works. If you have it properly deployed it will. Being able to have dependencies is very critical in figuring out any path, and the more we can have that functionality it's nice because we can see if something's talking to multiple devices. We can see if one is actually the cause, rather than just "seeing blindly."

What needs improvement?

In terms of the single pane of glass view, when we build it out in the nGeniusOne platform, there are multiple tiles and, depending on what we're trying to examine, it doesn't all fit in one single pane of glass. It would be nice to have that functionality, but you really do have to categorize things because there is so much data.

The biggest thing is being able to provide net path. One of the products we use is SolarWinds, and it provides a very cool mapping of an agent from end-to-end. If NETSCOUT could somehow implement that into their design, whether it be sniffer-to-sniffer, or that kind of thing. I know they have some functionality along those lines, but if they could make it quicker and easier to get those net paths, it would be huge. I could quickly plug in problem IPs and get a full hosted view of where it's going from end-to-end. That would be really useful.

Finally, the GUI, the interface, has room for improvement. It's user-friendly to a degree, but when comparing it to other products, such as in the Cisco environment or SolarWinds, I found that I could just fumble my way through those tools very easily without training. Whereas with NETSCOUT, I need training in order to set stuff up because I would never figure that out on my own.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been pretty good. I haven't had any issues with the hardware, for the most part. It's a little tricky working with if you don't go through NETSCOUT for the packet flow switching. Right now, we use Gigamon, which we've had some older iterations of and some issues with. But as far as the hardware from NETSCOUT goes, we've had no issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is huge because certain ISPs have hundreds of these things out there monitoring their deployments, versus our having a few. It's very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support started off poorly a few years ago, when we first implemented this, but I don't think we had the right resources on hand. In the last year, my company has worked directly with an OSC onsite, and the support has been much better.

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

We've actually had NETSCOUT for a long time, but originally it was implemented as a security tool, pre- and post-firewall, to just monitor traffic that way, to see how effective it was.

Now that firewalls have improved, and we use Check Point for that, it's been transitioned to the network team - to where I am - and now we're just using it as an NPM-type solution. It didn't really come in as a replacement. It was more, "Here are some assets that we want to use for network performance," so we're learning how to use it and deploy it better.

I don't know how they came to the decision to use NETSCOUT five years ago, but we kept it because we've had an investment with them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup has been very complex. Just understanding our own environment, we definitely needed a dedicated resource, an OSC, to really figure out where we needed to deploy these things, what the capacity we needed to build out was, and what we needed to spend; what we currently had versus what we need. It has definitely been complex.

What about the implementation team?

We've always gone straight through NETSCOUT in terms of the support and the hardware. We have never gone through a reseller.

What was our ROI?

We have seen some initial return on investment, on a small scale. We definitely hope to get more out of it once we implement it properly with the OSC. We're in the early stages.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at some of the Cisco stuff, and LiveAction, and SolarWinds, but NETSCOUT has its own little deep-dive triage packet part of the market that no one really, that I know of, touches. There is definitely still value there when considering.

What other advice do I have?

If you want deep-dive, triage, packet-capture-type data, rather than just using Wireshark, it's very effective for that. It's definitely good for complex troubleshooting. There are other solutions, going into the cloud with the thin clients, and the vSTREAMs and vSCOUTs are definitely good, as is the nGeniusPULSE - I really like the PULSE product. We're not currently using that.

I think nGenius is very useful. You have to know your own environment, and see if it's good for you or not. My recommendation is mixed, to be honest. Depending on what you're looking for would determine whether I'd recommend it or not, which I actually have, to a colleague.

The solution can help us get to root cause more quickly, but not always. It is definitely a good stepping-stone, and when we have the visibility and the deployment properly implemented, it definitely can quickly get to a root cause.

We use the solution for proactive monitoring of remote sites to an extent. We have all of our sniffers, and all the stuff that's TAP-ed is in our central areas that get reported back from remote sites. As long as it crosses over one of those TAPs, it works. We're currently in the process of actually redefining and restructuring our build so that it does give baselines and some proactive monitoring, but we're not there yet.

For responding to issues, it can help the network uptime, especially when it comes to capacity, but as far as actually helping the stability of the network, I don't think it's really done that.

nGeniusOne is a seven out of ten, but improving. Originally, about a year or two ago, it was like a four out of ten for us because we weren't using it properly. When it's implemented properly, and the training is there to use the interface and have it work in your company, and people understand it, it can be very effective. As we do more and get it properly implemented, I think that score can even go up.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Chris Hannaford
Solutions Architect at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Removes the complexity of having to do SPAN sessions, but interface needs to be easier to understand

Pros and Cons

  • "The details it provides are among the most valuable features; the ability to drill down and get to the packet level."
  • "It could have an easier to understand interface."

What is our primary use case?

Visibility into the network is our primary use case.

We're just starting to use the solution for unified communication application performance, but we're not there yet.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment.

It also helps us get to root cause quickly. We've had some voice issues, unified communication issues, over the last few months, and it gave insight that the voice team didn't have. We could actually pin it down to the point that we had a bad DSP box.

It has cut our overall troubleshooting time. It's taken the complexity of having to do SPAN sessions from the core and other places, by just going straight to this tool and applying the proper filters and getting the information.

What is most valuable?

The details it provides are among the most valuable features; the ability to drill down and get to the packet level.

What needs improvement?

I like the Dependency Mapping the solution provides. I wish there was a better way to show large groups, greater than 500, instead of just not displaying anything.

I would like to see it closer to more of an APM-type, or at least have that availability to compete with APM - the AppDynamics and solutions like that. I feel it's a natural step to at least have that available. 

Also, some integrations with ticketing systems like ServiceNow would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, it seems to function really well. We've only had one issue, but that was due to a power outage. It seems to perform well in a virtualized environment and I don't have anything bad to say about the stability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had to use technical support yet.

What about the implementation team?

The sales engineer helped me, and I got a lot of help from the website itself.

What other advice do I have?

Be prepared to invest a lot of your own personal time to get the best use out of the system.

Regarding the single pane of glass view, you've got to have a lot of time on the console. Even though it's single pane, you've got to be able to at least get all the phrasing and catch stuff located properly.

I would give nGenius a seven out of ten. I think it could have an easier to understand interface. Other than that it would be a 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Anand Thakur
Senior Manager at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
We're able to trace issues in near real-time for our customers, when they report problems

Pros and Cons

  • "The fact that it's able to capture and store packets from the wires is very useful for troubleshooting with our vendors, when issues do come up. It's valuable that we have that overall data for them."
  • "For individual subscriber tracings, sometimes it does not capture all the messages. There is a little bit of room for improvement there."

What is our primary use case?

We're using the tool to monitor our LTE and 3G core networks, as well as our 5G connection.

How has it helped my organization?

We're in the wireless space and it does help us with our deployments, especially when we launch new services. We have a lot better visibility.

The solution is very helpful. We're in the support side of the house, doing operations. It makes our workflow a lot easier, being able to very quickly - in near real-time - trace things for our customers when they report issues. It helps us get to root cause quickly. A lot of the issues that we face are interlocution between different vendors. This helps us capture that data and provide it to both vendors, as well as analyze it, ourselves, against the specs. It has cut our overall troubleshooting time. These vendor interlocution situations have gone from a couple of weeks to a couple of days.

We have seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. I would estimate it at about 20 percent, overall.

What is most valuable?

The fact that it's able to capture and store packets from the wires is very useful for troubleshooting with our vendors, when issues do come up. It's valuable that we have that overall data for them.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see more data expert capabilities. That's one of the big things we're looking forward to, with the release of the KAFKA exports, and expanding the kind of data we can both import and export with the system.

Also, for individual subscriber tracings, sometimes it does not capture all the messages. There is a little bit of room for improvement there.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. It's very rare that there are any issues that are attributable to the NETSCOUT product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

My impressions of the scalability of the solution are positive. We've grown greatly as a company, and it's kept up with our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. Our support engineers from NETSCOUT have been very easy to work with, and always very helpful.

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

Our move to a new solution was based on the user reports we get. When we heard about traces not being available or tools being unreliable, we started looking at different vendors. 

We had NETSCOUT before and switched to another vendor, The Now Factory, which has since been acquired by IBM. The user feedback was pretty immediate. We switched to that solution, and within six months it was very clear that it wasn't the right path and we actually switched back to NETSCOUT for a lot of our network monitoring needs.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. It's a stand-alone product so we didn't have to spend much time getting ready. We got the probes deployed and the system, and that was great.

What about the implementation team?

We did it ourselves.

What was our ROI?

I'd say we've seen return on investment. It's helped us, just from a customer satisfaction point of view. Fixing customer issues faster translates to better retention. Overall, I think the solution has helped us retain more of our customers.

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

Cost is probably the biggest drawback. Compared to some of the newer vendors that have popped up in the space, it's definitely more on the expensive side. It shows its value, though, in the reliability of the solution, the support that we get from NETSCOUT. It's been able to keep its value, even in the face of the cheaper competition.

What other advice do I have?

It's a very good, stable solution. The people behind this know LTE very well, they know how the data flows and what we're looking at. The product, as a whole, works very well for the wireless carrier.

We don't have the single pane of glass view yet, but we are very excited about being where we can get that end-to-end. We're using RS and nGeniusOne right now, which are two different views, but we want to get to nSA and have the single pane.

In terms of our application network uptime, at least in the way that we're using it, I wouldn't say that the solution has helped directly. When we have had problems, it's helped us get the vendors the information they need. But overall, I don't think the application itself has directly affected uptime, in our case.

I would rate the solution a ten out of ten. It does what it needs to do, and it works really well at that functionality.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Joe Jaskolski
Reginal Switch Manager at a comms service provider with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Dashboards highlight overall customer impact and enable drill-down into customer experience

Pros and Cons

  • "For me, the most valuable features are the dashboards which we use to highlight the overall impact to the customers, and being able to drill down into the nitty-gritty of the customer experience."
  • "A lot of tools highlight what's going on but they don't actually pinpoint the user experience. It would be good if there were a small message or something highlighting what the user experience is like and any degradation that's actually occurring."

What is our primary use case?

We use NETSCOUT nGeniusOne to troubleshoot our network. At US Cellular, we have our voice over IP network and we try to figure out the impact to the customer.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution most definitely provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It allows us to understand changes that we're making in the network, as well as our network's performance day-to-day and hour-to-hour.

We're also able to see customer impact before the customer complains. Often, in a legacy network, we were used to customers calling in to our call center complaining about the service, but now we're actually identifying problems even before the customer notices. 

It helps us get to the root cause quickly, allowing us to drill down into the problem to actually see what service is impacted. It has provided a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. Being able to identify the problem more quickly and having the customizable dashboards make a large difference, making us much quicker than we ever were.

In addition, the solution has absolutely helped us increase our application network uptime. Being able to see the response in near-real-time, we utilize the five-minute increments in the dashboards and the tools frequently. If we're performing our work and we see an impact, we can deal with it much faster than with our old legacy tools, which were sometimes an hour or two in delay.

What is most valuable?

For me, the most valuable features are the dashboards which we use to highlight the overall impact to the customers, and being able to drill down into the nitty-gritty of the customer experience.

What needs improvement?

This is not so much application-specific but rather is about the user experience: How the user experience has degraded is what I would like to see more in the tool. A lot of tools highlight what's going on but they don't actually pinpoint the user experience. It would be good if there were a small message or something highlighting what the user experience is like and any degradation that's actually occurring.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For the most part, it's pretty stable. We've had some instances where we've had to have boxes restarted, probes restarted. But overall, the performance has really held up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

After today's conversation, here at NETSCOUT Engage 2019, it seems like it's highly scalable. I always knew it was scalable but with the new enhancements coming, it's really good.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have NETSCOUT personnel who are assigned to USA Cellular. We have an associate, Joe Dockery, who is always at our disposal. We get good help.

What other advice do I have?

Get as much training as you can go to. Get your hands on the product as much as you can. There's a lot of information there and it's confusing at times if you're not familiar with the product. And rely on your NETSCOUT support. A lot of things that you might be looking for are already there, you just might not know how to get to them.

In terms of the solution cutting our overall troubleshooting time, the answer is "yes and no." While it provides a lot of insight as far as the data goes, and the impact, our organization is still trying to learn how to troubleshoot effectively. In most of the cases it's a matter of either user experience or knowledge.

I would rate nGenius as an eight out of ten. There's a lot of data. After hearing where NETSCOUT is going with the ability to actually isolate a problem quickly, it is good to see them working on that. It's really been the struggle: To show the user where the problem lies. There's a little too much investigation that the user has to do at this point.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JC
Network Engineer at a educational organization with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Gives us increased visibility when deploying, especially on a hardware refresh

Pros and Cons

  • "Valuable features include data threat detection, network analytics, and overall bandwidth monitoring."
  • "The feature I am looking for is the Arbor technology, especially to run in parallel with our firewall... It's getting there."

What is our primary use case?

We're using it for server health, data analytics, and network monitoring on a daily basis. We also use it for proactive monitoring of remote sites. We have around 180 sites, and we monitor their bandwidth and application usage. In terms of SaaS, that's something we're working on too, and hopefully we'll get it to where we want it to be.

How has it helped my organization?

It definitely provides us with increased visibility while conducting an IT deployment. It's been pretty useful for some of our cases, especially hardware refresh, where it's been a pretty amazing tool.

It has also definitely helped with detection of anomalies. We've been able to identify a handful of issues within our network. It's been pretty useful. As for root cause, there have been more than a few occasions where we've been able to identify issues right away. We have also seen a measurable decrease in mean time to know and mean time to repair. There have been a number of situations where, if we didn't have this, we would have been scratching our heads trying to figure them out.

In addition, it has cut our overall troubleshooting time. Last year we had quite an outage that went for a couple of weeks. If we had had this solution implemented the way it's working now, I'm pretty sure it would have just taken us days, instead of weeks.

What is most valuable?

  • Data threat detection
  • Network analytics
  • Overall bandwidth monitoring

We also definitely love the single pane of glass view. It's everything there in one single dashboard.

What needs improvement?

The feature I am looking for is the Arbor technology, especially to run in parallel with our firewall. That's one thing that I've definitely wanted and, eventually, it's getting there.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability has been good. There have been a few issues, mainly because we haven't been using it long. I've been having to catch up and upgrade and bring it from the floor up, so hopefully it will become a great tool.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Looking forward, I believe we'll see that the more we add to it, the more and more our network will get better.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been pretty amazing with me. Every time I call, every time I contact my SE, they answer right away, so I've been pretty happy with that.

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

In our company, I know we have other tools, but as a network monitor, for the port situation, per node, I don't know what else was used.

How was the initial setup?

I had to start from scratch. It took me time to comprehend how everything works, but eventually, I found it's pretty easy to understand and set up.

What about the implementation team?

It was deployed long before I got into my job, but the people that I've been working with were the original deployers. I'm pretty sure they worked with somebody.

What other advice do I have?

Reach out, contact NETSCOUT. It's an amazing tool, it has a lot of integrations, and it's definitely worth looking at.

We still haven't gotten that deep into the dependency mapping, but we intend to start getting to it. Similarly, we're planning to start looking into unified communication application performance. We just got our license for it and we're going to try to implement it. I've only been using the solution for six months. My impression so far is that it's been pretty amazing.

As things stand right now, I would give the solution an eight out of ten. I still have quite a few things to learn. Once I get to know its full capabilities, I will probably give it a ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Mike Ostrander
Data Communications Engineering Manager at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Enables deep packet inspection at a 10-gig level while TAPs allow our security team to look for risks

Pros and Cons

  • "Deep packet inspection is probably the strongest feature."
  • "There are so many pieces of their product that integrate with one another that perhaps a recommendation for improvement would be some sort of bigger overview and map to help understand how all their pieces integrate together."

What is our primary use case?

One use case that we purchased it for is deep packet inspection at a 10-gig level. Prior to that, we only had deep packet inspection up to one gig.

We are utilizing the tool right now for deep packet inspection, and for everyday dashboard monitoring to show our customers what their current traffic is, how their everyday business needs are consuming their traffic, and what kind of traffic is specifically on their network.

Also, the nGeniusONE is providing TAPs for all of our core traffic and is sending it to our security team for them to sort through and look for security risks. That is actually probably the single biggest purpose we're using it for.

How has it helped my organization?

We did a big shift in how we do some of our internal business. To see what the impact would be, we got a baseline of our day-to-day traffic and performance. Then, as we did a proof of concept of the new solution that we were working on, we could see how much that was going to change our performance and our growth, per user, and that enabled us to ramp up bandwidth and resources as needed for that big change.

We wouldn't have been able to prepare our network in a way that would have kept everything functioning properly, without that information.

What is most valuable?

There are so many valuable features. Deep packet inspection is probably the strongest, but also its ability to slab certain traffic and give visibility into traffic at an application-layer level.

The way that our company is set up, we provide that type of information to the agencies we support. They're basically our customers - government agencies - and they want to know information about their applications' performance, and the health of their applications, usage, troubleshooting, etc.

In addition, it is user-friendly.

What needs improvement?

The areas it covers are so vast that the improvement would be in the user's understanding of what it can do. Having that information available to customers more easily might be helpful, although I believe it is available to customers easily through their website.

There are so many pieces of their product that integrate with one another that perhaps a recommendation for improvement would be some sort of bigger overview and map to help understand how all their pieces integrate together. On the plus side, they always have resources available, instantly, when you have a question about it. It's not like that information can't be found.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We've never had any problems with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The newer technology scales very well, especially in the virtual environment. Some of the hardware that I purchased four or five years ago, since it's a hardware-based system, limits how it can grow and scale. But truthfully, five years for a deep packet inspection tool like this is quite good.

There are some hardware components that communicate to the nGeniusONE that I'm likely to be upgrading within the next few years. My traffic has grown to the point where I need more and, since it's hardware-based, it can only scale so far.

nGeniusONE itself scales very well. It's cloud-based.

We are moving to a virtualized environment in our data center, and NETSCOUT is making very scalable nGenius solutions so that we'll have some virtual instances of it. Our plan is to expand that into our virtualized environment and be able to have some inspection of the traffic that stays in our data center. We've already started that process. Our bottleneck is the internal resources to do it. It will probably be done by the end of next year.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a relationship with a NETSCOUT engineer, so I usually just email him or call him, or email or call our rep, and they get us an engineer right away. I think that type of direct relationship with an engineer at NETSCOUT is a common scenario because in speaking with him, he talks about similar interaction with other customers in this region.

I have used their support via a ticket. Their response is quick, and they usually just get us right over to the local engineer. It can usually be resolved without escalating.

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

We used a solution by SolarWinds, and we also used a solution by another provider. We realized we needed to change when we had a distributed denial of services attack that spanned greater than one gig.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. They had a lot of automation in place that could take configuration files, etc., and automatically incorporate them into their system. The way that the tool communicates using normal SNMP communication made it a super-easy install. It was very easy to get online.

I have a hardware version of it here, and with getting everything wrapped and cabled and connected, we had it online in about three days.

We had an implementation strategy mostly because we had a business case on what we wanted it for. So we had a strategic plan in place to get it up and running and providing us the information we needed as quickly as possible. We proposed the strategic plan to NETSCOUT and their Professional Services were able to meet everything that we needed.

There were three people involved in the deployment. We had the NETSCOUT Professional Services engineer, and we had two resources from my company, one of whom was really just a backup. Their roles were to deliver the strategic plan to the NETSCOUT engineer and to receive onsite training as services were turned up.

What about the implementation team?

We had Professional Services help us with it and it was a breeze. It was easy to set up. Their Professional Services were the only ones needed.

What was our ROI?

For the business case that I mentioned above, when we took a baseline of our traffic to show the changes and the differences, there was a big return on investment.

But giving our customers the power to have some visibility into their own traffic has been a huge return on investment. Not only are they able to identify their needs and their growth, and take up less of my resources' time to do an investigation into what they need - so it has saved resource time; but we're also able to identify their growth patterns at an earlier time, so we're not spending money on things that will need to be replaced.

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

Their pricing is very competitive with other solutions. I'm getting to the point to where I'm going to have to upgrade my licensing level, and it's a pretty big hop. But what I like about NETSCOUT's licensing is that it's shared across all their platforms. They don't create a new licensing scheme for every one of their products. So for nGeniusONE, you buy a certain license level and it works on all of their products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were plenty of other options, other things that we were looking at. We looked at trying to accomplish the same thing with tools we already owned like SolarWinds vs nGeniusONE.

We went with nGeniusONE because NETSCOUT's roadmap in development met some of the strategic things we were trying to accomplish.

What other advice do I have?

The advice I would like to have if I was implementing it for the first time is to have a good understanding of what you're trying to accomplish; not for one single thing, but for all the things that you would like to accomplish. Then, plan and design your NETSCOUT purchase accordingly so you're not just doing one piece here and one piece there and then trying to figure out the integration later.

In hindsight, NETSCOUT engineers have been really good at helping us put those pieces together, but it would have been helpful to spin it all up at the same time and to have had it strategically set up to move us to the future, where we needed to go.

If you count all of our customers we probably have over 100 people using it. Their roles include network operations, security operations, network engineering, and we have our agency monitoring.

Some of the shortcomings that we've had with our NETSCOUT products have been because of our own internal resources, not because of the product. We just don't have the time or the bandwidth to implement some of the things that we need. With that being said, I would give NETSCOUT a ten out of ten.

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.
Dominic Nazzise
Network Operations Engineer at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Cuts down on troubleshooting time and response time to actual issues within our network

Pros and Cons

  • "Aside from having the logs that are just on the firewall, we're able to get the traffic as it's going in between, throughout our network. It isolates end sources that are having issues, where we don't have any other tools that would be able to go down to an end-user's computer to find out what's going on."
  • "It catches bigger issues on a weekly basis. That's how often we find something big enough that the only reason we know about it is because of the nGeniusONE. The bigger issues are mostly security-type issues: Odd traffic leaving our network or coming into it, that has found its way past a firewall."
  • "I'd like to see the nGeniusONE, the nGeniusPULSE, and the OptiView, their three separate products, work a little better together, a little more streamlined."
  • "Another thing that would help out is if they packaged the NetFlow monitor into nGeniusONE. Their NetFlow monitor works with nGeniusONE where you can actually get the netflow of pretty much anything you hook it up to. But it's a separate box that you have to buy. If there was a way that could package that into nGeniusONE, it would be a complete package straight out of the box."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for nGeniusONE is packet inspection.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps out with firewall issues. Aside from having the logs that are just on the firewall, we're able to get the traffic as it's going in between, throughout our network. It isolates end sources that are having issues, where we don't have any other tools that would be able to go down to an end-user's computer to find out what's going on.

It's catching quite a few things. Most of them really aren't a big deal and we should probably adjust our tolerances for them. A lot of the things are nice to know about but we really don't dig into them because they're not a huge deal.

As far as bigger issues go, it catches those on a weekly basis. That's how often we find something big enough that the only reason we know about it is because of the nGeniusONE. The bigger issues are mostly security-type issues: odd traffic leaving our network or coming into it, that has found its way past a firewall.

When we first got it, we used a lot of it for DDoS attacks to be able to find out where they were coming from, because we were able to actually see the packets and then get all the IPs. That enabled us to block sections of traffic that were constantly hitting us. After that it's server issues, router issues; just about everything.

What is most valuable?

Apart from the packet inspection, just being able to drill down into traffic is helpful to see where it's coming from, where it's going to, and everything that's going on with it.

We mainly use it for the packet inspection, but when we come across problems with traffic in general, we're able to isolate a source and the find out where, along the way, we're having the issues, because we're able to see deeply into the packet.

Starting off with the broad scope of everything that you're seeing, they have it set up pretty nicely, where you just keep drilling down into it by further clicks. It's pretty logical the way that it's set up. It's more like humans are meant to use it, instead of bots. I like it.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see the nGeniusONE, the nGeniusPULSE, and the OptiView, their three separate products, work a little better together, a little more streamlined. We can hook up an OptiView to our system and it will bring it up on our nGeniusONE splash page where we can go and click on it. But we can't really use the OptiView functionality with the nGeniusONE functionality as far as throughput tests go.

If we wouldn't have to have multiple OptiViews throughout our system, and we could just have one that connects straight back and does all the functionality with nGeniusONE that two OptiViews do, that would be awesome.

Another thing that would help out is if they packaged the NetFlow monitor into nGeniusONE. Their NetFlow monitor works with nGeniusONE where you can actually get the netflow of pretty much anything you hook it up to. But it's a separate box that you have to buy. If there was a way that they could package that into nGeniusONE, it would be a complete package straight out of the box. It does a lot for you without it, but with the NetFlow monitor, in our situation, we'd be able to replace three other tools right off the bat.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any issues with it going down or not working. The server that we're using is our own server and we have their software loaded onto it. All the issues that we've had have been our actual server. We had to replace our server once because it died on us. But as far as the software and the actual NETSCOUT appliances that we have going to the nGeniusONE go, like the Packet Flow Switch, etc., we haven't had any issues with them since I've been here, which is three years and counting. It hasn't had any downtime that was not scheduled.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We can definitely scale it higher. There's a lot more that we've found that we could be hooking the nGeniusONE up to. The possibility is there. The only issue we have is our bureaucracy.

As far as what it could be doing for us, if I had my way we'd have it taking care of everything. It's just a matter of getting it done. But the option is definitely there. We're using it mainly just for data center and core stuff, but the option is there to send it out to our distribution nodes as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

For any issues that we've ever had, we've gone directly through our sales engineer and directly with NETSCOUT. As far as customer service goes, getting everything set up, and with any issues we've had since we started using the nGeniusONE, they've always been great with helping out and getting us completely taken care of, without having to go to a third-party.

Typically the response time is same day, depending on when I call or send an email. I understand that they've got other clients, so 24-hour turnaround is what I've experienced. It's been really good, and that's going directly to our account rep and our sales engineer. The times that I've gone to NETSCOUT technical services, I have been on the phone waiting for an engineer to help me out for five minutes, if that. The customer service part has been really good.

The last issue was doing an upgrade on our nGeniusONE server. We were having some issues with getting the upgrade to take on the server from our end. It turned out that we missed an upgrade in between. That's when we called up the technical support and they actually had us upgraded in about 30 minutes after the phone call was made.

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

I can't remember the name of it, but it pretty much gave us packet flow and some type of visibility into them, but it was so spotty that it wasn't reliable. They had that solution in place for about eight years, but because it was so unreliable as far as getting the actual traffic that you wanted to see, and getting the information that you were trying to get out of it, that nobody really used it.

From what I understand from the people who were using the previous solution before I got here, when they got it set up people tried to use it and it was kind of a mess and the workflow going through it was just not very well thought out. Once you finally got into it, you could see some stuff, but you couldn't ever see, what you were trying to find. People just gave up on it and it sat there. They renewed the contract on it once and when that contract expired we started looking around and we came across NETSCOUT.

I know when they ended up getting the nGeniusONE, the main reason they got it was for the actual packet inspection. We originally had it set up on the outside of our edge firewall to get visibility into all the traffic that was coming in before the firewall blocked it. A lot of the firewalls at the time wouldn't give us that information. So we'd block traffic, but we could only see some of it, and if we were getting a DDoS attack on it, we wouldn't see everything that came through. That was one of the main reasons that they wanted the nGeniusONE, to see all that information.

We've since repurposed it from that, after we realized what kind of traffic we were seeing and where it was coming from. We were able to mitigate a lot of that and we don't have the effects of the DDoS attacks like we used to. So instead of monitoring a little bit of our inside and everything coming in, we've turned the nGeniusONE to monitor everything within our network, not really caring about anything trying to come in anymore because we've upgraded our firewalls as well. It's actually getting us a lot more functionality now than it did three years ago. It's been nice that we've been able to repurpose it, and doing that has actually been pretty easy.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't actually with the company when they did the initial setup for the nGeniusONE. That happened about a year before I started. I know that typically, you can have it up and going within a couple weeks.

What was our ROI?

We're currently in the process of repurposing it again and we're adding an SDN networking solution. We're getting into all those leaves and switches that are back there. We've torn it down and we're rebuilding it so we can get information about what's going on in there and in the rest of our data center. 

When they first got it, everyone loved what it did, seeing the outside traffic come in. When we moved it into the actual interior of the network, we were able to pick up a lot of issues before they really manifested: packets dropping and errors going across. We have been able to dig into stuff before it actually becomes a problem where people are really noticing that something is going on.

So it's cut down our troubleshooting time and response time to actual issues within the network itself. In my opinion, we've been able to solve problems before they've become a big issue. That's the main reason anybody would want visibility into their network: If you have fewer people yelling at you, you're doing your job.

There's a five-minute lag time for the dashboard to update itself, but we're able to see if there are any significant changes within every five to ten minutes. Before, our response time would be when an end user actually got to the point of getting annoyed with it and then called in. Typically, that would be 30 minutes down the road, after they'd tried all their troubleshooting, and then they would call in to our basic troubleshooting helpdesk and have to go through things with them for another 15 minutes. So as far as end users are concerned, we're able to work on issues about 45 minutes faster than before because we're able to see the problems that they'd be encountering before the users have to make their way through the channels to get them fixed.

What other advice do I have?

If you're looking to implement it or to purchase, once you actually see the usability of it I think the decision will already be made. If you're looking at other similar options, I would definitely advise looking into NETSCOUT and the nGeniusONE, along with all the other NETSCOUT products; at least the ones we've used, the OptiView and the nGeniusPULSE. 

I really feel that anybody who has contacted NETSCOUT to look into purchasing it, and has seen demos and proofs of concept on their own networks, for the most part, will end up purchasing it, regardless of what anyone says. They'll be able to see exactly what it's doing for them and what they didn't have visibility into before. The product pretty much speaks for itself.

In terms of increasing usage, that's why we ended up getting OptiViews and the nGeniusPULSE devices and server, to take care of some of that load in a less expensive way. It's cheaper for us to be able to use nGeniusPULSE devices out on remote sites than to use a virtual NG1 out there, or to have multiple OptiViews. But if we need to dig down into stuff, we have the options there through NETSCOUT products. That's one thing that they've done well. If you don't have the money to put nGeniusONE devices out everywhere, you can get some of that functionality through different products at a cost that's more reasonable.

We have five people using it on a daily basis. Their role is pretty much monitoring, for the most part. We have it set up to get all of the traffic that we want for application services, etc. But for the most part, it's just a monitoring role, and when there is an issue we just dig down into it from there. They are the same people who are dealing with the maintenance.

I would rate it a nine out of ten and the reason is the integration issue with OptiView and the nGeniusPULSE. If they made it so that the nGeniusONE product would be able to do traffic testing with the OptiView, at that point it would be perfect, for what I use it for.

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.
John Criddle
Senior Director of Enterprise IT Operations at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Better view of communications path between servers reduces troubleshooting time, but GUI needs improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "The biggest benefit is the ability to do low-level packet inspection. When I say packet inspection, I don't mean looking at payload, but just looking at your communication handshakes and the like. It reduces troubleshooting time because you can get a much better view into the communications path between servers, database servers, web servers, and understand what's going on."
  • "The GUI has gotten better over time but there could be some improvement in how the GUI is built."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is troubleshooting. We use it to go take a look at application flows, to understand, when we have an issue, if there's some sort of latency or if there's a communication problem or if we're getting some abnormal behavior. Our first troubleshooting step, anytime we have an issue, is source and destination IPs and run a capture. It's the first tool that always gets called in when we're trying to troubleshoot an issue.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest benefit is the ability to do low-level packet inspection. When I say packet inspection, I don't mean looking at payload, but just looking at your communication handshakes and the like. It reduces troubleshooting time because you can get a much better view into the communications path between servers, database servers, web servers, and understand what's going on. So the biggest impact is reducing time to recovery when we have a problem. It's the kind of thing such that when something is just flat-out broken, you can usually figure it out, but when you have degraded performance in applications, that's when it can be very valuable.

What is most valuable?

One of the things that we're doing is building the application flows into the dashboard, to monitor them that way. That will be one of the more valuable things to do. We are in the process of doing a PoC with one application, although we haven't actually built the workflow yet. There are some others that were built last year for some of the other more simplistic applications, but we're trying to look at the workflow for more complex applications, and do the analysis on how they're performing.

The other thing that is of high value is that we can go back and look at past performance. As long as we have data retention, which is typically only about three or four days, based on the amount of storage we have, we can go back and try to troubleshoot an issue that may have already corrected itself. We have the data back there to take a look and see what was going on at that time.

We do use it for doing a little bit of performance and capacity planning, but that's not its primary function.

What needs improvement?

The GUI has gotten better over time but there could be some improvement in how the GUI is built. That's one of the major areas of feedback I get from the users.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From a stability perspective, we have not had any issues. We haven't had it break or go down.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's extremely scalable. We've had no issues with the scalability at this point.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support has been good. We have a local pre-sales engineer and he's very helpful. He comes onsite on a regular basis, and we work with him if we're trying to do anything with new feature functions. He's helped us build some of the dashboards and done some training with the staff. He's readily available. He's local so he's here within a day or two if we need something. We're not bringing him in if we need a break-fix, we're bringing him in for enhancement of dashboards or application monitors.

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

Prior to this, we were just using Wireshark on laptops. We did have a product called GigaStor which we're using, but we've had a lot of issues with the stability of the product. It tends to crash, it's just not very usable.

How was the initial setup?

The product was implemented about five years ago, and turn-up time was very quick. It only took us about a week to get it up and running. The implementation was, in the words of the person who did it, "pretty simple".

What was our ROI?

There isn't anything that we quantify in terms of ROI but it results in less time to resolution. Anytime engineers spend less time troubleshooting and, instead, are doing other work, they're able to be more productive. This solution reduces the amount of time that our folks have to spend doing troubleshooting because they can rapidly collect the data to solve problems.

It takes the process of collecting data from hours down to minutes.

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

Like any company, we always want better pricing. The pricing is okay, but it's not a cheap solution. When you want to deploy it across an enterprise as large as ours, you go into seven figures. It's not a cheap solution to get out there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

GigaStor was a product that was in-house, which we were not happy with. We really didn't do a competitive bake-off of nGeniusONE vs GigaStor, but we had experience with that product and we were not happy with it.

With nGenius, the user interface is much better and the ability to collect data is better. The GigaStors are like a PC with Wireshark on steroids. It's a large device, you put it into a SPAN port, and it can collect a lot of data. But the problem is with the interface, with how you do the data analysis. It's not good. And, as I mentioned, we've had issues with the hardware reliability with that device as well. We've had a couple of them and they tend to have a lot of hard drive failures, which either corrupt or cause loss of data.

On the retail side of our business, where we don't have nGenius deployed, we still use those GigaStors on an ad-hoc basis. We have to go over to a switch and plug them in when there's an issue going on, which is not a very effective way of doing troubleshooting.

We're not really looking at any competitors at this point. We're happy with what we're getting out of nGenius.

What other advice do I have?

We have a pre-sales engineer whom we engage with on a regular basis. That has been extremely helpful, having somebody who is not just tech support but who is very familiar with the product and can provide some training. The product requires some knowledge on how to use it.

You really need to be a more frequent user. That's probably part of our downfall as an organization: We don't have people using it enough to help build dashboards and application monitors. We use it in a reactive manner and I think there's more opportunity to be proactive in how you build application monitors within nGenius.

There isn't so much of a heavy learning curve for the user interface, it's how you build the dashboards. The user interface seems to be pretty good. It's gotten better over time. But it's understanding how you get into how the mechanics of how the product works, where you pull your dataflows from, and how you stitch them together to get an application dashboard.

I've been with the company about four years, and we've been using it as long as I've been here. There was a bunch of infrastructure that was put in prior to my getting here, all the TAPs and things to expand the footprint, but the footprint for nGenius is just in the PBM (pharmacy benefit manager) part of our business. We don't have it on our retail side.

We're continuing to roll it out. As we can get funding, we increase the footprint of the product. Today we're only tapping a portion of our environment. Our plan is to continue to expand it and, eventually, put it into retail.

It's used by our entire Operations staff. Some people are better than others, so it's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 people who have access to it. It's not used on a regular basis by anyone. It's used if we have a request or a problem, as needed. The users are all network engineers. Some people are on the Operations side, and some folks are on the Engineering side, and some people are on the Architecture side. It goes across the whole swath of network engineers.

There is just one guy who maintains it, and it's only a part-time job for him. As we scale it across the operation I expect we will only have to marginally increase the number of people who work on it. The biggest effort will be, as we roll it out, in bringing in additional TAPs, tapping the switches and the routers that we want to. But once that's done, we just direct the data feeds into the backend and, at that point, it's just a matter of how much storage we have. It doesn't require a whole lot of care and feeding. In the time I've been here, we've done one or two upgrades. But they've all gone well with no issues.

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.
MA
Global Telecom Operations Director at a aerospace/defense firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Enables us to be more proactive regarding bandwidth, but it is not simple to deploy, operate, or maintain

Pros and Cons

  • "We are using nGeniusONE to run our bandwidth capacity management reports. In the past, we used to be very reactive, we used to depend a lot on suppliers to tell us which sites are our hot sites, meaning, which have high bandwidth utilization. Now we do this in a much more proactive way and we are moving to a more predictive approach in that aspect, thanks to nGeniusONE."
  • "The ability to be able to do detailed traffic analysis such as top-talkers, application-specific monitoring, and understanding them through patterns, is helpful. We're also able to gain an understanding of voice calls, voice traffic, whether we have packet loss in a certain part of the network or jitter or high latency that might be impacting the network. All of those are nice functionalities."
  • "It's not intuitive, it's not simple to use. It is probably the only monitoring tool, out of all the ones that I have, that I really need an expert on, an expert from nGenius, a contractor that I have to pay, to manage the tool. And that's because it's simply not easy to use. Netscout needs to focus on making it easier to use."
  • "There are so many features that it makes it hard to know it all. You end up paying for things that you don't use and probably don't even need. It might be better if Netscout came up with a modular way to pay for what you're going to use and not pay for all of this "white elephant" without being able to take advantage of all of it."

What is our primary use case?

The main application that we use is NetFlow: all the NetFlow traffic, monitoring, bandwidth utilization, top-talkers, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We are using nGeniusONE to run our bandwidth capacity management reports. In the past, we used to be very reactive, we used to depend a lot on suppliers to tell us which sites are our hot sites, meaning, which have high bandwidth utilization. Now we do this in a much more proactive way and we are moving to a more predictive approach in that aspect, thanks to nGeniusONE.

What is most valuable?

The most important feature in my regular operations is the NetFlow traffic analysis. It also has a packet inspection or packet analysis although that's something that we use less. 

In addition, the ability to be able to do detailed traffic analysis such as top-talkers, application-specific monitoring, and understanding them through patterns, is helpful. We're also able to gain an understanding of voice calls, voice traffic, whether we have packet loss in a certain part of the network or jitter or high latency that might be impacting the network. All of those are nice functionalities.

What needs improvement?

Most of the functionality I mentioned above could be improved, to be honest.

Also, it's not intuitive, it's not simple to use. It is probably the only monitoring tool, out of all the ones that I have, that I really need an expert on, an expert from nGenius, a contractor that I have to pay, to manage the tool. And that's because it's simply not easy to use. NETSCOUT needs to focus on making it easier to use. I should not need to pay an expensive resource to be able to manage the tool for me. With any other tool, I'm able to do that management internally. They should focus on the user experience, not just on the capabilities that they can provide. User experience is important these days. That would be one area where it could be improved.

Another, which might be related, is that it's almost like "white elephant." There are so many features that it makes it hard to know it all. You end up paying for things that you don't use and probably don't even need. It might be better if NETSCOUT came up with a modular way to pay for what you're going to use and not pay for all of this "white elephant" without being able to take advantage of all of it.

I also think that it's a little too dependent on physical agents all over the place. If they were able to move a bit more to the virtual environment that would be better. I believe that we still depend too much on physical appliances to get the most out of the tool. And by the way, I recently found out that they do have some virtual environments that they can deploy but I'm not sure that it's widely known yet.

Those are the main areas that I would improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't necessarily encountered issues from the stability perspective, but I certainly find it inconsistent in the way it drives reports. For example, if you follow the standard procedure to monitor size or to monitor bandwidth, you're going to find that for about 30 percent of them you will have to do some level of tweaking and customization to make it work. It seems to either have a number of bugs in the tool that we have been reporting and they have been fixing as they go, or it's just part of the functionality that we have to do things differently for a lot of sites. It's not stability, it's more from a standardization perspective. I think that they would do better if they simplified the rollout process.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not had any problems with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. But then again, I would expect it to be great because I'm paying a fortune just to have a dedicated contractor from NETSCOUT in my office, to be available. But I don't know if we'd have the same level of support, I don't know if it would be as easy to improve and patch and continue with the operation, if I were not paying for dedicated support. 

On a scale of zero to ten, I would say support is a five. I don't think many tools out there in the market require having a dedicated person just to support a monitoring tool.

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

Before NETSCOUT we were in the "prehistoric era" and we were not using another tool. NETSCOUT was the first tool that we started using for this purpose.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex and that relates, in part, to the simplicity issue that I mentioned earlier.

Not just the initial set up, even migrating from one version to another, like 5.3 to 5.5, was an entirely new setup from scratch. We had to change boxes, we had to change software, we were not able to migrate databases. We had to load everything from scratch. It's like we were installing the tool for the very first time. It was a very cumbersome process.

It all comes back to the user experience feedback that I provided earlier. That's the biggest opportunity area for NETSCOUT. It is not simple to deploy, not simple to operate, not simple to maintain.

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

Again, it's kind of a "white elephant." If you are able and you are willing to use everything that NETSCOUT provides to you, it's probably a relatively fair price. The problem is that it's such a large and such a complex tool that I'm not sure that many companies would be able to use it entirely, the way it's expected to be used.

So what I'm paying today, based on the value that I'm getting out of the tool, makes me believe that I'm overpaying. You pay for the entire thing whether you use it or not. And these days, that's not the wisest way to go.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are a few other options that we are currently evaluating. They include:

Now, I understand that most of these tools are only providing a subset of what NETSCOUT can provide. I'm perfectly aware of that. But that's exactly what I meant before about the modularity. Right now, I feel that I'm overpaying for a huge product that I'm not fully leveraging and I'm not sure that I want to fully leverage. I would rather pay less money for a tool that is going to give me exactly what I need, even if it doesn't have all the functionality that NETSCOUT can provide.

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.
AH
Network Design and Engineer at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Packet capture, NetFlow collection, and the real-time communication monitoring are key

Pros and Cons

    • "This is a typical thing, but every time they do a major code upgrade, we get hit with some nasty bugs. Some of them literally stop the whole platform from collecting traffic data. They should really do more Q&A on the software stability before release."

    What is our primary use case?

    This is our traffic analyzer replacement. We use it to provide some functionality for our operations to do live captures so they can manage instant management.

    What is most valuable?

    The big features we use are definitely the packet capture function, NetFlow collection, and the UC analyzer to monitor real-time communication in our environment.

    What needs improvement?

    This is a typical thing, but every time they do a major code upgrade, we get hit with some nasty bugs. Some of them literally stop the whole platform from collecting traffic data. They should really do more Q&A on software stability before release.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Other than those bugs I mentioned, we haven't encountered any issues with stability. The system has been rock solid. It's just stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    As far as we can see, the scalability issue is mostly that we need to spend more time to tune the software to understand our environment a little better. Other than that, we haven't found any scalability issues. Scalability is related to the hardware sizing and I think we did a pretty good job on that front.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The tech support team has been helpful. They are easy to engage and they're willing to engage the resources that we need to communicate with. I have no complaint about them.

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

    We did have a different solution in place before. We reviewed a couple of vendors and ended up with NETSCOUT after doing a PoC in our environment.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was a little simpler than what we have with NETSCOUT now, because our environment grew.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated NIKSUN but the accounting was way worse than what we have with NETSCOUT.

    What other advice do I have?

    You need to spend some time to make the system to fit into your environment. Once you get it there, it works pretty well.

    I give it a nine out of ten. It's only to the point that we still need to do some feature requests for things we want to do. The toolset was there but, initially, it wasn't GUI-based, so it took some time for them to implement that.

    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_user342129
    Technology Support Engineer at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
    MSP
    ​It's easy to detect the unwanted traffic, but it needs to be more user-friendly.

    What is most valuable?

    Reporting Analyzing Troubleshooting Evidence gathering

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's easy to detect unwanted traffic with all the detection tools available.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs a better GUI, and especially it needs to be more user-friendly.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've used if for four years, five months.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We had issues with capacity planning.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    7/10 because they have limited numbers of engineers who can handle the ticket created.

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

    We previously used SolarWinds Netflow Traffic Analyzer, and switched because Netscout is more granular.

    How was

    What is most valuable?

    • Reporting
    • Analyzing
    • Troubleshooting
    • Evidence gathering

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's easy to detect unwanted traffic with all the detection tools available.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs a better GUI, and especially it needs to be more user-friendly.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've used if for four years, five months.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We had issues with capacity planning.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    7/10 because they have limited numbers of engineers who can handle the ticket created.

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

    We previously used SolarWinds Netflow Traffic Analyzer, and switched because Netscout is more granular.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's complex because you have to first identify the traffic flow, and then the capacity of the appliance.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a partner.

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

    • Type 1 - up to 50 interfaces
    • Type 2 - up to 10000 interfacs

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    SolarWinds Network Traffic Analyzer. Netscout is more detailed than SolarWinds Network Traffic Analyzer.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners.
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