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Observer GigaStor OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

What is Observer GigaStor?

Observer GigaStor is a network analysis tool that comes in a variety of form factors, including rack mount, portable, and virtual. Capable of storing up to a petabyte of traffic for later analysis, GigaStor helps ensure optimal network and application performance.

Buyer's Guide

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

Observer GigaStor Customers

Cisco Systems, Hawaiian Telecom, Renown Health, State of Nevada, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Allstate Insurance, Jack Henry & Associates, United States Airforce, US Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Chicago Board Options Exchange

Observer GigaStor Video

Archived Observer GigaStor Reviews (more than two years old)

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it_user794751
Support Engineer at Talentys SA
Real User
Long-term data storage allows for historical troubleshooting of problems

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution allows us to see exactly what is going on in the network and we can very quickly solve issues with users."
  • "I would like to have more than 4TB of storage available in the portable version of this solution."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to generate metrics and get information about network traffic. It monitors both North-South and Easy-West traffic. This helps us to troubleshoot problems. For example, if a user is calling us and has some issue with the network connection, we can connect to the GigaStor and check the exact time to help find the problem.

We have an on-premises deployment.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution allows us to see exactly what is going on in the network and we can very quickly solve issues with users.

What is most valuable?

All of the traffic flows through this device, so we can store the traffic and the baselines. This gives us the ability to provide service and then come back later to check exactly what happened at a particular time or period. It is a very, very helpful service.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have more than 4TB of storage available in the portable version of this solution. If you have a lot of data then you won't be able to save it all. You can monitor it, but not save it. You would have to delete the old data, or maybe transfer it to another disk, to have enough space. I would like to see the storage space increased.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am pretty satisfied with the stability of this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is pretty responsive. I remember that I had an issue getting information from the documentation regarding a specific area of the product. I contacted them and they helped me with that. The documentation was not up to date.

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

This is the first experience that I've had with this kind of solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is straightforward. It is not difficult.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options before choosing this one.

What other advice do I have?

I am satisfied with this solution, but there is room for improvement.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user1032525
Network Engineer at Talentys SA
Real User
Helps to write protocols for IP addresses that come in or out of your network

Pros and Cons

  • "It can help to write your rules, organize firewalls, your block, and also your protocols and IP address to come in or out of your network."
  • "Graphics need improvement. Because a lot of the information there you have to input first in some case to have full potential. It could be more automated."

What is our primary use case?

I use this solution as a matrix for the traffic feed, for collecting the traffic from one server to another or from one link to another, and to write rules for firewalls. I mostly use it to filter traffic. I don’t use it to properly filter, but to have a better idea of what kind of traffic is entering my network.

The network technicians, network engineers, and security team need visibility. I can give them the information they need so that they can easily do their job.

Currently, two to five people use this for deployment and maintenance. Some people can work on the disc paths or storage. Others can take care of the applications or provide information regarding the application we want to feature or access. The system people can provide us the server they want to track or monitor, so that we can get all the traffic going in and out of those servers or applications. We can also involve the application, network, and storage teams.

If we have more infrastructure or equipment to monitor, we might increase our usage. We might add more units to provide better flexibility to get the traffic, etc. Right now, however, our current system is sufficient.

How has it helped my organization?

GigaStor can help write rules, is our firewall, and protocols which IP addresses can go in and out of your network. You can easily write your rules, like your ACM, for example. You can block certain traffic but allow other traffic, protocols, or ports. You can choose which traffic is important or not important in your network, and block the traffic which is not required for it to function correctly.

What is most valuable?

The features that I found most useful are related to storing the data. You can save the metadata: everything from the stream, ARC, or other transactions, and then come back to it later to see what the issue was.

What needs improvement?

As of this moment, the graphics might need some improvement, because a lot of the information there must be input first to have full potential. They could make it more friendly or automated so that it will autodetect the server or someone from the IP address. This way, it can automatically discover the critical servers so that you don't have to input those IP addresses to get the result. 

The second feature I would like improved is the ability to automatically generate the report, or matrix, in other versions. It is available in PDF or Excel, but I want other versions, so I could send it to somebody who is not in the IT team. It is currently very difficult for them to understand. The report should be simpler so the managers can base their decisions on it and refer to it thoroughly. It is currently too technical. If you are not a technical engineer it would be difficult for you to decrypt and understand the information. This is the feature I most want to see in the next version.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. It's also very portable. I can carry it everywhere I want to go. There is also a capacity to add more storage, so if your disc is full and you want to replace it, you can change it or add another one inside. This is also very useful.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable because it's portable and you can move it from one side to another.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's a little expensive.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not that complex. If you know which part of your network you want to put it in to get more traffic, put the point up there. Call it the "dial network access point" or something like that. Put it there and then the traffic will pass through your equipment, so it can be copied there to have it analyzed, stored, etc. It's pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation is not that hard. If you know where you want it, take one or two hours to deploy it and set up the feature configuration. It's pretty straightforward. I did not use an integrator, reseller, or consultant for the deployment.

What was our ROI?

I have seen positive ROI.

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

It primarily depends on the requirements you have. There are three types of licenses. There's the updates license, the work group license, and the workstation license. It depends on your requirements.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated Cisco Stealthwatch and compared it with  GigaStor. I went for GigaStor.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution as nine out of ten.

If you have the opportunity, I would strongly encourage you to get it, because it makes the IT experience easier and more flexible, by providing the ability to see things in your networks like the directory packet label.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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it_user794751
Support Engineer at Talentys SA
Real User
Captures and stores packets for analysis now or in the future

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to capture packets. It is not only for monitoring. That is very important for a company that wants to keep an eye on the packets, the transactions, the flows..."
  • "It's able to capture packets and, after a long time, you can come and use that information; to check, to analyze - everything you would want to do. So it's very good and helpful if you want to protect your data. It is stored in a certain place where you can access it every time you want to analyze it."
  • "I also have the ability to see an application's performance, to see what's going on, why a network is slow, why this program for this user is experiencing a delay or some network issue"
  • "Maybe the graphical user interface could be simplified to allow people to use it more easily. It's already good, but they can work more on it to make it even easier."

What is our primary use case?

It's network monitoring performance and diagnosis. 

It has performed very well. It's very helpful when you want visibility into your network; not only visibility, but also the application performance and the packet captures and more. So it's very helpful.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps restrain things regarding the firewalls, the application control, so you can just use ACLs or, if you want, firewalls to block certain traffic that you do not want to come through your network.

What is most valuable?

First of all, the ability to capture packets. It is not only for monitoring. So that is very important for a company that wants to keep an eye on the packets, the transactions, the flows, everything going down and out. 

The second one is that it's able to capture packets and, after a long time, you can come and use that information; to check, to analyze - everything you would want to do. So it's very good and helpful if you want to protect your data. It is stored in a certain place where you can access it every time you want to analyze it.

I also have the ability to see an application's performance, to see what's going on, why a network is slow, why this program for this user is experiencing a delay or some network issue. You can check all this using that Observer GigaStor.

What needs improvement?

Maybe the graphical user interface could be simplified to allow people to use it more easily. It's already good, but they can work more on it to make it even easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable and very easy to implement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. No matter if your company is big or small, it's easy to implement. It's scalable.

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

We switched to GigaStor after we had some webinars, so it was easy to understand the features and the product. We had some communication to help us better understand the process, for getting the documentation we needed.

How was the initial setup?

It was very straightforward, not complicated. Just put everything in place and then it will run automatically, easy to implement. If you follow the instructions, you get everything set up in no time.

What other advice do I have?

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor is to know that the product has been there for a long time, that they have some stability, they have some experience in the market. For example, if you have to choose between two products, one just coming out, and the other one is 20 years on the market, the product that's been there for 20 years, they have experience, they have stability.

Also, the features of the product, that they are leaders in that particular field. It should be very easy to see the difference between it and other products. What this can do and what others cannot do.

I would rate it a nine out of 10. I have no regrets using this product. I'm very satisfied for what I paid for it and for the things I'm able to do with the product. I would recommend this product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user678603
IT Network Professional at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Provides long term capture and analysis capabilities.

How has it helped my organization?

Enables us to go back in time to capture an issue and analyze it for a solution. This after the fact analysis is key to overcoming the "bump in the night" issues.

What is most valuable?

Provides long term capture and analysis capabilities.

What needs improvement?

  • The Observer Console UI is consistent and stable, but could use some updating to be more modern.
  • There’s a web-based packet extraction interface that was recently added, but I’d like to see more web-based capabilities added so that the Observer client isn’t needed so much.
  • Their first generation Observer Reporting Server was a dawg, but Observer Apex is a much better reporting solution that is easier to use. Application Dependency Mapping is valuable, but needs to be more automated.

The product continues to evolve to overcome areas of concerns.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I would give customer service a rating of 9/10.

Technical Support:

I would give technical support a rating of 9/10.

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

We used another solution and the cost of storage was the determining factor to switch to this solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used our in-house team to deploy it.

What was our ROI?

I did not deal with financing.

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

It was competitive on pricing and licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated NetScout and Network General.

What other advice do I have?

I have been working with the Observer-GigaStor platform since 2006 and experienced some stability issues the first few years under Network Instruments. When Viavi released their Gen2 platform, we saw major improvements in the GigaStor Expandable platform. Their 144T unit handled 20Gbps consistently from your monitoring fabric. We recently upgraded to the new Gen3 GigaStor system because our growth demands required the new 40Gbps write to disk capability.

Use it in conjunction with a SDN monitoring fabric.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user621021
Network Engineer Sr at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Industry-leading line rates, packet-capture technology and data-mining capabilities are valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped us to carry out root-cause analysis. So, now, there is no more finger-pointing because packets don’t lie.

What is most valuable?

Industry-leading line rates, packet-capture technology and data-mining capabilities are the most valuable features. In addition, their layer 4-7 analysis is a valuable asset to our organization.

What needs improvement?

The reporting functionality is good, but it could be even better. The APEX interface has been completely reworked and they thought of the engineer/analyst when writing it. There are some issues, in our environment that puts processing restraints on the Gigastor when turning on trending data to be sent to APEX. Adding online training resources would make this solution even better.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Even though we have encountered the occasional hard-drive failure in some of our GigaStors, stability has not been an issue for us.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very responsive and knowledgeable.

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

We did not use a different solution before purchasing this one.

How was the initial setup?

There was some level of complexity in configuring the GigaStors, as with any product that stores an organization's top-x application traffic. How easy and fast that data can be analyzed for root-cause analysis can mean countless hours or minutes on a troubleshooting call.

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

It can be a difficult task to determine how much data you will be sending to the GigaStor, i.e., not only top-x level but also in terms of management-level traffic.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at the OPNET AppResponse Xpert solution.

What other advice do I have?

We monitor top-x applications and management traffic, i.e., DNS, SNMP traffic, etc., since the management traffic can be used for root-cause analysis.

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_user613584
MFG Diagnostic Integrator at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
The long-term data storage is valuable to our organization.

How has it helped my organization?

With a short-handed staff, it allows us to be able to go back and troubleshoot if issues had occurred previously in time, so we don't have to recreate the problem.

What is most valuable?

Long-term data storage is the best feature for our organization.

What needs improvement?

The interface is pretty complex, so for the average user, it takes a while to get up to speed with it. I would like it to be more user-friendly.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's handled everything we've thrown at it up to this point.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very knowledgeable and very helpful. They typically go out of their way to help and get whatever issue we've had resolved.

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

We did not have a previous solution in this space.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a Fluke offering and we also evaluated a offering from OPNET, which is now part of Riverbed.

What other advice do I have?

Go take a look at it. It's a great product and has great capabilities. Make sure to sign up for the trainings. I didn't get involved much with the pricing and licensing from purchasing groups, but definitely get involved with the training to bring yourself up to speed quickly.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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