October 14, 2008

Network Instruments(R) Cuts Time to Resolution and Provides Deep Application Performance Analysis With Launch of Observer(R) 13

Network Instruments, a leading provider of innovative analysis solutions for in-depth network intelligence and continuous availability, today announced the release of Observer 13, its flagship monitoring platform. Observer 13 builds upon Network Instruments' popular retrospective network analysis (RNA) solution GigaStor(TM) and strengthens Observer Reporting Server's (ORS) position as the central management hub for identifying and resolving performance problems.

Observer 13 provides IT managers with complete network visibility and the tools needed to identify, investigate, and resolve problems from a single solution. Troubleshooting can be done in real-time or retrospectively to reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR) and increase network performance.

Observer 13 features include:

-- New real time TopN enterprise-wide visibility through ORS NetLive

-- Single-click root cause analysis from application-level ORS reports

-- Nanosecond visibility and support for key financial protocols

-- New GigaStor file structure optimized for faster data mining and RNA

-- New GigaStor active reporting speeds problem resolution through immediate processing and extensive drill-down capabilities

-- Unparalleled NetFlow scalability supports up to 512 NetFlow devices per collector

-- Expanded support for 802.11n wireless standard and OC-3/12

"More than 80% of application performance and availability failures will be blamed on network problems, but the network will actually represent less than 20% of the root cause," said Debra Curtis, Research VP for Gartner. "This 'blame game' means that network teams are increasingly dealing with troubleshooting complex applications in addition to traditional network issues. Their expanded role requires tools that can analyze end-to-end application transactions to triage performance problems and determine the root cause, whether that be the network or elsewhere."

Real-Time Performance Monitoring

Observer 13 provides IT teams with a complete view of the network and the applications running over it. ORS enables superior monitoring and troubleshooting in a fraction of the time it takes for more conventional monitoring and analysis tools.

NetLive, a newly released ORS component, provides engineers with high-level network operation center (NOC) views of network and application performance in real-time, allowing them to simultaneously monitor current network conditions while pinpointing concerns. From these business-wide views, engineers can drill down and isolate network problems.

"Increasingly customers want real-time, in-depth reporting in addition to retrospective analysis to identify causes of latency and application performance issues," explained Douglas Smith, president and co-founder of Network Instruments. "ORS provides real-time monitoring and problem resolution. We don't believe there is another analysis company offering the same enterprise-view to packet-level drill-down capability, all seamlessly integrated into a single product set."

ORS also provides auto-baselining of application performance to identify unexpected deviations in application behavior. In monitoring performance, engineers can drill from the application level down to a specific host server as well as compare day-by-day performance.

Targeting the Financial Sector

Observer 13 also includes components designed to specifically benefit financial organizations. These institutions have particular monitoring requirements that differ greatly from the average company. The effectiveness of a trade is measured in nanoseconds, not milliseconds, necessitating drill-down capabilities to a finite moment of time.

"With millions of trades and transactions flowing over their networks, costs from degraded performance and downtime for financial organizations can quickly add up," explained Charles Thompson, manager of systems engineering for Network Instruments. "Observer 13 addresses the need for network teams to quickly isolate and solve these problems by providing visibility into microbursts."

Network Instruments has added several new features to address the financial sector's unique needs:

-- Expanded Financial Protocol Support - Observer offers in-depth FIX analysis including application-specific errors and statistics, and 29West, MOLD, and UDQF decode and support

-- Microburst Analysis - Meets the financial sector's need for nanosecond detail

GigaStor Performance Enhancements

As retrospective network analysis (RNA) emerges as the preferred method for pinpointing network and application problems, Network Instruments upgraded the GigaStor navigation interface and made additional enhancements to facilitate easier problem isolation and troubleshooting. The interface presents network activity within macro and micro timeline views, providing users a big-picture view as well as the micro view to quickly pinpoint problems.

"RNA requires significant processing power to store terabytes of packets to disk and provide immediate analysis," explained Smith. "To handle the high processing demands of RNA, we have created a unique file structure optimized for high-speed capture, storage, and analysis. Beyond increased performance and reliability, the new operating system eliminates any potential fragmentation issues."

Application Analysis

As web services on the network increase, tracking performance by Internet Protocol (IP) or virtual IP is no longer adequate. The numbers of devices involved in providing HTTP-based services can make reporting unmanageable. Observer's URL-based performance reporting monitors response times, volumes, utilization, and site-specific statistics. In addition, response time analysis within ORS now compares response times to expert-defined thresholds, so engineers can easily identify when performance exceeds thresholds.

"Ensuring timely access to business-critical application servers is the primary objective of any network engineer," explained Smith. "Observer gives network teams' enhanced capabilities for tracking response times, handling custom applications, and the ability to more easily manage the performance of Web-based services."

Additional Observer 13 Features

In addition to significant reporting and performance enhancements in ORS and GigaStor, several new features expand Observer's position as a leading analysis solution.

-- Increased NetFlow Scalability - Unparalleled scalability allows engineers to configure up to 512 NetFlow devices per collection device

-- Expanded Wireless Offering - Observer supports the latest emerging wireless standard 802.11n

-- OC3 and OC12 Support - Monitoring and analysis of OC3c and OC12c traffic and decoding of OC-related protocols. Packet over SONET (POS) and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) over SONET support

Product Pricing

Observer Standard, now with 802.11n support, is available for $995. Observer Expert, with in-depth application analysis and increased NetFlow scalability, is available for $2,895. Observer Suite, with SNMP console and Web reporting, is available for $3,995. The Observer Reporting Server appliance price begins at $25,000. The GigaStor begins at $16,995 for the 2 TB two-port configuration. The OC 3c/12c probe appliance begins at $17,000. Additional product information is available at www.networkinstruments.com.

About Network Instruments

Network Instruments, a leading provider of innovative analysis solutions, helps organizations and enterprises-including 70 of the Global Fortune 100 companies-ensure the delivery of business-critical applications on their networks. The company's monitoring and reporting products provide comprehensive visibility into networks and applications to optimize network performance, speed troubleshooting, and assist long-term capacity planning. Network Instruments solutions provide integrated enterprise-wide reporting and back-in-time investigation capabilities for troubleshooting networks. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis with sales offices worldwide and distributors in over 50 countries. For more information about the company, products, and technology, please visit www.networkinstruments.com or the company's blog www.networkinstruments.com/blog.