NetScout Unveils nGenius System for E-Business

BOSTON (05/03/2000) - On Monday, NetScout Systems Inc. unveiled its nGenius e-business performance management system, a set of four networked application performance management tools. The nGenius system, which is geared toward keeping e-business infrastructures constantly available, will be demonstrated at the Networld+Interop event in Las Vegas next week.

The system, which is still in beta testing, includes the nGenius Server, nGenius Performance Monitor, nGenius Traffic Monitor and nGenius Probe.

Beta tester Glenn Osborne, manager of network services at Reed Elsevier Inc., has been using the nGenius system for six months and has found it to be a "definite improvement over what we used to have because of the Web interface and reporting capabilities," he said today.

"The two biggest things they've improved (for us) are the Web access and a reporting capability that allows in-depth detailed probing to analyze traffic patterns," Osborne said.

The Server, a software application that acts as the cornerstone of the system, functions as a database that collects, accumulates and stores data from probes, switches, routers and servers. Meanwhile, the Performance Monitor tracks Internet site traffic volumes, response times and connection requests, and the Traffic Monitor alerts the user if a particular server is causing problems.

"It has a very good Web interface," Osborne said of the tools set. "We could be at home and have an emergency call, and we can log on to the Internet, get into (nGenius), and remotely control and troubleshoot our Cisco (Systems Inc.) switch equipment. It provides a main menu that allows us to look at users and talkers -- the ones that use most of the bandwidth." This is useful, Osborne said, because in the event of a denial of service (DoS) attack, he can identify the protocol and source and cancel it, thereby ending the attack.

The Probe is hardware that provides visibility for URL (uniform resource locator) traffic volumes, response time measurements, error rates and connection requests, and it is placed either within the enterprise data center or at a service provider facility. According to Kristen Bala, public relations manager for NetScout, the Probe automatically alerts users to high spikes of Web traffic and gives information needed to prevent site slowdowns and breakdowns.

"We are right in the middle of developing new applications, and we use the Probe for beta testing applications on the network infrastructure," Osborne said of how Reed Elsevier is using the tools. "We are able to provide reports to directors, developers and the CIO (chief information officer) on how well the application is performing on different network environments."

This is "altogether, a strong offering," Paul Bugala, an analyst at International Data Corp. (IDC) said today. The components of the nGenius system "fit together quite nicely. ...It's application-sensitive, and (NetScout) has approached the importance of e-business and availability issues that are of (importance) for Web-based businesses."

Osborne also applauded the fact that "NetScout ties into HP (Hewlett Packard Co.) OpenView as an icon on the taskbar to allow immediate access when there is an alarm on HP OpenView, so we can drill down to see the switch or router causing the problem."

For further improvement of the nGenius, Osborne recommended that NetScout build "get" commands to monitor SMP (simple management protocol) and Web sites. "That is the proactive command (in Perl) that will identify URLs that are not performing," he said.

Bugala says that the main competitors for NetScout in this market are Agilent Technologies Inc. and Compuware Corp.'s digital test system.

The nGenius offers support for Unix and Windows NT, and runs on HP's HP-UX 110, IBM Corp.'s AIX version 4.3, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris version 2.6 or 2.7, and Windows NT version 4.0 server.

Pricing for the nGenius system, which includes the nGenius Server, Traffic Monitor and Performance Monitor, starts at US$24,995, and the nGenius Probe's pricing starts at $19,995. The Server and the Traffic Monitor will be available in June, and the Performance Monitor and Probe will be available in August.

NetScout Systems, headquartered in Westford, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-978-614-4000 or on the Web at http://www.netscout.com/.

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