Network Instruments Eases Probe Administration and Supervision with New Management Server

NIMS delivers centralized management and shared access of analysis tools for enterprise network managers and administrators

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- January 30, 2006 -- Network Instruments, a leading innovator of network analysis solutions, today released the Network Instruments Management Server (NIMS™) to efficiently manage and administer distributed remote analysis probes across heterogeneous networks. The NIMS aids network managers by centralizing probe administration and maintaining console-probe security while providing network administrators with shared access to analysis tools.

The NIMS is designed exclusively for managing Network Instruments’ probes reporting to Observer® consoles. Network administrators rely on Observer for responsibilities such as analyzing network statistics, reviewing application traffic, managing VoIP communication, and performing real-time packet captures. For network managers, the NIMS offers added security, centralized licensing, a centralized update service, and failover redundancy for more efficient probe management. Without the NIMS, the network manager must administer each probe individually when there is a staff change, new software update, or any other event that would affect a network administrator’s distributed analysis capability.

“For our clients that deploy hundreds of analysis probes, probe management can be a challenge,” said Douglas Smith, president and co-founder of Network Instruments. “The NIMS makes these tasks enormously easier and more efficient. Plus the NIMS provides more centralized visibility -- by only having to review one device, network managers can quickly verify if probes are compliant with corporate access guidelines, and licensing policies.”

Rather than maintaining separate user accounts at each probe, the probe queries the NIMS to authenticate users. Network managers simply populate this information into the NIMS using Active Directory, a RADIUS authentication server, or through an internal database. This offers an efficient and secure mechanism of updating user accounts as staff changes are made. NIMS-probe communication is automatically protected using 128-bit shared-key encryption.

The NIMS offers the option for centralized licensing by maintaining individual license numbers as probes (or Observer consoles) are activated across the network. When a new probe is acknowledged by the NIMS, it can auto-assign a license number to that probe. This feature speeds up the setup process and is ideal for IT departments that transport analyzers across the enterprise.

With the Centralized Update System, the NIMS localizes the administration of major and minor version updates, allowing network managers to maintain version control. For example, when new Observer or probe software versions are released, the network manager updates the NIMS, which will then administer all other updates. Network managers can customize this functionality in a number of ways. The NIMS can be configured to update all probes automatically, ensure probes remain at an assigned version, upgrade select probes to major versions, or force upgrades if necessary.

The NIMS also provides fail-safe performance with the installation of a redundant NIMS system. This means real-time analysis and distributed visibility is maintained if for any reason the primary NIMS should become unavailable.

“The redundant NIMS option was designed so that the two systems can partner and protect against connection problems,” said Roman Oliynyk, CEO and co-founder of Network Instruments. “If the link to the primary NIMS fails, the secondary NIMS will provide continued support to Observer consoles and probes active across the network. This safeguards your analysis tools from experiencing downtime when you need them most.”

Network administrators frequently use Observer’s popular filtering capabilities. Filters quickly mine through large amounts of data, collecting and displaying only the relevant information required to troubleshoot the problem at hand. With the NIMS, administrators can now easily share filter libraries across probes and across the network with colleagues.

“We’ve seen organizations where administrators create dozens, sometimes hundreds of custom filters that they save in their Observer filter library for continued access,” said Charles Thompson, manager of sales engineering for Network Instruments. “Now with the NIMS, filters are no longer tied to one specific probe. Instead they can be shared across the network -- thus saving valuable time and energy and allowing our customers to solve problems faster.”

The NIMS sells for $2,000 and can be installed on any Windows-based 1 Ghz system with 512 MB of RAM or greater. The NIMS replaces the Network Instruments Authentication System (NIAS) and works with the following Network Instruments products: Expert Observer, Observer Suite, Advanced Multi-Probe, Advanced Expert Probe, 10/100/1000 Probe Appliance, Multi-Port 10/100 Probe Appliance, 10/100 Full-Duplex Probe Appliance, Gigabit Probe, GigaStor™, and WAN Probe.

For more information about the NIMS or Network Instruments please visit http://www.networkinstruments.com.