NetScout’s nGenius K2 Tackles Application Performance from Three Angles

Provides visibility into application services health, offering drill-down to investigate flow and packet data to aid in troubleshooting problems

NetScout Systems, Inc. has just shipped it nGenius K2 for monitoring and troubleshooting application performance. Like the Himalayan peak and the earth’s second-highest mountain for which it was named, the new solution provides IT “a clear, high-level view of the current state or health of applications and services measured from the network perspective, where all of those services must come together to be delivered to business end users.” This big picture also incorporates contextual drill-down so IT can investigate flow and packet specifics when problems arise, which the company says reduces Mean Time to Repair/Restore (MTTR).

NetScout’s solutions are built on packet-flow monitoring technology, which the company says is “the most definitive source of network, application, and service performance data” and the only complete viewpoint from which to assess the health of applications and services, including infrastructure elements or moment-in-time captures of the experience of end users. “What’s important is the dynamic interaction between elements,” NetScout told Enterprise Systems recently.

The company says that packet flow data is critical if IT is to solve problems and maintain mission-critical performance over a complex network that involves end users, servers, and the network -- and the interaction between these elements.

nGenius K2’s major features include dashboards, an early warning system, and a self-monitoring component.

Dashboards

IT can see the current state/health of an application or service. Icons provide a quick view of which applications deserve watching (icons are highlighted with a yellow glow) and have problems (highlighted in red) and which also includes the number of alerts triggered by failure to meet key performance indicator (KPI) metrics. Users can drill down to application traffic flows and alert details. Dashboards can be customized; a user-definable service profile can highlight just the applications or services a user wants to track.

The program’s Virtual Service Network Map shows the flow “footprint” for a user-selected application service; it displays the key points within the service and displays the active servers groups and transactions affecting the application. The map also displays the performance alerts for the selected application service.

A four-panel Service Summary includes charts and tables that display measures over time such as service state, KPIs, application usage, and response time distribution, as well as showing the worst performing locations and servers. Users can drill down directly from the display to see additional details that can assist in troubleshooting.

Early Warning System

nGenius K2 can issue early warnings of problems triggered by its analytics engine. Using “thresholdless” anomaly detection, it can detect and factor in real-time usage patterns to reduce false positives, and monitors the responsiveness of applications as they relate to the established KPIs. Alerts display problem specifics and include associated troubleshooting leads.

“The alerts help IT identify the problems that could affect customers before they negatively impact service. Because we provide troubleshooting information, IT has a head start about where to start. The Help Desk can be proactive and involve the right teams at the right time,” NetScout told ESJ.

nGenius Performance Network (nPN)

The third component is the nGenius Performance Management System, which helps IT monitor its own nGenius deployment. The nPN service shows how the nGenius System itself is doing by monitoring nGenius infrastructure devices, tracking the performance of probe memory, AFMon hardware, and nGenius servers, processes, and users. As with the other components, drill-down capabilities are offered.

More information is available at http://www.netscout.com.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).