Networking Field Day 9: First look- Monitor the network with NetBeez?!
With Networking Field Day #9 quickly approaching, I can’t help but start digging into the presenters and see what they currently offer.
In reviewing the presenters at Networking Field Day #9, one of them NetBeez offers an interesting take on network monitoring. I must admit this is one of the presenters I needed to do a little research on. Now, when I first went to the NetBeez homepage, the first thing I noticed was what they provide and bring to the table:
How many companies state they provide ‘end-user monitoring’ this to me is a unique twist on network monitoring. Think about it we have Application Performance monitoring, network device monitoring, traffic flow monitoring, & many others but end-user monitoring is not usually something you hear about too often.
Like many of us have, I have been using IP SLA across many networks to give me a perspective as to what the user what might be experiencing. While this is a good idea it is however slightly flawed in my opinion, my reasons below:
- It’s not really from the user’s perspective. (Usually)
- Usually the IP SLA is configured on a distribution or core device. NOT from the access layer.
- IP SLA does not scale very well.
- How are you going to manage all these IP SLA’s?
- You need to be careful when/where configuring or terminating a large number of IP SLA’s on individual routers, they require resources to run! You can very easily go overboard!
- Reporting and monitoring.
- Can you report on the IP SLA statistics? How long were response times above a certain threshold vs. within a reasonable expectation?
However, after reviewing NetBeez I see some potential. As their solution does appear to address some of those concerns & flaws:
- True user perspective
- NetBeez devices can be connected directly to the access layers, providing a network perspective AS A REAL USER. Albeit at the cost of a single switchport.
- The NetBeez devices are managed from one central management console, easing the management of this monitoring solution to a single console.
- Now your infrastructure devices simply need to pass packets in the data plane and service clients not worrying about the additional load of the IP SLA processes.
Now these are just some of my initial impressions, I am quite curious to see this product in action, to see if they live up to my impressions, and what they have in store for the future. In my opinion this product has a lot of untapped potential.
A few things I am curious about:
- Cost – I’ve worked with many companies were I could easily deploy 50 to a few 100 of these little devices. Many of know the budget is a big decision maker, can these useful little guys break the budget?
- Consolidated Data views – Deploying a lot of these guys might get overwhelming quickly and I am curious how efficiently this data can be summarized.
- Reporting – With all this useful information I am wondering if the data is kept for historical purposes and can be reported on later. I think being able to report on response times for the various applications (HTTP, DNS, etc) can easily provide trending capabilities after a 3 month time frame.
- Support for additional applications, or advanced monitoring capabilities- Many companies will be running some type of home grown application, can NetBeez devices be configured to perform simple TCP handshakes over specific TCP ports? What about taking HTTP monitoring a step forward and navigate down a few pages instead of a single HTTP GET, maybe even reporting on individual page elements. eCommerce is a very large and metric driven business that could definitely benefit from advanced HTTP monitoring.
- Most importantly can we run monitors between different NetBeez devices
Now, don’t think of those curiosities too harshly, network monitoring is a topic I tend to be overly critical about (Just ask anyone I have worked with)
With all that said I this should be a very interesting presentation, and one I am looking forward to.