The Pipeline

Has someone been eating my porridge?

If someone comes into your home, you want to know about it, even if they’ve already left.

Information technology administrators feel the same way about their networks. They want to know about all currently connected devices and those that were previously connected.

Many network discovery and monitoring applications, however, only report the currently connected devices.

That’s not the case with Enterprise Collector Version 2.0 from Insightix, which can track network devices and elements that previously connected to the network.

The product provides real-time network monitoring, delivering infrastructure information on an ongoing basis rather than only a limited, one-time snapshot of the network.

It tracks all network elements, including unmanaged devices and those protected by firewalls, and alerts administrators when disconnected elements reconnect. It can reach all levels of a network, including secured and virtual space.

“Enterprise Collector provides a government organization the unique ability to see its entire network infrastructure in real time and without the need” for software agents, said Joseph Dell, Insightix’s vice president for North America. “The complete, accurate and real-time network information generated by Enterprise Collector is exactly what our government customers are requesting.”

The product also includes an automatic signature generator, which allows administrators to add the signatures of unique devices to a database. The stored signatures help identify similar elements that are subsequently added to the network.

Network monitoring is useful for maintaining general system health on a daily basis. It also alerts administrators to unauthorized devices and helps them with asset management, configuration management, patch management and other projects that rely on IT asset information.

Such monitoring can aid IT initiatives, such as capacity planning and regulatory compliance.

Observing even more on your network

Meanwhile, Network Instruments has announced three new features in its Observer network monitoring and troubleshooting tool.

The first two features are NetFlow and SFlow, which are existing technologies. NetFlow is primarily a Cisco Systems product that provides statistical views of data on Cisco routers. Now it will offer Observer users information about network use, peak usage times and traffic routing.

SFlow is a similar technology, but it’s specific to switches instead of routers. It is an industry-standard technology for monitoring high-speed switched networks. It provides real-time congestion monitoring, audit trail analysis and usage accounting for billing purposes.

“We have one console that lets you monitor all parts of your network simultaneously,” said Douglas Smith, president and co-founder of Network Instruments.

Smith said the benefit to users is that they don’t have to use several different products to monitor one network, resulting in more efficient use of administrators’ time and a shorter learning curve. The third new feature integrated in Observer is support for Fibre Channel analysis via a new line of hardware monitoring appliances. This support provides analysis capabilities to companies that use storage-area networks.

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