HP vs. Juniper vs. Cisco vs. Avaya: Review Roundup for Ethernet Switches

This week we present a Review Roundup of the latest reviews of ethernet switches from the IT Central Station community. To see full product comparisons on IT Central Station:

Read what our real users have to say about the solutions they are using:Ethernet Switches- Cisco vs Avaya vs Juniper vs HP

HP – “Some valuable features include cost per Gigabit Port, Layer 3 Capability, POE SupportBy reducing the need for an in-line power source over Ethernet using injectors for small devices, we are able to power wireless access points. Additionally, cameras, and telephones from a single device. ROI is 350% due to stability in the product, low power use, and administrative requirements such as down time.” Read the full HP review.

Avaya “One of the reasons we selected this product was the per port cost ratio as it is very low while compared to other similar products. The device can be remotely managed using various remote management protocols like SNMP, RMON, and HTTP etc. We did face problems while finding the right connecting cable for administering the device, but once the device is on the network it can be easily managed. We also found the web interface for managing the device, to be very useful.” Read the full review here.

Cisco – “EA Cisco Network Structure consisted of 3 Layers (Core, Distribution & Access). We used the FWSM (Firewall Services Module) to route the traffic and as a gateway to get to the WAN. As a result, we were able to collapse the Core Layer into the Distribution Layer with a few blade modules (FWSM, SUP & Ethernet).” Read the full review here.

Juniper vs. Cisco “I prefer Juniper for the following reasons: Cleaner separation of data plane from control plane, hierarchical config design and easier rollback; I think there are less bugs/vulnerabilities in Junos vs IOS. ” Read the full review.

Visit IT Central Station to read more Ethernet Switch reviews including HP, Avaya, Cisco, NETGEAR, D-Link, Brocade and many more. You can also look at helpful comparison pages like Cisco vs. Juniper, Brocade vs. Netgear to help your research!

Roundup of Latest Reviews: Solarwinds NPM (Network Monitoring Tools)

IT Central Station covers a gamut of technology products and services that are used every day to power the business of Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 enterprises. In today’s post, we’ll give you a taste of one of the latest reviews that have come in for Solarwinds Orion, one of the many network monitoring tools listed on IT Central Station. Here are a few highlights:

  • User anon375, who is on the network team at a retailer says NPM is “the most efficient Network Performance Monitor with its sniffing, alerting system, and fault discovery.”
  • User mgrntwrk381 who is a network manager at a healthcare company says Orion’s “resource utilization is heavy so you need to analyze the server before using it for multiple roles. We are unable to use web console to configure new alerts.”
  • User teenajain who is IT Director at a company with 1-500 employees gives it 4 stars but says one of its limitations is “building out a dependency structure.”
  • User network185 who is a networking expert at a company with 1-500 employees  says it is “quick to get up and running, but not as granular out-of-the-box as you would expect.”

On IT Central Station, you can read the full reviews of NPM by Solarwinds, and other network monitoring tools including Wireshark, OPNET, CA NetQoS Performance Center, Cisco Data Center Network Manager, Entuity, HP Network Management Center, InfoVista VistaInsight, ManageEngine OpManager, Microsoft Network Monitor and others.

These are the opinions of real users – not vendors, analysts, consultants or bloggers. IT Central Station protects the privacy of its user community–we validate that the reviewers are real users of the products, but the reviews are posted without personally identifiable information so that users can say what they really think and be heard.

These are just a sample of the many fine reviews you’ll find on IT Central Station. If you haven’t already sign up and browse reviews and write your own review.

Top Network Performance Monitoring Tools – 2015 Edition

Network Performance Monitoring is a way for companies to optimize their system’s performance through monitoring network traffic and resource utilization. According to the IT Central Station community, the most important buying criteria for buying software are functions such as packet loss, latency, jitter, downtime, interoperability with the largest amount of vendor devices possible, performance and behavior of the application. The ability to customize the monitoring and presentation of the data are key but the software should have an easy to view default dashboard.

Here at IT Central Station, we offer a crowdsourced platform that allows real users to share their opinions about tech products with the rest of the enterprise tech community. We have compiled over 70,000 views of the top Network Performance Monitoring tools by real users in 2014 and analyzed their trends in the infographic below. The infographic is weighted based on the the following categories (see chart key below). All of our data is based on actual behavior of real users researching and reviewing Network Performance Monitoring vendors on IT Central Station.

If you have any questions regarding our research or would like to read our reviews, please visit our Network Performance monitoring section on IT Central Station at http://www.itcentralstation.com/category/network-performance-monitoring.

Download our infographic in PDF format.

Review Roundup Wireless LAN: HP vs. Cisco vs. Aerohive vs. Aruba

This week’s review roundup features a fast growing category – Wireless LAN. These solutions comprise part of networking solutions and IT Central Station has many new reviews of real users sharing their experiences with the solutions they are using. To see the full comparisons, check out IT Central Station:

Cisco Wireless vs. HP Wireless

Aerohive vs. Aruba

Here are a few helpful excerpts:download

HP Wireless – “The main reason I chose to implement the HP WLC was due to the limitations of our previous Sonicwall WLC not being able to have layer three provisioning. I would say that feature is the most valuable. Improvements to My Organization: With our old wireless network, we had to put controllers at every location to have wireless access. This product allowed us to have one controller at our central location and still provide wireless to our outlying clinics.” Read the full review here.

Aruba Wireless – “The scalability is the key here. We operate in a multi-vendor environment, running proprietary and open source software as well as pretty much every OS in it. We have to be able to adjust features as we need them throughout the WLAN. Improvements to My Organization: WLAN is one of the major functions that allows employee movement without re-doing cabling etc. Room for Improvement: I haven’t encountered an area for improvement and am quite satisfied with the product.” Read the full review here.

Aerohive Wireless – “Easily make changes to the WLAN via the online portal rather than through a hardware controller. Reducing time spent by our team to make changes as when required. Room for Improvement: I personally think the user interface could do with touching up but that’s being overly critical as I can’t think of anything hardware related that requires improvement.” Read the full review here.

Cisco Wireless – “Right now more than 90% of our employees connect on wireless only. That minimizes a huge CapEx on LAN infrastructure. Users can connect from any of the offices of banglalink. Roaming is the biggest advantage we have got so far. For security purposes, certificate based authentication ensures that only banglalink employees can connect to those SSID. Room for Improvement: Reporting and Active Passive Failover on Controller.” Read the full review here.

You can read other reviews of Juniper, Avaya, and more. You can also see side by side comparisons for a useful research tool: For example, Aerohive vs. Avaya or Cisco vs. Juniper.

 

 

 

Gartner Flattens Abs—I mean Apps—with Cloud Tips

Flat AppsJust like the flat abs promotions that hit us one after another in online ads, in the check out lines, or some before-dawn infomercial, there’s a lot of talk about how clouds can quickly “flatten” applications, networks, and even organizational structure (30-day money back guaranteed!

Gartner’s Ben Tomhave,  Research Director for Security and Risk Management Strategies, writes that getting flat networks is one by-product of a cloud strategy.

Ben gives us three scenarios to help us understand the benefits of moving toward clouds. In his post, “All the World’s a Cloud,” he gives us these ideas:

  • Expanding Self-Service to Reduce Support Volume
  • Resolving BYOD Concerns Using a Cloud Services Model
  • Flatten Your Network, Fix Your Perspective

Take a look at them, and then take a look at the cloud reviews on IT Central Station.

You can start here to drill down to close to 100 other reviews for popular providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce (dot com).

For example, one of the reviews provides a “Simple Calculator for Comparing Windows Azure Blob Storage and Amazon S3 Pricing.” This same real user reviewer also wrote, “(Some) Best Practices for Building Windows Azure Cloud Applications.” Way to go, Gaurev Mantri!

Another real-user reviewer writes in her review summary, “Why I love Heroku.” As a Directory of IT for a company of 500, Tanya Nam provides insight about development using node.js.

Do You Throw Bandwidth at the Problem?

This week’s guest blog post is by Bruce Kosbab. Bruce is CTO at Fluke Networks – Visual. If you haven’t already, check out the real user reviews of Visual TruView here on IT Central Station.BruceKosbab

If you are a network manager you have likely faced two conflicting business directives when it comes to managing your network: 1) ensuring that you are delivering the optimal end-user experience with your network, and 2) reducing the operational cost of your network.

The need to ensure adequate end-user-experience puts constant pressures on IT to increase bandwidth in order to provide an effective service to the business, while cost management requires that bandwidth is limited, or even reduced. So, how can you manage these conflicting pressures?

Frequently, in situations in which there are persistent performance problems with an application the initial reaction is to throw bandwidth at the problem. However, often times you can substantially improve the end-user experience and reduce operational costs merely by using the bandwidth you already have more efficiently.

Informed Decisions

Throwing bandwidth at an application performance problem may be right answer, but this solution is not immediate. Ordering new circuits can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to deploy. And, gathering data to understand the true bandwidth usage of a link can be time-consuming and error-prone.

  • Which network links need the most attention?
  • Is the bandwidth being used for business purposes?
  • Can I downsize a link while maintaining business service quality?
  • How can I demonstrate that an increase in capacity is warranted?

There are three common approaches used to manage network capacity:

  1. Long-range views of average utilization – shows a long-term trend of utilization, but traffic spikes and even brief periods of congestion are hidden by the highly aggregated averages
  2. Peak utilization – shows the days in a month that had a busy minute but doesn’t give insight into the amount of time during which time a link is congested
  3. Traffic usage totals – does not give any indication of congestion except in extreme cases

None of these approaches provides adequate information to make informed decisions.

The Problem With Utilization

Let’s look at an example in which average utilization is used. In this example, I’ve chosen a short time-frame, but it demonstrates the problem with average utilization.

The average utilization over the selected time period, Oct 9 through Oct 14, is approximately 45 percent. By looking at this information one could assume that bandwidth congestion on this interface is not an issue. If we were to use network utilization as a yardstick for bandwidth capacity planning then this interface would most likely not appear on our radar.

TruView Capacity Planning_image1

Data aggregation is at the core of the problem in using utilization for capacity planning. The utilization values in the above chart are aggregated into 2-hour intervals. This means that each point in the report represents an average over a 2-hour timeframe. This aggregation has a smoothing effect on the data that masks high-congestion periods.

To demonstrate the smoothing effect, let’s zoom in on 60-minute timeframe within the time period shown in the above chart. On the afternoon of Oct 11th the utilization peaks at around 80 percent, which is not evident in a 5-day view of the data.

This level of granularity is what is needed to truly understand the network utilization. The problem is that getting this fine level of granularity over a month or a year is not feasible because it requires a vast amount of data to be stored and displayed in order for the real utilization to be visually and quantitatively apparent.

TruView Capacity Planning_image2

There is a Better Way

There is a technique for analyzing network utilization, which Fluke Networks’ products use. It provides more actionable and accurate decision-making information. We call this data Network Burst data. Burst Utilization indicates the amount of time interface utilization is greater than specified thresholds.

By using Burst Utilization you can determine how long the congestion of a link exceeded 80 percent utilization or other utilization thresholds. With this type of information you can make decisions on whether to upsize (or downsize) a link or whether to investigate how the link is being used.

The advantage of Burst Utilization is that if link congestion levels can reported based on 1-minute granularity regardless of the reported time frame, a day, a month, a year, without loss of information fidelity. Contrast this with using average utilization over 15, 30, or 60-minute time ranges, which dampen the utilization trend, and make accurate capacity planning decision very difficult if not impossible.

Network managers typically want to begin to keep an eye on a particular interface when it spends more than 10 percent of time above 80 percent utilization. This translates to a little more than a half day out of a typical workweek. When the utilization burst reaches 20 percent time spent at the 80 percent threshold, i.e. a full work-day, then it may be time to either upgrade the link or investigate how it’s being used.

TruView Capacity Planning_image3

The chart shown above lists the interfaces being monitored and their respective burst data. The color breakdown indicates, for each interface, the time spent over 30 percent utilization (yellow), 60 percent utilization (orange), and 80 percent utilization (red). The interface listed first is obviously in trouble. It is running above at >80 percent utilization all of the time.

Gathering Data to Make a Decision

If we look at Burst Utilization for a given interface we can determine, at a glance, which days of the week and hours of the date are most congested.

TruView Capacity Planning_image4

And then, we can investigate whether the bandwidth is being used for business purposes or for recreational use.

In the chart shown below, it appears that most of the bandwidth is consumed by legitimate business applications. The 1755/TCP application bears further investigation though.

TruView Capacity Planning_image5

When all of this information shown above is accessible in a single solution and in one place in that solution, making bandwidth-sizing decisions can be quick and easy.

Call To Action

The goal of managing network bandwidth is not to report on the utilization of a link over time, but rather to ensure that you are buying the right amount of bandwidth to meet the needs of the business.

Please let me know how you perform bandwidth management:

  • Is WAN capacity management part of your standard process?
  • What tools do you use?
  • What are your biggest challenges in managing bandwidth?

Also, please take a look at Visual TruView from Fluke Networks. That solution can help you with your network capacity management chores, plus it can help you understand whether network congestion issues are indeed causing application performance issues.

Don’t throw bandwidth at the problem. Make informed decisions with the right data.

Review Roundup: Fluke Networks OptiView XG

Today’s Review Roundup zooms in on OptiView XG by Fluke Networks. With dozens of network troubleshooting and monitoring solutions available on the market and listed on IT Central Station, it’s difficult to determine which solution is best for your needs. We’ll look at what some of our real users have to say about OptiView XG and how they’ve implemented it to fit their needs. FlukeNetworks

  • Aaron Kostyu who is Director of IT at a local government says “We have been using the OptiView XG to both monitor the network, and to take into the field when a deeper inspection of a specific component is needed. Its combination of features, easy-to-understand insight tools and reporting capabilities has made it an indispensable solution for the team.” Read his complete review here.
  • Tommy Pruitt who is Vice President at a company with 1-500 employees says “Prior to OptiView XG, we used a variety of tools and packet sniffers, such as Wireshark, to gather information. The manual correlation of data was time consuming and required highly skilled technical engineers. Now, we have one solution that automates all data gathering, presents that information in graphical format, and allows the team to drill down into more detail instantly.” Read his complete review here.
  • Trent Spencer who is a network manager at a local government says “The OptiView XG is always our starting point. It helps collaboration, gives the insights we need to make a case for upgrades or plan for deployments, allows us to test new implementations in real time, and quickly troubleshoot and fix problems as they arise. We look to this device first so we never waste time or money.” Read his complete review here.

Which network troubleshooting and monitoring solutions have you used? Share your experiences with the professional IT community! If you haven’t already, sign up with IT Central Station, browse reviews, follow your favorite products, or write a review of your own!

Review Roundup: Fluke Networks Visual TruView

Today’s Review Roundup focuses on network monitoring reviews of Fluke Networks Visual TruView. There are so many solutions on the market and it’s hard to know which is best for your organization. Today we’ll look at what several real users have posted about Visual TruView as a network monitoring solution. Here are a few highlights:

  • David Varnum who is Manager of Engineering at a retailer says “There are only two solutions I keep up and running at all times, and Visual TruView is FlukeNetworksone of them. It gives me complete visibility into the application layer and when problems emerge, I can identify the source and work to fix it before it has an impact on the business.” Read his complete review here.
  • Dermot Tobin who is Senior Project Manager at a local government says “Before deploying the TruView, performance monitoring was fairly manual….With TruView, we have a much better view of application performance, particularly from the user perspective.” Read his complete review here.
  • reviewer68994a who is VP of Network/Comms/Infra at a financial services firm says “As we bring more of the responsibility for managing our network in-house, VPM’s ability to generate utilization reports is extremely valuable. In some cases, VPM can create reports that third-party vendors cannot. And with a small team – we have just 4 people managing the network across more than 100 locations – the ability to remotely identify and diagnose problems saves on time and travel costs.” Read his complete review here.

Click here to read more Network Monitoring Software reviews on IT Central Station. If you haven’t already, sign up with IT Central Station, browse reviews, follow your favorite products, or write a review of your own!

Review Roundup: SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

IT Central Station covers a gamut of technology products and services that are used every day to power the business of Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 enterprises. In today’s post, we’ll give you a taste of several real user reviews that have come in for SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, one of the many network monitoring tools listed on IT Central Station. Here are a few highlights:

SolarWinds

  • User NetmonGuy, who is a Network Engineer at a software r&d company says “Solarwinds NPM has lots of features not found in some other network performance monitoring tools e.g. seamless integration with Microsoft Active Directory.” Read his complete review here.
  • User meu1124, who is Senior Manager of IT at a government organization says “Because data availability is critical to our decision makers and business operations, my team leverages SolarWinds as a central management platform for tracking all the connected resources on our networks and as an Asset Management capability.” Read his complete review here.
  • User nicodiablo, who is a Network Engineer at a manufacturing company says “We are very happy with the performance, features, and pricing, The company is very pro-active, as in adding additional features and being responsive to customer requests.” Read his complete review here.
  • User Aaron Leskiw who is a Network Engineer at a tech consulting company says “NPM is a powerful, scalable network monitoring tool. It has a vast range of features, and a large number of expansion plugins that can add functionality for almost any need.” Read his complete review here.

On IT Central Station, you can read the full reviews of SolarWinds NPM, and other Network Monitoring tools including Zabbix, Nagios, Wireshark, Microsoft SCOM and others.

These are just a sample of the many in-depth reviews you’ll find on IT Central Station. If you haven’t already, sign up, browse reviews and write your own review.