• 11/29/2007
    5:00 AM
  • Network Computing
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Rolling Review: Network General

Sniffer InfiniStream and Visualizer appliances drill down into network analysis.

Sniff, Sniff

At its core, Network General's Sniffer understands network- and transport-layer protocols, including detailed header and trailer information such as IP address, port, length, TTL, TCP handshakes, packet fragmentation and assembly. While this is useful information and can help pinpoint network capacity, utilization, latency and packet loss performance issues, it will do little to solve application problems that are not related to the network. For example, our test document management application uses HTTP to request certain documents and to send user IDs, passwords and other data. Without Network General's AppIntel Intelligence, the InfiniStream doesn't know how to interpret the contents of the packets to the level that we need to find an application-centric issue.

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To gain insight into these application issues, Network General is working to move customers to use the AppIntel Intelligence modules within the Sniffer InfiniStream platform. Enabling the add-on AppIntel Intelligence module on our packet capture engine allowed for more in-depth protocol and application analysis as AI discovers applications based on their packet-flow signatures. For performance measurements, this module looks at both client and server traffic to see who's using the network and provides time intervals to help identify when problems and anomalies occur. Data on the source, destination, application, time and interface of conversational flows are all collected, allowing IT managers to analyze data after a problem has been detected.

The Expert Analysis component supports more than 400 protocols and threshold information. We were impressed with the manner in which Network General could overlay network traffic with defined entities—for example, service, application, session, connection and conversation. Armed with threshold information, it detects breaches and presents these in the form of symptoms, then arrives at fault diagnosis through interpolation of the symptoms.

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