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Eye Candy or Smart Presentation

Let's face it, network monitoring is not fun or interesting. It's downright boring. Scanning line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, and (ick) tabular data is tedious.
You get good information, but aesthetically, the visuals leave much to be desired. And you have to have experience with the product to quickly process the output. That takes time. NetQOS is experimenting with an interesting 3D visual called NetCosm. You can see it in action over on YouTube. They may be onto something.

Netcosm shows your network traffic in a 3D world where different traffic has specific icons, and servers under load are smoking or on fire. Network problems show up as fireworks. Run that puppy on a spare monitor in your office and you will never be caught unawares again.

Eye-candy, those visuals with WOW factor are often poo-poo'd as, well, eye candy. Anyone remember CA Unicenters 3D interface that required a high end graphics station just to run? Sailing through your network was fun, to be sure, and was great for giving demonstrations, but would you live with it? CA's goal was to make a more intuitive interface and I am not sure that worked out all that well but it was an interesting start.

The sheer volume of data network engineers have to process is growing and vendors are trying to provide "at-a-glance" visuals that provide relevant information. I remember a few years ago, HighTower Software, had an impressive demo that presented security event data on a 3D bar chart. Q1-Labs QRADAR presents network information using 2D graphs that based on a number of different factors. You can "see" the network traffic rather than study numeric data. A number of commercial and open source network monitoring tools present data in interesting ways.

I understand that companies need to prioritize projects and can't waste resources on big ideas that may fall flat, but this is a field of study and application that can be a differentiator when everything else is the same.

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