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Fluke's Latest Network Time Machine Offers Auto Multisegment Analysis

Is it the server or the network? The latest version of Fluke Networks' Network Time Machine (NTM) can tell you where the bottleneck is.

Fluke Networks introduced the latest edition of its Network Time Machine at Cisco Live this week in San Diego, boasting the first auto multisegment analysis capability for both portable and rack-mount 40-Gbps stream-to-disk products.

NTM speeds up troubleshooting by five times, and provides network professionals with the flexibility of both rack-mount and portable versions, explains Amit Rao, Fluke Networks' director of product management. Along with the latest version of Fluke's OptiView XG Network Analysis Tablet announced last month, network admins can gather packet information across multiple tiers within the data center or a distributed network.

Rao said the latest NTM keeps up with the evolving nature of networks, which are a mix of wireline and wireless, serving local and remote users. With so many different elements in a network, it's more difficult to find the specific cause of a disruption. "Many times you don't know if it's the server or the network," Rao explains. "Now you really know what segment is responsible."

Network management does not provide the granularity network professionals require to diagnose increasingly complex environments, he adds. Customers are also making significant investments in 40 Gbps. "A lot of our customers are expanding server capacities and the pipes that lead into them," he says. "They want to make sure they get the performance that they've paid for."

By 2015, server unit growth with 40-Gbps Ethernet interface is expected to grow by more than 40%, according to the Cisco Market Need for 40 Gigabit Ethernet Report, 2012. "This means new challenges isolating packet delays and losses across different network segments," Rao says. "The packet never lies. That's the best way to get information."

For Digicel Group, a fast-growing provider of mobile phone services with 11.5 million customers across 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, it's critical that problems get diagnosed quickly. Digicel's engineering team uses the NTM to highlight network congestion and performance bottlenecks before they can become problems that affect customers.

The key benefits of NTM are speed, intelligence and ease of use, says Vincent Choi, product marketing manager for NTM. NTM features plug-and-play quick deployment, best-in-class VoIP and video analysis, and an intuitive drill-down user interface with configurable dashboards, analysis modules and data-mining filter. "You really want to get to the scene of the crime quickly," he says.

Last week, Fluke announced its OneTouch AT Network Assistant, a new tool for network technicians that automates troubleshooting of the most common end-user issues in less than a minute, reducing the time it takes to close network trouble tickets.

Normally, network technicians spend more than an hour using a variety of tools such as protocol analyzers, PC utilities, and cable and network testers to solve network connectivity and performance issues, which provide limited, nonconsolidated information. The OneTouch AT tester combines that functionality into a customizable, handheld tool with a one-button auto test feature.

The OneTouch AT Network Assistant will be available at the end of June, while the new version of NTM will be available in September.