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Network Instruments Introduces Native Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring

Enterprises can now directly monitor the status of their network devices, servers and applications in the cloud with the latest release of Network Instruments' Observer Infrastructure (OI) product. OI 3.0 also provides enhanced monitoring of virtual environments utilizing vBlocks, the pre-integrated, pre-configured virtual cloud environment packages from the partnership of EMC, Cisco, VMware and Intel, and FlexPod, a similar capability delivered by NetApp on Cisco network infrastructure.

Network Instruments provides direct OI monitoring of cloud-based infrastructure through APIs to Cloudkick, the SaaS-based cloud infrastructure management service acquired by hosting provider Rackspace in late 2010, and proprietary monitoring services, including Amazon’s CloudWatch for Amazon Web Services (AWS) such as EC2.

"If I’m an IT person, I need to understand things like CPU utilization, how are my VMs running," says Brad Reinboldt, Network Instruments senior product manager. "But you’re depending on someone else's infrastructure--say, AWS--to deliver that functionality." OI 3.0, he says, provides the same comprehensive monitoring for both internal and cloud infrastructure, through either native or Cloudkick APIs, without requiring agents.

OI actively polls network devices, servers and applications to deliver performance metrics for real-time or near real-time reporting and alerts, as well trend information on anomalous activity. Enterprises can access this information through OI or through feeds into its Observer Reporting Server. Network Instruments' portfolio also includes Observer Standard and Expert network monitoring and analysis products, and GigaStor network recorder for long-term analysis.

The latest release also provides improved insight into private cloud infrastructure, polling virtual infrastructure in vBlock and FlexPod deployments. OI performs auto-discovery of all virtual and physical components, and allows them to be managed from a single interface. Admins can drill down for information on individual components or look at summary reports for all elements. In addition, OI 3.0 improves application management through OLEDB- and ODBC-supported scripts to monitor response time and behavior for remote SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, DB2 and MySQL databases.

Network Instruments has added support for a number of applications, database servers, Web servers, and network and storage devices, including WebSphere Application Server and Microsoft Lync Server. OI 3.0 provides an improved UI for viewing health metrics and status, pinpointing the source of trouble and drilling down to identify specific issues.

Performance enhancements include faster polling, use of SNMP 2.0 for quicker data acquisition, improved batch polling so multiple devices can be polled at once, and streamlined data acquisition from Java components. With this release, OI adds basic configuration management capabilities for enterprises that lack third-party CM tools. This capability includes inventory and comparison reports to locate devices; monitoring for new devices and configuration changes, and tracking changing devices in dynamic virtual environments.

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