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NetQoS SuperAgent 7

With today's swelling gamut of network applications, the growing list of critical services can pose a daunting support challenge. Tactical, targeted troubleshooting steps often come up short simply because a broad enough view of the network environment can't be produced. Version 7 of NetQoS' SuperAgent appliance provides that big-picture insight into the hidden activity of busy networks.

NetQoS' engineering staff walked me through a predeployment checklist, a step it takes with all its customers. The checklist, coupled with the vendor's standard on-site installation assistance, helps users get value out of the SuperAgent tool more quickly. Putting the appliance into service requires assigning a management address and deciding what--and where--you will monitor in the network. Since location is everything when deploying analysis tools, I placed SuperAgent 7 on a span port on a busy Cisco Catalyst 6509 switch to monitor a farm of key database and application servers at our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®. Multiple SuperAgents can be deployed in a distributed array for even greater perspective.

SuperAgent takes 48 hours to establish performance baselines, but limited views into traffic patterns and network conditions are displayed meaningfully in just a few hours. One of the biggest advantages the appliance offers is that no agent software is needed for monitored devices, which hastens deployment ROI.

It doesn't take long to realize that SuperAgent's view is both wide and deep, as server, network and application behaviors (based on known applications and discovered ports) are revealed in the well-presented Web interface. After just a few hours, I had a collection of network resources flagged for inspection and trending, and I started to get a sense of how dozens of critical servers were interacting with each other and hundreds of end users.

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