Network Instruments Introduces Newest Version of Observer

Network Instruments, the industry leading developer of distributed, user-friendly and affordable network management, analysis and troubleshooting solutions, today announced the release of Observer 10.1. This new version provides administrators with greater insight for distributed networks with additional metrics for reporting overall network performance, capabilities for automatic report delivery and packet scheduling, enhancements for remote network analysis and additional monitors for 802.11a/b/g networks.

Observer 10.1 expands reporting capabilities with the new Report Scheduler, which enables administrators to configure any Ready-Made or Custom Report to be delivered at pre-determined times or time intervals to Observer and non-Observer users alike. The Report Scheduler offers a quick and easy way to update others on network health, bandwidth utilisation, web traffic, top talkers and more. Delivery options include email attachments, web links or automatically saving reports to selected directories.

"For hands-on engineers interested in monitoring network health over time the Report Scheduler is an excellent addition to Observer," said Douglas Smith, president of Network Instruments. "You can offer regular updates to colleagues, service providers and managers on network performance. For example, setup Observer to automatically send a report on this week's Top Talkers to your inbox. The key benefit is providing non-Observer users an inside look into network operations."

For a deeper understanding of network performance, Observer's Expert Analysis now reports Network Delay as a separate metric. Network delay provides an indication of the actual time spent on the wire from point A to point B, independent of client or server delay. Measuring network delay helps determine what portion of total delay is due specifically to the network and not resulting from operating systems or individual applications.

"Understanding overall network performance can be a challenge," said Smith. "The Network Delay metric offers another method of monitoring network slowdown. Showing the 'best case' roundtrip time in the current environment helps determine what portion of the total delay is due to the network. Network engineers can uncover inefficient routes or failing equipment by viewing network delay separately from client or server delay."

In order to relieve concerns with providing access to confidential data through a decode screen, Expert Observer can now password protect and limit captures to a set number of bytes. This feature can be set at the company, department or individual level. Setup is manageable via the Expert Observer interface or through the Network Instruments Authentication Server (NIAST).

"One of our larger European customers deploys Network Instruments Probes to financial institutions across the continent," said Ian Cummins, European sales director, Network Instruments. "To solve network issues, the IT Department needed access to decode data but could not allow access to the entire packet. By reconfiguring our Packet Slicing abilities in Observer, this option is now managed at the console, probe, user or department level. We have given our users the capability to control a deeper layer of packet analysis, ensuring their data is protected and secure."

Additional features in Observer 10.1 include:

- Packet Capture Scheduling
Administrators can choose to automatically start a packet capture anytime a probe is engaged or select a specific time of day and/or day of week to schedule routine captures. Pre-programming packet captures can assist in solving recurring network issues or more elusive network problems.

- Remote Probe Post-Capture Analysis
The Advanced Expert Probe has historically performed real-time Expert Analysis and Expert Processing at the individual probe level. Now this extends to post-capture analysis. With the ability to capture, decode, load, save and analyse data at the remote Probe, only screen updates are transferred to the console reducing network traffic and allowing for faster troubleshooting of remote issues.

- Wireless Analysis Enhancements
Observer continues to lead the industry as the most comprehensive wired/wireless analyser for LAN, 802.11a/b/g, WAN and Gigabit networks. Observer 10.1 adds numerous Expert Conditions to monitor for problems such as access point interference or denial of service attacks to wireless networks.

In addition, new decodes were added such as Financial Info Exchange (FIX), as well as new extensions for Secure Socket Layer (SSL).

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