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Entuity 12.5 Network Management review

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The ideal network management accurately discovers devices, computers and applications on the network. It works on networks of any size. It uses computing resources frugally. It can work within the framework of a global directory (LDAP, for example). It graphically depicts the entire network, subsets of the network and individual devices. It monitors the status and health of every device or computer on the network. It can glean its data from a variety of sources, including agents and SNMP-enabled devices. It works as well with IPv6 as it does with IPv4. It can accept and use sophisticated, complex descriptions of thresholds. It can send alert notifications via email, pager or text message to different individuals or groups depending on the nature of the problem. It can perform root cause analysis to identify a problem device or computer that’s causing a cascade of network error messages. It supports every kind of device on the network. It works within virtual environments and cloud-based environments. It integrates with help desk software and with other monitoring tools. It produces useful, easy-to-understand and timely reports. It’s highly scalable and reliable. And the ideal network management is easy to use.

We found Entuity 12.5’s network object recognition sophisticated and accurate. Its federated architecture was highly scalable and easy to extend across an entire enterprise. The single-console web browser-based user interface was intuitive, comprehensive and easy to navigate. Furthermore, we could access all Entuity’s functions via a single console – we didn’t need to run different Entuity modules on different computers and learn different skills for each.

Entuity 12.5 earns the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best enterprise-level network monitoring product.

Features and more features

Entuity 12.5’s advanced, mature feature set includes:

  • Federated architecture – Scalable, extensible and reliable technology
  • Browser interface – Single console operation from anywhere on the network
  • Auto discovery – Accurate identification and classification of network devices
  • Network inventory and topology data – Useful display of network device details
  • Sophisticated thresholds – Ability to signal alerts based on static and/or dynamic conditions
  • Root cause analysis – Quick, accurate identification of problem causes
  • Integration – Works well with other products, such as BMC’s ProactiveNet Performance Monitoring (BPPM)
  • Integrated NetFlow – Built-in basic NetFlow functionality; optional Integrated Flow Analyzer available
  • Reports – More than 100 predefined reports plus a custom report/graph builder

As we tested, we were impressed by the breadth and scope of Entuity 12.5’s features. We found it to be enterprise-ready in every aspect of its operation.

Finding fault

Entuity 12.5 uses what its developers term True Cause Analytics to locate the primary source (root cause) of a network error that’s triggered a cascade or cluster of connectivity faults. True Cause Analytics continuously collects, digests and evaluates data on the ever-changing myriads of relationships among devices to gain a thorough understanding of the network. To isolate and locate the true cause of a network problem, True Cause Analytics builds and maintains dependency chains of network objects and their linkages. It monitors the changes in object states (i.e., vectors) in each chain, noting and analysing the differences in these states. Entuity 12.5 then determines the true cause of an event cascade/cluster and alerts the administrator.

Entuity 12.5 correctly identified the root cause of all the network errors we threw at it, and it promptly notified us each time.

Entuity’s monitoring, we found, is comprehensive and thorough. It has a sophisticated threshold facility that can easily and precisely express what’s normal – and what’s not – on your network at specific times of the day. We also noted that Entuity does a superior job of managing a network’s performance by accurately and realistically representing and monitoring Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Scalability and performance

Entuity 12.5 scales easily across a growing network. Adding an Entuity server to a new subnet extends Entuity’s reach to that subnet or domain, and Entuity’s federated architecture means that the individual Entuity servers communicate with each other when, for example, you tell it to show open (unresolved) events or tell it to produce a report.

We found that each Entuity server used less than 5% of our network’s bandwidth (in some cases, far less) to monitor each subnet, even when we taxed Entuity by causing multiple concurrent slowdowns and outages for it to detect. Impressively, Entuity 12.5 also used its server computer’s resources frugally, which allowed us to install other applications on that same server. We saw no degradation in performance when, for instance, we additionally used the Entuity server as a file server, Exchange server or Web server.

Ease of use

Via its Web browser interface, Entuity 12.5 has a single console for managing all its functions. You don’t need separate consoles, each with its own user interface and its own idiosyncratic set of skills, to operate Entuity. This simple fact gives Entuity 12.5 a substantial advantage over virtually all other network monitoring products.

The user interface is intuitive, friendly, productive and responsive.

It has meaningful icons, a grasp-at-first-glance view of network objects and pop-up windows for object-specific tasks. It strategically uses multi-level drop-down menus and tabs to organise tasks in a way that aligns perfectly with a network administrator's workflow. Every Entuity operation is within easy reach of just a few mouse clicks.

The web browser interface uses Java and Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), a group of interrelated web development technologies that programmers use to create highly interactive web browser-based applications. We were especially delighted to see that Entuity 12.5 comes with the appropriate Java Runtime Environment (JRE). We didn’t have to rely on Microsoft to supply a JRE with Windows Server 2008, on which Entuity runs.

Entuity makes extensive use of the Ajax multipurpose browser-based framework of tools, widgets, controls and methods. Entuity’s interface offers a rich set of widgets that resemble elements of native desktop applications. For example, it has built-in support for keyboard navigation, focus and tab handling and drag & drop.

The Ajax-based Entuity web browser client and its server component exchange information bi-directionally, with either side initiating the conversation. This communication occurs asynchronously (i.e., in the background), and it’s unrelated to the display and behavior of the current Web page the user sees. Both the Entuity client (the browser window) and the Entuity server update each other in real time.

Reports

Entuity 12.5 includes over 100 predefined reports in several categories:

  • Network Activity
  • Administration
  • Availability
  • Branch Office Perspective
  • CIO Perspective
  • Configuration
  • Connectivity and Routing
  • Green Reports (reports which aid Green IT initiatives)
  • Inventory
  • Planning
  • Services
  • Virtualization

Additionally, you can use Entuity’s Report Builder to create a new report definition.

The following list shows some of the individual predefined reports:

  • SLA Summary – Service Level Agreement compliance
  • Service Availability – Summary of service availability over time
  • Service Delivery Perspective – Overview of the combined availability of all services
  • Service Event History – Chronologically ordered listing of individual services events
  • Service Inventory – Configuration of individual services and sub-services
  • Application Availability – Details of application reachability
  • Device Reachability – Device reachability status
  • Infrastructure Availability – Details of Infrastructure Device reachability and uptime totals and outages
  • Network Delivery Perspective – Summary of availability for services, applications, servers and infrastructure devices
  • Network Delivery Summary – Summary of availability for services, applications, servers and infrastructure devices
  • Port Operational States
  • Outages Report
  • Server Availability – Details of server reachability and uptime totals and outages
  • Uptime Reachability and Reboots – Summary of device uptime, reachability and reboots
  • Hypervisor and Virtual Machine Inventory – Inventory of hypervisors and virtual machines
  • Impact of Virtualization on Access Switches – Switch resource utilization compared to changes in virtual/physical host traffic on switches over time
  • Switch Traffic by Virtual/Physical Mix – Traffic through switches based on the virtual/physical host connections
  • Switches with Connected Hypervisors – Summary of switches and their connected virtualized infrastructure
  • Virtual/Physical Host Traffic Mix Over Time – Daily traffic for connected virtual/physical hosts over time
  • Virtual/Physical Host Traffic Mix by View – Switch traffic for connected virtual/physical hosts listed by view
  • Virtualization Perspective – Daily traffic for connected virtual/physical hosts over time
  • Virtualization Traffic Trends – Trends of switch traffic, resource utilization and connected virtualized infrastructure
  • vSwitch Inventory

Entuity 12.5’s plethora of reports excels at revealing the important information about the network. In our tests, we used these reports to establish baselines, show available and unavailable devices, log device availability histories, produce executive summaries, identify trends and help us spot conditions that could result in future network problems.

We particularly liked the ability, with a few mouse clicks, to group monitored components (such as devices, ports, applications and IP SLA tests) into individual collections (services). For its many service-related reports, Entuity 12.5 then calculated and reported availability (and generated alerts) for each group when service state changes warranted. This was yet another example we found of how Entuity is more flexible and more configurable than most other network monitoring products.

We also appreciated Entuity’s ability to export reports in HTML, PDF, Excel, RTF and comma-separated formats.

Discovery, inventory and topology

Entuity 12.5 accurately discovered our various subnet components.

Gathering information from ICMP ping operations, SNMP queries and other actions, Entuity 12.5 perfectly enumerated our routers, switches, servers and clients. These included, for example, Red Hat Enterprise servers and 3Com OfficeConnect routers. We gave Entuity’s discovery process ranges of IP addresses to define the network, and, in other tests, imported network definitions. After the initial network scan, Entuity thereafter looked for and catalogued new devices on the network using a schedule we specified.

Entuity focuses more on network infrastructure, including servers and connections, and less on client (end user) machines. However, Entuity 12.5 automatically discovered, displayed, maintained, and made available for host location searching all the client machine connections to the access layer switches.

Entuity 12.5 can monitor a myriad of platforms, including Solaris, HP-UX, SCO, AIX and a wide variety of Linux flavors. It discovers and monitors BlackBerry Servers, Lotus Notes, Oracle and other mission-critical applications.

Using either SNMP v1/v2c or SNMP v3, Entuity identified and monitored such diverse platforms, applications and devices as Banyan Vines, Brocade, Checkpoint, Cisco, Compaq, Dell, H-P, Intermec, Legato, Liebert, NetWare, Nokia, Nortel, Lotus Notes, Omnitronix, Sonic, WebSphere and WebLogic.

Entuity 12.5 worked equally well with both IPv4 and IPv6.

Additional remarks

Not every organisation needs the level of network management that Entuity offers. If you have a network with a small number of devices in a single location, and if your business would not suffer greatly from prolonged network downtime, you likely don't need Entuity. Similarly, Entuity may be the wrong choice for those looking for just application performance monitoring or for those who just want to monitor telco-specific equipment.

Entuity 12.5 is without a doubt an enterprise-ready network monitor. It manages multiple locations and diverse divisions. It enables IT organisations to manage their networks proactively. It equips IT staff with automation functionality that lets them spend less time managing the network and more time focusing on other IT initiatives.

Verdict

Entuity 12.5 is a gem. It’s rich in features, utterly reliable, highly scalable and a breeze to use. Entuity 12.5 recognises and monitors just about every sort of network component, it offers sophisticated static/dynamic thresholds, it accurately pinpoints root causes and it produces reports – real-time and historical – that are clear, useful and informative. Entuity 12.5 is without a doubt an enterprise-ready network monitor.

We recommend it without reservation. Your IT organisation would be well-served by taking a close look at the highly capable Entuity 12.5.



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