Fluke Networks unveils V8 of Network Time Machine
Everett Wash. based- Fluke Networks has released Version 8 of its Network Time Machine (NTM) product. While it’s available as a patch for existing customers, it can also be bought as a new rack-mount or portable unit.

The NTM, like other products in the network recorder, forensic, or stream-to-disk appliances family, “attaches to critical links in your networks and, essentially, takes copies of the packets that are flowing by and streams them onto a disk array,” Dan Klimke, marketing manager of network monitoring, analysis and troubleshooting at Fluke Networks said.

Klimke says the NTM “allows the network engineer to go back in time to extract those packets and discover what was going on at that particular time,” and figure out what caused a disruption of service.

This is all well and good, but that is NTM’s core competency and it did all that before the update. What Version 8 adds and what most distinguishes NTM from its competitors is visibility. Klimke says a network monitoring solution is only as useful as the speed with which you can grasp the data.

Zeus Kerravala, senior vice-president at Boston Mass. based-Yankee Group Research Inc., agrees that “visibility is important. When people ask me what they need to do to prepare their networks for the onslaught of virtualization and consumer devices, ‘know your network’ is the biggest piece of advice I give.”

Sometimes finding the problem in your network is the hardest, and often most time-consuming part, Kerravala said. “From the research I’ve done, I believe about 90 per cent of the time solving problems is actually (spent) trying to identify the problem.”
In Version 8, when a user is navigating through the new dashboards, Klimke says “they literally show, graphically, where slowdowns are occurring.”

It’s called the ‘instant visual fault isolation’ and Klimke says it’s a pane which quickly answers the age-old IT question: Is it the network or the server?

Kerravala says this can cut down on what he calls, “resolution ping-pong.”

“When you really don’t know where the problem is, nobody wants to own it, so it gets passed back and forth between the different teams. Being able to identify where that problem is allows the problem resolution to start much faster than the traditional tools,” he said.

Klimke said being able to drill down from a top view, and locate problems quickly and easily, will save money and time as well as drastically reduce server downtime. Not to mention the fact that “the high-end product is independently certified for being able to stream in excess of 10 gigabits per second onto the drive without losing any packets.”

Kerravala said the update was a surprise, since it allows less tech-savvy users to see what’s going on in their networks. “It’s good to see Fluke, who’s traditionally been a tool of the really hardcore network user, understand the trend here and make a simpler interface to use to be able to address some of these emerging challenges,” he said.

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