Thursday, 21 July 2016 04:03

VIDEO Interview: SolarWinds CTO, Joe Kim, talks Network Performance Monitor 12 and more

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SolarWinds says it is the first to offer visibility into the performance of your servers and services across your networks and those of your service providers and cloud vendors, too – bridging the gap.

SolarWinds bills itself as a "leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software", and we’ve covered the company on many occasions here at iTWire.

My last article on SolarWinds looked at the company’s IT Trends Report 2016, and featured a video interview with one of its "head geeks", Kong Yang, which you can see here

That article has links to two other video interviews I conducted with visiting SolarWinds executives, and today’s article is no exception!

Before I get to the latest video interview, conducted with SolarWinds’ chief technology officer, Joe Kim, it’s important to remember that last month, SolarWinds introduced its new Network Performance Monitor 12 (NPM 12) software, with "NetPath" and "Network Insight" components, designed to "deliver visibility across the entire application delivery path – on-premises and in the cloud".

NetPath and Network Insight are two "new capabilities that give network administrators the hybrid IT visual insights and analysis needed for visibility into the performance of services across not only the networks they own but those of their service providers and cloud vendors as well".

The company says these innovations "empower IT professionals to provide the application performance end users expect and businesses need in today’s on-demand environments".

The company refers to its recent SolarWinds IT Trends Report — a video discussion with Kong Yang is linked to above  and notes that "92% of Australian organisations have migrated some infrastructure to the cloud, yet 61% state they will likely never transition all services offsite, making hybrid IT the reality for the foreseeable future".

The company also notes that "in such complex hybrid IT environments, network administrators need the ability to view the performance details of and pinpoint bottlenecks on all the networks connecting critical services and applications, whether they be on-premises or in the cloud".

Before we go on, here is my video interview with Kim, who talked about the release of NPM 12 and the unique benefits it delivers hybrid cloud-connected businesses. The article continues thereafter, please read on!

In the video, I introduced Kim, asked him to remind us what SolarWinds offers to its customers, and to tell us a little about his history in the world of tech.

I asked why Kim was visiting Australia and we spoke about the hybrid IT model, followed by the challenges that IT departments are facing in Australia and globally.

We talked about security, about NPM 12, about how the industry could look in a decade, great advice that Kim had received, and his final video message to viewers and readers, and to SolarWinds’ current and future customers.

So, what else does SolarWinds have to say about its recent NPM 12 launch?

The company proudly boasts that its NetPath component makes SolarWinds NPM 12 "the only network monitoring software that visually maps hybrid network paths alongside on-premises data".

The example given is that "NetPath gives IT professionals whose organisations use cloud-based applications such as Salesforce the ability to identify the exact location of a performance issue  whether on the internal LAN, with a WAN provider or on the cloud application vendor’s own network — and provides actionable insights for resolution".

Here are some specific NetPath features:

  • Dynamic and visual hop-by-hop analysis of critical paths and devices along the entire network delivery path – on-premises, in the cloud or across hybrid IT environments.
  • Specific, actionable information to resolve network issues regardless of network ownership.
  • Automatic and dynamic thresholds to identify unhealthy critical paths and network nodes, providing an estimated 50% faster time to resolution.
  • Visualised critical path performance over time for historical views of network latency.
  • Identification of device configuration changes along critical paths when integrated with SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager.
  • Immediate insight into the traffic travelling across flow-enabled devices impacting network performance when integrated with SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer.

The company notes that while NetPath provides breadth of visibility, "Network Insight provides depth by enabling comprehensive monitoring of load balancing environments that empowers IT professionals with deeper network intelligence, including dynamic and visual insight into the performance of applications and service delivery".

Here are some specific Network Insight features:

  • Visualisation of entire load-balancing environments.
  • Graphical display of relationships and component status.
  • Visualisation of component details in a single console.

SolarWinds states that "Network Insight is currently available for F5 BIG-IP environments, with support for additional appliances expected in future releases".

Christoph Pfister, executive vice-president of products, SolarWinds, said: “Applications, whether on-premises or in the cloud, are the heart of business, but they’re useless without the networks that connect them to end users.

“Until now, the capabilities to monitor the performance of those networks regardless of ownership were impossible within a single tool – traceroute tools are typically blocked from accessing service provider networks, and cloud monitoring tools don’t have adequate visibility into on-premises infrastructure performance.

“With NetPath and Network Insight, SolarWinds NPM 12 is delivering the dynamic visibility and actionable insights IT professionals need to effectively manage all the networks impacting the applications their organisations rely on in a hybrid IT world every node, every path, every network.”

Joshua Biggley, engineer, enterprise applications, Cardinal Health, said: “SolarWinds NPM is the foundation of the monitoring service we deliver to our geographically distributed enterprise.

“The out-of-the-box simplicity means that monitoring CPU, memory, volumes and interfaces, whether physical or virtual, is easy. With NPM 12 delivering functionality like the expanded support for F5 load balancers and switch stack monitoring, we’re ready to deliver better visibility into our global network.

“The introduction of NetPath is literally turning our monitoring service on its head. As we push more infrastructure to the cloud as well as both SaaS and PaaS solutions, NetPath will give us the insights we need to see connectivity performance from our network to the outside world, and from regionally distributed monitoring points into our datacenter-hosted services.”

Allistair Griffith, NOC administrator, FLOW Jamaica, said: “Network monitoring that provides simplicity and intuitive visualisation of our entire network, even the critical paths that involve a cloud service provider; quick time to resolution; and not needing an army of engineers to maintain is very important to us.

“SolarWinds NPM 12 provides just that, and in a package that will scale with us as we continue to grow. SolarWinds NPM with NetPath and Network Insight is a game-changer.”

Shamus McGillicuddy, senior analyst, Enterprise Management Associates said: “NetPath helps solve one of the network manager’s most pressing needs: end-to-end network visibility on-premises, in the cloud or across hybrid networks.”

Pricing and Availability

SolarWinds NPM pricing starts at US$2895, which is A$3900, including the first year of maintenance.

Here are three videos produced by the company with more information:

1st video:

 

2nd video:

 

Third video: 

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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