By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2004-07-26 Print this article Print

Our tests show that BMCs Patrol Visualis 1.4 is quite suitable for assessing the basic fitness of a network for data and voice traffic. While Visualis 1.4 and the other tools we looked at likely wont provide every metric needed to tune up a network to carry, for example, voice, the BMC product provided enough detail for us to make educated configuration guesses.

During tests, BMCs Patrol Visualis 1.4 provided the best network discovery with the least amount of prompting of all the tools we evaluated. Our test network had several segments that simulated a WAN connection using two Cisco routers wired back-to-back. Patrol Visualis 1.4 was the first product to traverse the WAN cloud and then correctly inventory the switches and user devices.

Patrol Visualis 1.4 also gives HPs Network Node Manager a run for its money when it comes to add-in components and third-party measurement tools.

eWEEK Labs tests focused on the products basic functionality, however, and Patrol Visualis 1.4 did well in that regard. We were able to detect our SNMP-enabled routers and user systems with less configuration work than the other products required. For example, we could add to a list of community strings that we use to protect the SNMP information on our routers. Visualis 1.4 simply went through the list of community strings until it found the correct one for the detected device. While this is by no means a new feature in network management tools, the implementation in Visualis 1.4 is elegant.

We appreciated the amount of information we were able to get via Patrol Visualis from Cisco devices that supported the NetFlow data collection feature. We used information about the amount of traffic flowing over our network to make judgments about, for example, the relative impact of adding QOS (quality of service) to routers to support delay-sensitive VOIP traffic. We were also able to gain insight into the applications that would likely cause the most trouble for voice traffic carried over the data network.

Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at csturdevant@eweek.com.

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