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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.