NetScout Pushes Forward After Network General Buy

NetScout looks to keep momentum going with quick product updates following the close of its acquisition of Network General in 2007.

NetScout Systems is trying to keep the momentum going following its acquisition of Network General late in 2007, by quickly updating products from both portfolios.

On the heels of its fiscal 2008 third-quarter earnings report issued Feb. 4, which saw a revenue jump of 127 percent from the third quarter of 2007 and a 103 percent gain over its second fiscal 2008 quarter, NetScout is pushing out new releases of the former Network General's Network Intelligence Suite as well as its own nGenius Application Performance Monitor and nGenius Performance Manager.

Although officials feared that the acquisition would slow momentum, NetScout was encouraged to see revenues jump to $53.7 million in the quarter that ran from October through December, and the company expects revenues for the full fiscal year to be in the range of $260 million to $270 million.

More importantly, NetScout has begun to put its integration road map in place and expects the first product integrations to be ready by midyear. At the same time, joint customers are pleased with the combination, said Evelyn Hubbert, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"The motion most customers have made is to take [their] hand[s] and slap [their] forehead[s] and say loudly, 'Finally,'" Hubbert said.

She agreed that NetScout has not lost momentum and that the combined entity can compete more aggressively against competitors such as Fluke Networks.

In the latest release of Network Intelligence Suite, unveiled Feb. 11, NetScout enhanced the ability of the suite to analyze VOIP (voice over IP) call traffic. The suite, which provides analysis from traffic statistics gathered by the Network General InfiniStream probes, can now examine quality indicators for VOIP traffic activity.

"We've added views to easily track the total number of calls, [and] we can look at an individual's call history and quality service metrics like jitter and latency, and then show that over time to look for potential issues with changes in key quality indicators," said Jim Frey, vice president of marketing for NetScout.

The VOIP support also provides a view of aggregate call volume.

In its own nGenius Application Fabric Monitor, NetScout added the ability to selectively record which packets are sent to the monitor's console for forensic analysis. The Application Fabric Monitor captures application traffic to disk for troubleshooting problems after they happen.

The new selective recording helps IT shops better comply with regulations such as the financial service industry's PCI rules or the healthcare industry's HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations and still be able to troubleshoot problems.

"You can capture information about what's traveling across the network, such as who's talking to whom, but not credit card information," Frey said.

Selective recording also allows users to be more efficient in how captured data is streamed to disk by reducing the volume of data stored.

NetScout in its nGenius Performance Manager added new analysis views, including a link analysis view that allows operators to click on diagnostic screens that display information on network activity at the time of a traffic spike. The usability enhancements also include a capacity planning view, link utilization, and alarm and threshold overlays that bring greater perspective to troubleshooting.