Performance Management Insights from the Wireshark Roadshow
When I was asked a few months ago to represent SevOne at the Wireshark Roadshow in Germany at the end of March 2011, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It sounded like an interesting event to attend, as my immediate interest was to validate how SevOne complements packet capture and deep packet inspection. Wireshark is heavily focused on packet analysis, and there are products out there, such as WildPackets, that provide expert systems for capturing and analyzing critical packets that can often be just a few out of millions, if not billions.
After gaining more insight into what Wireshark offers and knowing what SevOne provides, a clear theme for my presentation quickly emerged. Packet capture and protocol analysis are great tools when doing deep dive analysis on a problem. However, you need to intelligently direct its placement and usage since it is difficult and very expensive to capture from every device in a network, let alone analyze all that data - it's simply not possible with today's processing and storage offerings and will likely not be in the foreseeable future. In complement to this verbose method of analysis, SevOne provides proactive visibility to learn where in a network problems lie.
SevOne is therefore best positioned as a way to direct the usage of Wireshark, WildPackets and other packet analysis products. SevOne's powerful Performance Management Database collects and alerts on all important parts of the network and once a problem is identified, packet capture offerings will help ultimately identify the cause and aid in finding a solution.
Armed with this insight, I set out to create a presentation and talking points around being proactive in the network. All too often, the only proactive thing in network management is asserting blame on the network for not doing its job - it's time that we change this mindset.
Two interesting observations came out of doing a presentation in Düsseldorf. First, Germany has a number of unique conditions and mindsets that make engineers favor certain monitoring technologies over others. For example, NetFlow, although widely known, is not widely used due to percieved performance concerns. Additionally, legal requirements around data privacy can make it difficult to monitor certain technologies, like the SevOne Cisco Call Manager capability. In order to have a competitive offering in that space, a company must provide a means for ensuring data privacy by making it personally unidentifiable.
The second observation came from doing a technical presentation in the native language of those attending. While I may have been a bit rusty in some of the technical terminology, it greatly aided the confidence of my audience that they could listen to me in German and ask questions in German. I had a few very good conversations and received a number of comments around how professional it was of SevOne to not send an English-only speaking presenter to this show.
What I take away from this roadshow first and foremost is that Germany is a highly technical market that will demand SevOne's attention now that we have it. There is definitely an opportunity to do another Roadshow later this year along with a seminar style speaking engagement around the power of NetFlow and how it proactively - with very little impact - monitors network performance.
Thanks to our excellent hosts, our partner Patrick Petersson of Qonsis Networks (Hexcom) and FastLane, we'll be able to expand on our experience from this show throughout this year.
Manuel Harnisch is a Worldwide Sales Engineer for SevOne.