Network Instruments Observer Suite 14 review

Network Instrument’s Observer celebrates its 15th year and in this review we find out why this network monitoring and troubleshooting software has lasted where many others have faded away.

observer suite 14 thumb
Price
£3,995

Introduced 15 years ago, Observer was one of the first software-only network analysis products. At the time it bucked the trend as its sensible price tag made it highly affordable for smaller businesses.

This still holds true today but the features on offer are now if anything even more impressive as Observer delivers a full network analysis toolbox that rivals many more costly alternatives.

The Standard version offers all the key core components including network discovery, real-time traffic analysis, packet capture, decoding and network trending. The Expert version brings in advanced trending, VoIP analysis, data stream reconstruction and expert analysis tools for applications and servers.

1

The main interface can get busy but Observer is clearly capable of providing a wealth of network information.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Observer Suite on review ties everything together and augments them with support for SNMP and RMON, the new auto-baselining feature and extra web reports. The majority of other new features are aimed at larger businesses and include application transaction analysis, full support for ATM and better integration with NetFlow.

Installation is a swift affair and you can start monitoring your network immediately. Observer uses a combination of local and optional remote probes and you can also add SNMP and RMON devices such as switches and access them directly to view utilisation data.

The network discovery routine finds all devices on the monitored subnets and makes this list available to all Observer tools. General network usage can be checked using a choice selection of statistical tools so you can easily view general bandwidth utilisation, protocol distribution, errors and router activity.

2

Packet capturing can be scheduled or started manually and the buffers saved for further analysis.

Network gluttons can be spotted immediately with the Top Talkers window. This shows all devices and the amount of bandwidth they're gobbling up and each device is accompanied by a breakdown of their traffic in packets, bytes and overall utilisation.

Observer's packet capture and decoding tools are first rate and you can start manual capture sessions from the main menu or directly from a selected device in any of the statistics screens. Scheduled capture sessions can be run at regular intervals and the buffers stored locally.

Featured Resources

How inkjet can transform your business

Get more out of your business by investing in the right printing technology

Download now

Journey to a modern workplace with Office 365: which tools and when?

A guide to how Office 365 builds a modern workplace

Download now

Modernise and transform your sales organisation

Learn how a modernised sales process can drive your business

Download now

Your guide to managing cloud transformation risk

Realise the benefits. Mitigate the risks

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/cloud/cloud-computing/354767/google-cloud-snaps-up-multi-cloud-analytics-platform-for-26bn
cloud computing

Google Cloud snaps up multi-cloud analytics platform for $2.6bn

13 Feb 2020
Visit/mobile/28299/how-to-use-chromecast-without-wi-fi
Mobile

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020
Visit/cloud/microsoft-azure/354771/microsoft-azure-is-a-testament-to-satya-nadellas-strategic-nouse
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a testament to Satya Nadella’s strategic nouse

14 Feb 2020
Visit/operating-systems/27717/how-to-fix-a-stuck-windows-10-update
operating systems

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

12 Feb 2020