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Top network monitoring software and visibility tools

Brandon Butler | July 28, 2017
If you need to know what’s happening in your network, these are the tools to use



This Irish-based company is focused squarely on performance management, and has traditionally targeted its products at large financial services companies. One of the strengths of the product, Gartner says, short-time network monitoring, which is ideal for monitoring a large amount of activity happening at the same time. This has appealed to financial service customers and is ideal for Internet of Things use cases that can generate spikes in network traffic. Gartner also notes that Corvil’s hardware-agnostic, software-only platform presents a relatively unique model in this industry.



Seattle-based ExtraHop specializes in providing tools that help customers analyze IT operations and the health of their overall IT environment. Included in this scope are products geared specifically at monitoring and analyzing network behavior. Gartner says ExtraHop was one of the first companies to provide network visibility into public cloud providers like AWS and Azure. Gartner notes that often ExtraHop’s NPMD products are purchased with other ExtraHop IT operations tools, but rarely are they used as standalone NPMD products.



This Palo Alto-based venture-backed startup founded in 2007 is a close partner of Cisco’s that in recent years has built out a relatively full-featured network visibility and analytics product named LiveNX. Cisco resells LiveNX and offers support to mutual customers. LiveAction has another end user experience monitoring product named LiveUX. LiveAction’s products integrate closely with Cisco’s Nexus and Catalyst product lines. It also offers support for SD-WAN deployments and public cloud environments such as AWS and Azure. For non-Cisco environments, the company has a packet inspection component that can be installed to collect information. LiveAction received a $36 million Series B funding round in 2016, which included support from Cisco Investments.



Gartner says that NetScout is the market share leader in network performance and visibility and lists the company in the “leaders” category of its Magic Quadrant. The company has a broad array of network monitoring products, including the nGeniusONE, Infinistream and UC Performance Management offerings. NetScout is one of the leading vendors for monitoring tools for hyperscale data centers, with its products supporting 40G and 100G Ethernet line rates.



This German infrastructure monitoring software company in recent years has made an aggressive push to expand internationally and it has successfully done so with North America now representing its largest market. The company appeals mostly to mid-market and small and medium businesses, Gartner says, because it prioritizes simplified ease of use in its products. It releases a steady stream of new features and functionality on its platform too though, including recently adding monitoring for public cloud networks and more recently Docker containers.



Riverbed’s primary focus is on WAN optimization, but it has in recent years built out its network performance monitoring capabilities, including its SteelCentral Network Performance Management product line. Many of Riverbed’s network monitoring products are closely integrated with the company’s adjacent application performance management products. Last year Riverbed also bought Ocedo to enter the SD-WAN market.


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