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Visibility, Visibility and More Visibility (by Tim O'Neill)

Tim_oneillEditor Profile - Tim O’Neill is an independent technology consultant. He has over 30 years experience working in the WAN, Analog, ISDN, ATM and LAN test market. Tim has worked with companies like Navtel, Network General, Ganymede and ClearSight Networks and is now helping companies get lab recognition and technology verification. Tim is also the Chief Contributing Editor for, a website designed to help network managers gain access to valuable information and real solution stories from other customers. Tim is a patent holding, published and degreed engineer, who has seen this technology grow from Teletype (current loop) data analysis to today’s 10 Gigabit LAN’s focused on business applications with heavy compliance demands. Tim can be reached at oldcommguy (at) bellsouth (dot) net.

For best viewing experience, maximize the following slideshow in full-screen mode by clicking on the 2nd bottom icon from the right and pause whenever appropriate.

“Visibility, Visibility, Visibility and More” is and MUST be the mantra for today’s network managers. They really need easy and focusable (filterable) access to the network and its precious cargo – data packets for Compliance, Security, Monitoring and Analysis needs. Most of you have made significant tool investments and now must get more out of them to support your networks growth in speed, complexity and criticality to corporate success. As networks and their usage get more complex you must be able to focus not only your tools, but your attention to the most critical and problematic areas of the network. You must be able to easily and quickly switch that view without disturbing the network or the other tools that are in usage! How can you do this?

Fact – Networks are getting more complex so companies must use many different tools to effectively manage and protect their network. You must have full and deep access to the important cargo it carries that can mean the success or failure of your corporation!

Every Network Manager has many tools including:

  • tools for monitoring packets and connections, devices like Wireshark with CACE Technologies Gigabit card solution,
  • security tools for monitoring malware, intrusions, vulnerability scanners and misusage,
  • tools for Netflow, SNMP, application centric (could be many tools with different application focuses), servers, routers (including config recorders like Pancho), mapping, traffic, change monitors, event loggers
  • full Bandwidth packet deep capture devices like SoleraNetworks,
  • and the list goes on…..

To add to this challenge, we must also have tool access to different places in the network so we can deepen the view for better monitoring and analysis. This is difficult due to both budget constraints and shortages of TAP and SPAN ports.

Also most tools have limited bandwidth so they cannot swallow the entire iceberg or data flow, so we need to hand these tools only the data that they need to monitor and at a rate they can handle. Filtering is also critical in today’s world of compliance since we must be very sensitive to data access. With CALEA and audits, it is necessary to show how access to the most sensitive data is limited to prevent misusage or theft.

This is no simple task, yet it is vital to the Network Managers and his corporate success.

How do you do this and what key things should one look for?

If you want to manage and monitor your network for all the reasons above, and this should be a very high priority, you MUST have a complete access solution and this access must have at least three (3) main ingredients -

  1. Simplify your View of the Network while expanding and deepening your view - Without Visibility it is very hard, if not impossible, to monitor, manage, secure and troubleshoot your network!
  2. Optimize your Tool Investment - It must be able to allow you to cost effectively deploy as many tools as needed to support your monitoring, security and compliance requirements.
  3. Provide a Productivity Solution for you Entire Staff - The Access technology MUST be able to be easily used by anyone in your Team. The access setup and filtering must be easy to understand and proven setups/filters must be able to be saved for future usage to prevent the wasted time of redesigning the needed access and filtering every time. Furthermore the interface or GUI must be able to be understood by any technician with little or no training - what port, to what tool or tools and the filters that have been applied.

Anue_systemsHaving said that there are three (3) key requirements for a Visibility Solution, I have been allowed to play with a solution that has without any question in my mind met and exceeded all the Key Ingredients above. The solution is from a well established and technology focused company - ANUE Systems.

As most of you know I like to talk about companies that really focus on viable solutions for you, the readers who are real world Network Managers and Analysts. I also like to introduce our readers to companies that really listened to the industry. The Team at ANUE Systems has proven that they listen with their new release 2.0 which has just been announced.

I like simple solutions because we all have had to memorize how to operate so many different things that they sometimes seem to run together and often most of the knowledge is stored in only well established Team members heads. In today’s world we have to make do with smaller Teams, yet still support more security, compliance, users, and business/networking demands. Having a solution that allows you to use all your already known and mastered tools (paid for), with easy operation and a vast and powerful filtering technology is an essential requirement in meeting all your network goals.

I suggest that you check out the ANUE Systems Net Tool Optimizer and ask for a live or on site demonstration and hold on to your hat as you see how the ANUE solution will allow you to easily see the ice berg as small cubes without destroying, changing or affecting the data. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to deploy another tool for more or specialized visibility to a monitored link.

Now you can do it with a mouse click and drag. How many times have you wanted to use an Open Source tool or see a demo of a new tool but the setup seemed to take forever, trying to span a port or break a line or even have to use it at an end point when you really wanted to see it on the core…this solution makes these requirement finally possible and very easy!


Starting from a technical view, the Anue Net Tool Optimizer is the most advanced visibility solution for all your network monitoring and analysis needs to10 Gig FDX. You will be amazed, as I was at the simplicity of using and reviewing how filters are set. They have created the deepest and broadest dynamic filtering ability including a Boolean capability that is unmatched today. The Anue Solution also can use the same frames through several filters and with the advanced Boolean filtering there is little one can not do when filtering for monitoring or analysis.

You can look for a specific frame or part therein within a VLAN or any flow with a simple point and click, than implement Boolean operators like – AND , OR for deeper subset analysis. ANUE is the only solution that has Boolean capability and can use the same flow of packets for deep subset visibility! The ANUE solution can be deployed in minutes with no training. I was able to setup and change access to 4 tools with Boolean filters on VLAN’s in less than 3 minutes on my first usage, try that with a CLI.

You can add comments to filters, instructions on usage, store, copy, and load and reuse them. Additionally, many users can be utilizing the system at the same time (See attached slides with GUI pictures and Industry leaders quotes). You can even add in icons for all of your ports and filters for better understanding of the connections. Each filter has a complete statistic view so you can optimize the filters to get the most out of your tools without having to buy more.

The Anue Net Tool Optimizer works with SPAN or TAP access and any tool available today from Open Source to the most expensive commercial products. Future upgrades or turning on additional ports can be done remotely; it does not get much easier! I look for even more innovations from Anue Systems in the coming months…check them out!

If you are interested in learning more about the viability of using SPAN Access versus TAP Access read –

Just remember – “Simplicity is the ultimate goal of Technology” and I feel Anue Systems’ Net Tool Optimizer is a perfect example of a company going the extra distance to make a technically valid, dynamic and extensible solution available for all users, not just a few.

Be sure to read the review slides from some of the Top Network and Training Analyst on this new and advanced visibility solution along with pictures of the simple yet very powerful GUI.

Visibility is a necessity and the demand is growing as we enter into the most demanding convergence era ever; Compliance, both lawful and libelous, Security and Business Networking are merging as one plane and need one full plane of Access – Visibility!

I wish you Great Success with less stress!...My Best Oldcommguy™

Continue reading other Editorial posts by Tim O'Neill »