NetScout recently held its Customer Event: Engage19 in Nashville TN. Situated in the Opryland hotel (now called the Gaylord Opryland), there were approximately 800 attendees from over 350 companies coming to hear about the latest from NETSCOUT, meet with key executives, and learn from technical experts.
The theme for this year’s event was “Visibility Without Borders” and it kicked off a significant marketing campaign in the Wall Street Journal and other publications meant to raise the visibility level and awareness of NETSCOUT and its solutions. Anil Singhal, NETSCOUT CEO, referred to the current version of the company as its fourth iteration or NETSCOUT as 4.0. This is not just the result of acquiring the Danaher technologies, Tektronix, Arbor, and Fluke, but rather represents the fact that NETSCOUT has now integrated the technology core to the future direction (Tektronix and Arbor) and jettisoned the pieces that were not a strategic fit (i.e., Fluke). The result is a platform that enables enterprises and service providers to get greater visibility across the data center, cloud, and edge. NETSCOUT will continue to be the dominant brand as one might expect, with sub-brands including nGenius (service assurance) and Arbor (security). However, as noted above, Anil repeatedly discussed how the integration of these technologies would provide a 1+1=3 approach, and they continue to integrate the technologies into a single platform.
Most attend these events looking to hear about what is new and exciting. In his keynote Anil touched upon updates and integrations across the entire enterprise and service provider product line and some of the highlights are:
- The importance of ASI Smart Data to provide the underlying intelligence to power big data, machine learning, and AI. There is a tremendous amount of data on the wire, and so the key is providing the right data, at the right time, which NETSCOUT refers to as smart data. The goal is to provide the right data to the appropriate tools for location-based services or real-time offer management, etc.
- Easier and open access to the smart data through Restful APIs (Kafka). Instead of trying to build every type of report for every department in every organization, NETSCOUT has opened up access to this smart data so organizations can now leverage APIs to collect the specific data they want.
- Generating a synthetic feed for smart data with nGenius Pulse. To enable organizations to become proactive, nGenius Pulse generates synthetic transactions to proactively alert users when a location or service it is testing goes down. This enables the operations team to potentially find and fix issues before users call to report an outage. Combined with the collection of wire data, this provides greater visibility and awareness for enterprise and telco environments.
- Integrating security data to the nGenius Platform. NETSCOUT has integrated a data feed from ATLAS (sees 1/3 of all Internet traffic) to provide enriched intelligence. This will provide additional insights to the organization. Along those security lines, Anil mentioned Smart DDoS and the ability to provide mitigation without borders as well.
- Flexible consumption models as NETSCOUT continues its transition to a SW company. They will still provide the option to purchase complete appliance-based solutions, but also have options for certified or COTS solutions. Both appliance and certified hardware models come with full support for SW and HW, while the COTS models only have SW support from NETSCOUT.
NETSCOUT also assembled a customer panel consisting of enterprise and service providers to highlight the progress and challenges these organizations faced with digital transformation efforts and adoption of new technologies. Some of the observations included how difficult it is to transform an environment without making additional investments in IT and ensuring visibility in an increasingly complex environment that is becoming more dynamic through virtualization, containers, and microservices architectures. Carriers are contending with the transition to 5G technologies as well. Analogies of “changing the wheels on the car while driving” or “replacing the engines on the jet while flying” were heard numerous times. In many cases, it was just about having the visibility into the environment as a starting point.
Ultimately, all of the customers were trying to provide a better experience and explain how the bar has been raised. It is no longer enough to provide a better experience than your closest competitors. Now organizations have to provide a better experience than one provided by Amazon or Google.NETSCOUT has been working diligently to integrate acquired technologies and build out new capabilities into its platform over the last three years. It recognizes the new challenges facing its customer base (the Guardians of the Connected World) and is putting forth a compelling solution to enable enterprises and service providers to have visibility across highly distributed environments (i.e., without borders) and ensure better customer experiences.