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SteelCentral NetIM 2.0 Advances Horizontal Scale and Performance

Heidi Gabrielson
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Super-duty trucks are amazing. On one hand, they offer the most hauling and towing capacity of any non-commercial vehicle. On the other, they look great and have grown so comfortable you can take them on long drives—preferably with some fun toys behind it.

What makes them so great is their big V-8 diesels, near-indestructible engineering, spacious cabs, and the capacity to move stuff from one place to another without breaking a sweat.

SteelCentral NetIM 2.0 is in many ways like a super-duty truck. It scales to super-duty truck sizes, and performs like it has a V8 engine, although I hear this is due primarily to the adoption of a more modern containerized microservices approach that lets you do all the heavy lifting with ease. The polling is fault tolerant (think near-indestructible engineering), and it is multi-tenant (i.e., spacious cab).

Let me explain what I mean using this picture below to help.

New SteelCentral NetIM modern, containerized architecture.

New SteelCentral NetIM modern, containerized architecture.

SteelCentral NetIM 2.0 has been totally redesigned using a modern containerized architecture that provides scalability, performance, and cloud deployment. NetIM 2.0 is now installed on three separate VMs. This new design allows you to separate each of the main components into their own containers for better performance and scale:

  1. Analytics and visualization is on the first VM.
  2. The Cassandra big-data database and the Kafka messaging stream and other critical services run on the second VM.
  3. We decoupled anything to do with metrics collection into its own VM, so the Pollers, alerting and health monitoring are on the third VM.
  4. For large deployments you can easily spin up additional VMs for more polling and horizontally scale out your instance.

V8-like performance

Performance is due to many factors incorporated in the new NetIM 2.0 architecture.

  1. The key performance contributor is the ability to decouple and containerize various components and services of NetIM and run them independently as microservices in different containers. This allows each NetIM component/service to perform much better as there is no need to share the underlying system specs of a single VM. This is unlike a monolithic engine architecture where you run all components on the same VM and share the underlying system specs. This creates contention between all components, especially when you increase the load. In the case of NetIM 2.0, all three VMs have their own system specs, resulting in significantly better overall performance.
  2. The Kafka Message Stream is fast. Kafka is a distributed stream processing platform that provides a unified, high-throughput, low-latency platform for handling real-time data feeds. Its storage layer is essentially a massively scalable publish/subscribe message queue designed as a distributed transaction log. This makes it highly valuable to NetIM to process streaming data. In this case, performance data is constantly streamed on the message bus so whatever needs the data can participate in the stream. Kafka makes things noticeably faster now.

Scalability and fault tolerant

NetIM 2.0 is also leaps and bounds more scalable and, at the same time, reliable. For instance, the system lets you assign multiple Pollers (which are simply microservices) and load balance all the polling across these Pollers. If any Poller goes down, the system will automatically rebalance the load on other Pollers, making it fault tolerant and highly scalable.

Value of greater scalability

Today’s infrastructure monitoring has greater value if you capture all metrics, on all devices/interfaces, at all times. Having a limited number of metrics on a limited set of interfaces/devices creates gaps in your infrastructure monitoring. Every tool has scalability limits that forces the user to filter interfaces, devices and metrics that results in monitoring gaps. NetIM 2.0’s new scalable architecture can be used to capture all metrics, on all interfaces continuously. The use of big data technologies like Cassandra allows NetIM to persist the captured data for all metrics and interfaces without creating any monitoring gaps.

Multi-tenant

NetIM 2.0 is also tenant-aware. This enables partners, MSPs, etc. to offer NetIM as a multi-tenant service with centralized administration and secure data for multiple clients at the same time.

Advanced reporting

SteelCentral NetIM 2.0 offers a modern and scalable reporting interface.

SteelCentral NetIM 2.0 offers a modern and scalable reporting interface.

This release also adds a modern and scalable reporting interface for simplifying how you generate and view reports. Previously, we offered inventory and configuration reports. Now, we also offer metrics reports. These performance summary reports let you choose from a variety of selection criteria, including Top-N/Bottom-N, element type, metric class and metric, statistic, and reporting time period.

Redesigned network browser

Finally, there is a new, clean and streamlined network browser that delivers a hierarchical tree view of navigation and an easy and powerful search of the browser. This new browser allows you to easily explore object properties and details, effortlessly navigate among all devices, interfaces, and links, and quickly understand an object’s health using color-coded indicators.

New streamlined network browser delivers hierarchical tree view of navigation.

New streamlined network browser delivers hierarchical tree view of navigation.

SteelCentral NetIM 2.0 is your super-duty truck of the ITIM world. It scales, it performs, and it’s easy to use. And just like everyone should have a truck in the family, everyone should have NetIM in their IT Ops arsenal.

Learn more about NetIM from the links below.

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