What’s New in Packet Analyzer Plus?



All the talk about the recently launched SteelCentral AppResponse 11 combined application and network performance management solution could leave one wondering what about SteelCentral Packet Analyzer? Fortunately Packet Analyzer has not been left out of the revamping process and just like AppResponse 9 and NetShark 10 have undergone major improvements during their refactoring Packet Analyzer has been given much the same treatment.

With AppResponse 11 comes a new version of Packet Analyzer: SteelCentral Packet Analyzer Plus. While the name may sound familiar, the product is a huge leap beyond what the previous Packet Analyzer solution was capable of doing.

To start with there is how they interact with the AppResponse 9, NetShark 10, and AppResponse 11 products. To put it succinctly:

  • SteelCentral Packet Analyzer works with NetShark and with the NetShark module of AppResponse 9
  • SteelCentral Packet Analyzer Plus works with AppResponse 11

Those of you who own Packet Analyzer licenses may be thinking to yourselves, ‘great so now I have to buy new licenses and remove Packet Analyzer so I can install Packet Analyzer Plus.’ To that I have some great news Riverbed is working on plans to ensure that Packet Analyzer customers upgrading to AppResponse 11 will receive matching Packet Analyzer Plus licenses without requiring a revenue transaction.

If you are concerned about having to remove Packet Analyzer so you can install Packet Analyzer Plus, there is further good news. Packet Analyzer and Packet Analyzer Plus can coexist on the same system. We are all about not obsolescing your existing equipment. Run Packet Analyzer as long as you have NetShark version 10 and AppResponse 9 and put Packet Analyzer Plus on your system as you begin to move to AppResponse 11. You only have to remove Packet Analyzer when you have completed your migration to AppResponse 11 – and even then it is really up to you.

So that takes care of the licensing and co-existence questions. Now let’s get to the elephant sitting in the middle of this post. What does Packet Analyzer Plus do for me? Well it does a bunch of things. First it allows you to talk with AppResponse 11 from your desktop—something you cannot do with Packet Analyzer. But even more than that, Packet Analyzer Plus introduces the following new features (we’ll get to improvements in a moment):

  • Create, modify, start, stop and delete capture jobs on AppResponse 11 directly from Packet Analyzer Plus
  • Support for views specific to:
    • Application Stream Analysis (ASA)—Provides real-time information on how users are experiencing applications. ASA enables you to:
      • Measure responsiveness and performance of your applications for internal and external users
      • Break down application response time into contributing sources and launch deep troubleshooting to identify root causes of problems
      • Analyze traffic and response time among servers to manage multi-tier applications
  • Web Transaction Analysis (WTA)—WTA provides in depth analysis of entire web pages. While many products can tell you what happens to one or some of the many distinct elements that make up a web page WTA has the ability to stitch together all these different components. This allows AppResponse 11 to give you a detailed view of what the entire page experience was like for a user. WTA enables you to:
    • Automatically discover URL’s, page families, and end-user activity
    • Computes response time for web pages for user level end user experience
    • Detect abnormal web transaction performance

I’d like to say the next list is going to be a comprehensive list of all the improvements in Packet Analyzer Plus but there simply isn’t enough space on this blog to share the complete list. Instead here are a few of the more exciting things that are being improved:

  • Policies and Alerts have been redesigned and are consistent across Packet Analyzer Plus and AppResponse 11.
  • Role-Based Access Control support to allow finer grain control of what different users can do.
  • ‘Tags’ have been added to search to make finding the View you want easier and faster.

The user interface has been redesigned to reflect the current Microsoft operating system styles. So there you have it. A quick look at some of the new features and changes that have been introduced in Packet Analyzer Plus.

Find out more about AppResponse 11 here.


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