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Enterprise Examination

Firm realizes savings by employing enterprise-wide network troubleshooting from Network Physics.

The pumpkin pie isn't even on the table, but CDC IXIS North America, a New York City-based firm with $33 billion in assets under management, is already giving thanks to Network Physics for helping them clean up network problems.

CDC IXIS recently implemented NP-1000, a flow-based appliance designed to monitor network, server and application performance across an organization.

As a firm that has recently experienced significant growth, CDC IXIS was concerned with potential capacity issues as well as branch management and communication, explains Henry Yiin, who manages network administration at the New York City office, the firm's central data-management point for many global applications.

Yiin rationalizes that the health of the network is of dire importance at a financial firm. "If the network failed or shut down for a few seconds during a trade or transaction, that trade may fail or end up losing a lot of money," he says.

The firm was granted permission for a network upgrade, Yiin says, during which time CDC IXIS implemented a new Cisco network. However, Yiin was also interested in a third-party vendor application for network troubleshooting.

"Even after the upgrade, we were experiencing problems. Some applications run slow, don't run at all, or stop working suddenly," Yiin notes. "If we can't come to the conclusion about where the problem comes from, we spend a lot of time troubleshooting, collecting information and data."

While a network-monitoring application could have been built in-house, Yiin says, the amount of customization involved would have been a difficult process for a small IT team already operating in multi-capacities. Yiin examined other solutions such as Computer Associate's Unicenter Management Portal as well as Concord eHealth Suite, but ultimately went with a solution from Mountain View, Calif.-based Network Physics.

"Network Physics works on a totally different concept. Others are based on device management and monitoring, but (NP) is based on traffic-flow monitoring," says Yiin, adding that the firm can configure the system to examine business or user groups, instead of just devices.

Yiin explains that other tools, some of which the firm was previously using, were able to determine the failure of a device, but lacked the ability to determine the source of the problem. NP-1000, on the other hand, can spot problems before they end up affecting the user, Yiin says. In fact, the user often doesn't even know that a problem existed.

"We feel that the tool helps us to react proactively to fix the problem, change configurations, and make things right," he continues.

CDC IXIS has already yielded benefits from the system, Yiin says. As a network administrator, much of his time has been freed since NP-1000 can determine that some problems are unrelated to the network, thereby eliminating him from the chain of response.

"When there is a problem that is not a network problem, whoever supports that application is paged instead of me," Yiin says. "With this tool, it is obvious and clear, so that has saved us time of going back and forth."

Yiin will also be able to get rid of other services that were drying out his budget, such as an outsourced service for device monitoring and reporting on bandwidth use and capacity issues. "Now that I have (NP) running, I can publish a realistic report based on business groups directly to the web."

Network Physics expects to release the newest update of the solution in the first half of next year, according to a spokeswoman, which is set to include real-traffic data capturing, triggered by events, instead of enabling it manually. Yiin explains that the vendor has been quick to respond to his update requests, adding that this feature is one he is looking forward to.

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