We are happy to announce the release of the latest version of our Explorer Suite – version 18.1. Our latest release introduces two features that help network engineers make more informed decisions for network planning and maintenance: (i) capacity planning and (ii) comparison reports.
We have also added support for streaming telemetry, a new mechanism for collecting network performance data without the scalability limitations of today’s “pull-based” methods. In this blog, we provide a summary of the three major features in Explorer Suite version 18.1.
When managing networks, it is important to ensure that sufficient bandwidth is available for application and data delivery. Lack of sufficient bandwidth can result in network downtime, data delivery failures, congestion, degraded application performance, or high latency, any of which can lead to financial and productivity losses for the organization. For this reason, network engineers and planners cannot afford to guess when bandwidth consumption will reach a particular value, or defer equipment upgrades until it’s too late and the available link bandwidth is saturated. It is important to be able to forecast utilization trends so that informed decisions can be made for upgrading bandwidth capacity or rerouting traffic over links.
Using the Capacity Planning feature in Explorer Suite version 18.1, network planners can determine how bandwidth utilization on a link will grow over time to a date in the future. The increase in bandwidth can be calculated using exponential, linear or user-defined growth rates, based on historical daily 95th percentile, average or maximum values.
This information provides network engineers with actionable data and helps eliminate the guesswork when planning bandwidth upgrades or provisioning new services in the network.
Numerous industry reports have cited network changes as the number one cause of downtime. In order to ensure that the state of the network is as expected after a configuration change, software upgrade or other scheduled maintenance, network engineers must be able to compare the state of network devices at different times. This capability is the other major feature we have added to the Explorer Suite and it will help network engineers assure network uptime.
Network engineers simply select the devices whose state is to be compared and specify the before and after times. The new Comparison Report highlights the differences.
From the Comparison Report, it is easy to determine if the state of devices, links, IGP prefixes or Traffic Engineering tunnels have changed from up to down or vice versa. Engineers can click and drill down into any of the changed states for more detail. For example, IGP prefix changes will show the before and after state and metric. In the case of changes to TE tunnels, drilling down can show if tunnel attributes have changed and if paths or FRR protection has been added or removed.
Using this report, network engineers can quickly determine what changed after network maintenance or what change led to network downtime or rerouting of traffic.
Streaming telemetry is a new “push-based” mechanism used for collecting network performance data. It is a more scalable method for gathering performance data without any of the limitations of “pull-based” mechanisms, such as SNMP. We covered the basics of streaming telemetry previously and Explorer Suite version 18.1 now supports collection of streaming telemetry from Juniper and Cisco devices.
In addition to these major features, there are also other enhancements, such as top link in and out dashboard controls; link context pages that display mini-maps with interface, description, TE metric, bandwidth and SRLG information; baselines of BGP routes which show baseline BGP routes by next hop, second next hop AS, origin AS and neighbor AS, and the deviation from the baseline.
We hope you find the new capabilities of Explorer Suite exciting. And as always, a big thank you to all our users whose ideas and feedback help us continue to enhance our products in ways that really help network teams manage their networks better.
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