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Enterprise Suite

NetBrain Enterprise Suite

The Industry-leading Network Automation Solution

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Overview Overview

Managing your enterprise network infrastructure - routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and wireless access points - is a time-consuming and manual job. NetBrain Enterprise Suite automates critical network tasks, such as documentation, troubleshooting diagnoses and change verification, saving critical time and preventing costly network outages.

In enterprise network management, automation is traditionally achieved through in-house scripting or select NCCM tools. In-house scripts are highly customizable but complex to create while NCCM tools can be powerful but of limited use due to lack of customization. NetBrain fundamentally changes this landscape wit adaptive automation and dynamic mapping.

NetBrain Enterprise Suite is highly scalable, leveraging one or more Workspace Servers to manage the data collected from the live network. Leveragine these servers you can schedule frequent benchmarks, which collects live data from the network and maintain a historical record which can be referenced during troubleshooting.

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Features Top Features of NetBrain Enterprise Suite

Deep Network Discovery

NetBrain discovers both what you have (L2/L3 network devices) and how they are put together (network design). This is achieved through a patented neighbor-walking discovery engine combined with advanced network modeling. During the discovery process, NetBrain simultaneously analyzes data collected from SNMP and the CLI, and decodes network design every step along the way.

Often starting with the single input of a seed router, NetBrain’s discovery is powerful but still easy to use. Key features include:

  • Deep network discovery - output includes devices, topology and network design
  • Fastest in the industry - up to 2,000 routers, switches or firewalls per hour
  • Accurate - the algorithm ensures nearly 99% accuracy for discovering networked devices
  • Robust - capable of handling highly fragmented networks

NetBrain has two mechanisms in place to catch changes in the network and ensure NetBrain's backend model is accurate:

  • Scheduled re-discovery will automatically detect newly added or removed devices.
  • Recurring benchmark will collect and analyze in-depth network data such as configuration files, routing tables, CAM tables and any CLI-command output to profile changes in network topology and design.

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Dynamic Network Mapping

Traditional diagramming technologies require users to manually collect data, and then draw diagrams icon-by-icon. A dynamic map is data-driven, instantly created, and automatically updated. It represents a technological breakthrough in network mapping.

  • All data supporting the map is automatically collected by the system (including network topology and network design data)
  • Map creation is automated with simple user inputs
  • When network changes occur, maps can be updated automatically

Since dynamic maps are created on-demand, each map is customized for the task at hand - highly beneficial for real-time troubleshooting. Dynamic Maps always accurately reflect the latest state of the network. Recurring benchmarks can be scheduled to run automatically so that the network model, which drives each map, is always up-to-date.

The detailed configuration and design data, which the system collects during discovery, is automatically embedded within each dynamic diagram. You can access this information in a visual format by turning on NetBrain's various 'highlighting' layers (e.g. routing protocol, multicasting design, VLAN design). You can also leverage NetBrain's dynamic zoom capability to see additional layers of data automatically populated on the map; the more you zoom, the more data you'll see.

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Automated Documentation

NetBrain can generate several types of network documentation by leveraging the network data model it created during the discovery process. When the live network changes, NetBrain's benchmark engine will update its backend data model. Users can then automatically update the exported documents.

You can automatically create various types of network documentation, including:

  • Network diagrams in MS Visio
  • Design documents in MS Word
  • Change history documents in MS Word
  • Inventory reports in MS Excel or CSV

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Visual Search of Network Data

NetBrain's makes your entire network searchable so you can quickly access a vast database of network intelligence. From the search results, you can preview a device or configuration file, access relevant saved maps, or even create a new map around the device(s) in the results.

There are many types of data users can search, including:

  • The entire network object model, containing detailed inventory and L2/L3 topology
  • Configuration files or keywords within a config (e.g. 'EIGRP 200' or 'IOS 12.2')
  • Visio diagrams or NetBrain Qmaps

From the Visual Search results you can:

  • See a preview map of a searched device
  • Zoom in on the preview map to view ‘Observer’ cards with device information
  • Create a new map from the results with one-click.

The power of visual search comes from the capability of creating dynamic maps instantly out of each search result.

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Visual Monitoring & Performance Analysis

Visual network monitoring is different from traditional SNMP network monitoring. It uses a dynamic map to display performance statistics and advanced diagnostic parameters. There are dozens of monitoring profiles built-in to accelerate troubleshooting, and users can build more monitoring profiles with adaptive automation.

Visual monitoring provides a unique ‘Heat Map’ view of the network:

  • It uses a dynamic map as the user interface to start and stop monitoring.
  • Real-time data, collected from the live network, is displayed on the map, along with alarms.
  • Live statistics for each data point are plotted over time and recorded in chart and tabular format beneath the map for trending insights.

Visual network monitoring offers several built-in diagnostics to poll many types of data including:

  • SBandwidth utilization and delay
  • CPU/memory utilization
  • Interface errors
  • Multicasting statistics
  • Routing table and protocol neighbors
  • And more…

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Adaptive Automation

NetBrain's automation features are 100% customizable - to adapt both to your network and to your network tasks. Through NetBrain's visual programming environment, users can develop 'Qapps' which automatically collect and analyze network data and draw the results directly on the map. No scripting required.

Over 100 Qapps come built-in with the newest Enterprise Suite. Qapps are categorized into 4 main functions:

  • Mapping - To create customized views of the network, automatically
  • Configuration and Design Analysis - To extract and analyze specific elements from the network design
  • Live Monitoring and Performance Analysis - To extract and analyze virtually any live performance metric
  • Historical Change Analysis - To create customized views into recent changes in configuration, topology, routing, etc.

There is no steep learning curve associated with writing Qapps. The process starts with a sample of CLI output (e.g. show interfaces). You can select snippets from the output which represent data points of interest. Then you can program alerts to generate alarms if the output to the specified CLI command is outside of an expected norm (e.g. interface errors are increasing)

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Automatically Push Config Changes

With NetBrain's optional Change Management Module, you can define a template for a configuration change and identify the devices/interfaces to be impacted. Then automatically execute the changes across all selected devices, and watch it happen in real time. If a change goes bad, you can roll it back with one click.

Automatically deploying configuration changes is part of NetBrain's change management methodology, which also automates the verification and documentation of the changes:

  • Automatically push config changes
  • Analyze changes in routing, configuration, traffic flow, etc.
  • Automatically document the results

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Change Analysis & Verification

With automated change verification, you're better equipped to detect issues caused by a configuration change within a change window, before end users are impacted. Armed with benchmark data both before and after a configuration update, you can see highlighted changes in configuration, routing, and more.

  • Configuration changes at each and every device
  • Routing table changes at each and every device
  • Traffic path changes
  • Topology changes in L2 and L3
  • Changes in any CLI command output

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Traffic Path Analysis

NetBrain allows you to visualize and analyze dynamic traffic paths across complex networks. In order to map between two endpoints, just specify the IP addresses or hostnames at each end; NetBrain will perform a comprehensive analysis of the routing, VRF, ACL, and NAT design at each hop in the path.

The analysis takes several design considerations into account, including:

  • Dynamic and static routing
  • Policy-Based Routing (PBR)
  • Network address translation (NAT)
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • MPLS

NetBrain also provides a historical view of traffic paths, so that users can visually compare the traffic flow between the past and the present to see if it has changed.

NetBrain also provides a historical view of traffic paths, so that users can visually compare the traffic flow between the past and the present to see if it has changed.

Traffic state information is viewable at each hop including Packet Header, State Information, and flow-specific information. State information records forwarding decisions on the current packet. Special information can record any information designated by the user like QOS class-map name.

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Historical Analysis

Network change is constant. NetBrain has mechanisms in place to capture changes and help you find what's changed between two dates. You can compare historical data including config files and route/ARP/MAC/STP tables, to see the differences highlighted side-by-side.

To better capture elusive network events that occur infrequently or for short durations, the “Re-analyze” feature displays results from a previously recorded live monitoring analysis.

All historical monitoring data are managed under the Map Pane and the desired time frame for the analysis can be selected by simply moving the anchor on the timeline. The status and data will then be shown on the map and Result Pane.

You can look back in time at monitoring data which may correspond to a particular time frame when a network problem occurred or was suspected to have occurred. This is useful for correlating network faults with certain trends and behaviors.

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Routing & Design Analysis

Network design is embedded inside millions of lines of configuration files. NetBrain parses your device configurations and intelligently analyzes the network's design, including routing, VLAN, and MPLS VRF. The design is intelligently organized and presented on a dynamic diagram to help reduce design complexities.

The type of design NetBrain can visually analyze includes:

  • Dynamic routing protocols such as BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, ISIS and RIP
  • Multicasting design
  • MPLS VRF design
  • VLAN design and Spanning-Tree status

Over 100 typical designs based on customizable design templates, including QoS, VoIP, security, etc.

NetBrain's Design Reader is a template-based configuration file analyzer. There are over 100 built-in templates to analyze network design such as QoS, VoIP, Multicasting, Routing, ACL for routers, switches and firewalls. Design Reader includes built-in sample maps, which enables users to share best practices about certain technologies.

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Scalability for Large Networks

NetBrain is designed to handle very large networks with tens of thousands of network nodes and hundreds of concurrent users. This scalability is achieved by intelligent distribution of computing resources among client workstations and enterprise server(s).

NetBrain’s robust architecture supports:

  • Networks with up to 50,000 devices

    Users can search, discover path, and view hierarchical map of the entire network within one workspace

  • Scheduling of multiple benchmark tasks

    Users can schedule a task to benchmark configuration files and rebuild L3 topology weekly and another to benchmark ARP/MAC/LLDP table data and rebuild LP topology

  • Enhanced Performance

    User can refresh workspace data, start workstation, login, and search, etc. without sacrificing speed

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Integration with NMS Systems

NetBrain has Northbound and Southband integration APIs to work with several existing NMS solutions. For example, NetBrain can integrate with Netcool such that a dynamic map can be created directly from a Netcool alarm.

Multi-Vendor Support

NetBrain is a multi-vendor platform, capable of discovering, mapping, monitoring, and analyzing devices from most popular and many lesser-known vendors. Supported devices include routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and Wire.

See Multivendor Support Document »

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System Requirements System Requirements

NetBrain Enterprise Suite has five components: Customer License Server, Workspace Server, Automation Server, Network Server and Workstation.

Dynamic Network Mapping

The following table lists the system specifications and connectivity requirements:

 

CPU

Memory

Hard Disk

Operating System

All-in-one Server CLS/WSS/AS/NS
(up to 2000 nodes)

2 GHz

Quad Core

 

8GB (Preferred)

4GB (Minimum)

100GB free space

Windows 2003 SP2/R2 Standard/Enterprise Edition, Windows 2008/R2 Standard/Enterprise Edition or Windows 2012 with IIS pre-installed. VMware is supported. Require user with Windows admin rights.

Customer License Server (CLS)

2 GHZ
Dual Core

4GB (Preferred)

2GB (Minimum)

20GB free space

Windows 2003 SP2/R2 Standard/Enterprise Edition, Windows 2008/R2 Standard/Enterprise Edition or Windows 2012 with IIS pre-installed.

Workstation Client

2 GHZ
Dual Core

8GB (Preferred)

4GB (Minimum)

20GB free space

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 2003/2008/2012. VMware is supported. Require user with Windows admin rights.

Network Connectivity Requirements

Source

Destination

Port

Workspace Server

Customer License Server

HTTP/HTTPS

Customer License Server

Workspace Server

HTTP/HTTPS

Network Server

Automation Server

Workstation Client

See the full System Spec Document »

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

How is NetBrain Enterprise Suite Licensed?

A:

NetBrain is licensed by two factors:

  • The number of discoverable network nodes (routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, WAPs)
  • The number of users who will be logged into the NetBrain Workstation simultaneously

To receive pricing for your deployment, please request a quote.

Q:

How Does NetBrain Discover My Network?

A:

NetBrain's discovery algorithm uses a combination of SNMP and Telnet/SSH to access devices on your network. SNMP is used to determine the vendor and model of each device so that NetBrain can issue the appropriate vendor-specific commands when it logs into each device. During the discovery, NetBrain will issue several 'show' level commands learn about the configuration, route tables, MAC tables, ARP tables, etc. of each device.

Q:

What's the difference between Enterprise Suite, Consultant Edition, and Personal Edition?

A:

NetBrain Enterprise Edition provides features such as document automation, visual troubleshooting, and collaboration for enterprises. The Consultant Edition is a standalone and portable software suitable for consultants and its main benefit is automating the documentation of network assessment and design, with or without access to a live network.

NetBrain Personal Edition is a free tool with capabilities similar to Consultant Edition, but with support of no more than 20 nodes.

Q:

Can NetBrain monitor the live network and replace other fault monitoring tools?

A:

NetBrain can monitor the live network in a diagnostic fashion - by monitoring a portion of the network and then providing drill-down capabilities around problem areas. NetBrain should not be considered as a replacement to traditional 24X7 monitoring tools.

Q:

What kind of performance impact does NetBrain have to a live network?

A:

NetBrain uses CLI and light-weight SNMP to discover and gather data. It has minimum impact to the performance of the live network.

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Documentation Documentation

 

Enterprise Suite Data Sheet

A two-sided document providing a concise overview of NetBrain’s top benefits and features.

Updated for 5.2 – May 2014

   

NetBrain Automation Catalog

24 page booklet illustrating Use Cases for Automated Documentation, Troubleshooting, and Network Changes.

Updated for 5.2 – May 2014

         
 

Enterprise Suite Feature Handbook

36-page PDF showing detailed feature description.

Updated for 5.2 – May 2014

   

NetBrain Solution Summary for MSPs

11-page PDF describing NetBrain solutions and key values for Managed Service Providers.

Last updated – August 2011

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