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How Universal Electric Corp. Powers Through Network Problems

by Barbara.Froemmel Sep 14, 2017

While some see a 70-inch television as suitable only for watching Sunday Night Football, Sean Tucker, a Senior Network Engineer, at Universal Electric Corporation hopes to put the company’s network on the big screen so his team can better visualize network blips.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Sean to discuss the implementation of the NetBrain platform at one of Universal Electric’s offices and how it has impacted the company’s network management and network troubleshooting efforts. As a global leader in customizable power distribution systems, Universal Electric offers flexible solutions to provide power on-demand with no downtime to data center, retail, healthcare, higher education & industrial markets, and needs an underlying agile and resilient enterprise network to make it happen.

“We’ve been using NetBrain for the better part of six months and I am very pleased with the way the NetBrain platform is set up and how it collects data on all of our devices. I don’t typically like to give feedback or testimonials on products, but NetBrain has been fantastic as it’s allowed us to easily account for all our layer-2 and layer-3 devices. NetBrain also reports the status of the devices and allows us to manage them all from one portal,” Tucker said.

NetBrain actively reports on the UE network environment, alerting Tucker’s team to potential problems and diagnosing issues as soon as they occur. After testing the product in one office location, Tucker hopes to expand it across the entire organization.

Taking advantage of Dynamic Maps

NetBrain’s Dynamic Maps are incredibly useful for Tucker’s team.

“We can open NetBrain and have a map of our network within 30 seconds. We use the platform to push commands to all switches at once.” Tucker said. “In the past, every time I’ve made a change to a switch, I needed to do a backup of the running config and keep those in a separate directory so if we lose a switch, we always have a backup config. Well, now NetBrain does all of that for me.”

NetBrain has significantly improved Universal Electric’s reporting by creating on-demand layer-3 and layer-2 maps. The team leverages NetBrain to visualize how the devices are interconnected and to better see traffic on the network’s ports, allowing him to optimize the network. These maps also serve for management and vendor meetings.

Bracing for the broadcast storms

Before implementation of NetBrain, Universal Electric was hit with a surprise broadcast storm that brought with it a host of networking dilemmas. As network engineers know, once a broadcast storm begins, it’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint the cause network issue.

Sean added, “Something hit our network and spread quickly. We couldn’t leverage NetBrain at that point, but if and when we’re hit again, we can collect more data around where the storm came from and what devices it’s effecting through NetBrain.”

Reporting and managing the network with ease

Before NetBrain, Universal Electric tried several network management products to no avail. On most occasions, the team was bombarded with alerts that 98 percent of the time were false negatives. “These problems don’t exist in the NetBrain platform,” Tucker said. In the next few months, in fact, his team plans to fully implement NetBrain into their processes to better report and monitor the network.

It was great to learn about the value NetBrain is providing for a key team supporting a global business, and we thank Sean for taking the time to speak with us. We appreciate the partnership and look forward to helping Sean and the team drive tremendous value from the NetBrain platform.