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LANGuardian customer feedback – Illinois Community College

16 September 2014 NetFort Blog By: Darragh Delaney
College Networks

Straight talking customer feedback

Now that our new website has gone live, it’s definitely a good time to post the next instalment in this series. The feedback below is from a Network Analyst in Illinois Community College, USA who downloaded, evaluated and purchased the LANGuardian recently.

We have worked very hard to try and make the LANGuardian as easy as possible to install and use including as much online help and collateral as is required so that the user can do it all with minimal external help. The first contact we had from this new customer was an email “We want to purchase the LANGuardian? How much is it?’ A nice email to see in your inbox and validation that we have made good progress. An interesting proof point for us here in NetFort as we have invested hugely in the ‘self service’ download, install and use strategy.  While we are always obviously delighted to get the order, we also really appreciate the following feedback and permission to re-distribute it with no NetFort modifications from Illinois Community College.

LANGuardian Product Feedback

Q. How did you hear about NetFort Technologies /LANGuardian?

Google searches for span/mirror port network monitoring and forensics. You were near top result on searches but your product is not mentioned in many other places, such as IT review and news sites or technical forums.

 

Q. What issue/requirement has the LANGuardian addressed for you?  

We needed to collect all web activity down to the URL level from a span port.  As a benefit it also provides unique out-of-band network forensics for troubleshooting or identifying odd network traffic.

 

Q. What is you view of the LANGuardian evaluation process?

Downloaded trial ISO, installed it, read all documentation, explored the product interface.

 

Q. Did you evaluate any other products as part of the evaluation process if so can you share this information with NetFort?

We evaluated open source products and a few commercial ones.

 

Q. Has the LANGuardian replaced any other product?

Squid proxy with logging enabled.

 

Q. What is your reason for purchasing the LANGuardian?

Simple, straightforward, standalone product that performs network logging, web monitoring and forensics with a ISO install that can be installed on our own hardware or as a virtual machine.

 

Q. Please feel free to provide any other feedback. 

I think your product is well engineered and quite unique in the market. A few things I’d like to see added to the product:

  • The ability to monitor the health of the hardware it is installed on.  I can’t get disk failure or sensor reports from the hardware with LANGuardian installed.
  • Perhaps a version of LANGuardian that is a RPM installed on CentOS instead of a completely locked down distribution (would solve the above request)
  • Some more statistics in the web interface such as daily average DB growth, capture port packet drops, system load
  • We had some concerns with the academic user count and pricing, but you worked with us and made us quite happy.  We still think per user is an odd licensing method. I would humbly suggest considering an alternative licensing model based on the amount of traffic being collected by LANGuardian.  You may have some customers with large networks and lots of data but few actual users that are being under licensed with the user model and the opposite for organizations like us with a high user count but much less actual network traffic or computer users.

We also followed up at a later stage with this customer to drill down on some of this very interesting feedback. A comment that also caught my eye when he was describing the LANGuardian was ‘kind of a one stop product for traffic monitoring’.  Also good to hear, a validation of two core pillars of our strategy:

  1. There is some very useful information in network traffic suitable for many functions across an organisation if it can be presented at the appropriate level. Managers will not be able to interpret the ‘bits and bytes’ whereas engineers sometimes need to go to this level.  Sometimes engineers need detail to ‘find that smoking gun’, the file name that caused the network to go slow and name of the user responsible. Whereas managers want colour, graphics, trends, etc. One should be able to get to the appropriate level with a single solution.
  2. It is sometimes NOT that easy to actually sniff traffic from a network as ALL the SPAN ports may be already used. So when our LANGuardian Deep Packet Inspection solution is connected to a SPAN or mirror port, we want to make sure we’re really making the most of those packets, giving the customer as much useful information as possible. A ‘swiss army knife’ for traffic monitoring, generating reports, alerts useful for network operations, security, management, planning, etc…

Finally, while we are always obviously delighted to get the order, we also really appreciate the feedback and permission to re-distribute it with no NetFort modifications from our new customer. If you send us some feedback on the LANGuardian with permission to redistribute (just the organisation name is fine) we will send you on a bright new NetFort cycling jersey!

John Brosnan

NetFort CEO