Chevin TeVISTA Enterprise 3.2 review
This latest version of Chevin’s TeVISTA network analysis software has come a long way from the version we reviewed in 2003. For starters, the main console has been spruced up considerably. The hideously dated graphics used to represent network objects have gone, to be replaced by a general network map using smaller and more simplified icons. In fact, the entire product has seen a complete spring clean, making it far easier to use.
TeVISTA Enterprise offers a three-pronged analysis solution. It uses a mixture of standard SNMP polling, software probes and full protocol analysis. A new feature available in the Enterprise Plus version is the Synthetic User component. This allows application responses to be probed and measured accurately and can alert the help desk if performance falls below a specific threshold. It supports a range of applications including Oracle, Citrix, SQL Server and Exchange, and can monitor simple file and print services. It can also be customised for bespoke applications.
Central to the suite is Chevin’s Software Visibility Agent (SVA), which functions as a remote probe, and can run on any Windows server or workstation. It gathers information locally and then passes it on to the main console. Its minimal requirements mean it can run on a low-spec PC, allowing you to place an agent on each segment of a switched network. Operations start at the Enterprise Management Console, which automatically runs network discoveries and builds up a map of SNMP-enabled devices. Non-SNMP devices can be added to the map and TeVISTA uses ICMP to check on their availability. We found no problems on our two test subnets; TeVISTA correctly identified all our SNMP-enabled servers, workstations, switches and printers.
The root map shows identified subnets. You can drill down through each one to view all devices within; any system running an SVA gets a custom icon. From the map we could interrogate SNMP-enabled devices and view, for example, graphs of port utilisation on our switches. We were also impressed by the level of information the SNMP Analyst tool provided. Trend reports are used to gather data over longer periods and can be saved off to a file or as web reports. Double-clicking on an SVA icon takes you directly to the network visibility screen, which provides a real-time view of that segment. This is accompanied by a wealth of statistics on device and protocol utilisation, plus in-depth details on network, node and protocol activity. You’ll also find graphs revealing the most talkative stations. Reports feature strongly here and you can choose from a huge range, detailing areas such as the busiest nodes, protocol usage and conversations.
TeVISTA integrates with most popular protocol analysers, but the price includes WildPackets’ excellent EtherPeek NX. Capturing packets from monitored conversations requires a single mouse click and, as soon as the process is stopped, EtherPeek is automatically fired up. Filters weed out extraneous data and the decoding tools provide in-depth views of packet contents for all seven OSI layers.
With TeVISTA Enterprise at the helm, network operations will no longer be a mystery. As with all enterprise-level products of this type, the price is high, but it compares well with the competition and delivers particularly strong packet-decoding and expert analysis, along with very good reporting.