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NetEvidence Highlight v5.5 provides a common set of data to help network service providers and their customers discuss network performance, bandwidth needs and SLA adherence

NetEvidence today announced the immediate availability of a major upgrade of its independent network performance reporting service, Highlight. Highlight 5.5 is an outsourced service designed to help sales and service personnel at network service providers discuss network performance with non-technical executives at end-user organisations.

Highlight’s colourful, visual reports on performance of dedicated internet access circuits (leased lines) allow network service providers to discuss topics like bandwidth upgrade requirements and service level agreement (SLA) adherence with financial decision-makers at customer organisations, without either party having to involve engineers in the discussion.

Already used by major service providers including PSINet Europe, IXEurope and MCI, Highlight lets sales and service staff at the provider company show customers at a glance how their networks are performing, and where they may benefit from a bandwidth upgrade or extra circuits. In turn, customers can easily see whether the service provider is performing to the levels agreed in their contract or SLA.

Launched today, version 5.5 of Highlight includes a number of major enhancements including Path Quality (Response time) reporting, virtual private network (VPN) monitoring and reporting on performance during critical business hours.

Path Quality Reporting

In addition to monitoring leased lines out to the internet, Highlight 5.5 can now monitor the Path Quality (Quality of Service/Response time) on lines between a customer site and a selected destination. For example, an end-user may wish to monitor data traffic speeds on lines between a head office and a number of branch offices, or from their Data Centre facilities. Highlight 5.5 presents this information in a clear, colour-coded format alongside reports into network availability, traffic, bandwidth allocations, health etc, so that users can instantly and easily spot issues – for example, insufficient bandwidth on a particular circuit – and see the impact of that issue on overall data flow speeds. Having all this information in one place enables users instantly to identify the underlying issue causing the problem and quickly decide how best to rectify it.

VPN Monitoring

As well as monitoring performance on an organisation’s access lines, from version 5.5 Highlight can also be configured to show performance on individual virtual private network (VPN) tunnels running through the main access line. This helps end-users to see how individual site traffic varies, and using the new Path Quality reports, to monitor latency and availability over the tunnel. These kinds of metrics are frequently the subject of service provider SLAs, but are often misunderstood and misconstrued. Highlight can provide a common set of easily-understood data to help providers and customers discuss SLA adherence with respect to Path Quality and performance over individual VPNs.

Business-Hours Reporting

While many network monitoring tools show network availability and traffic averaged out over 24 hours, Highlight 5.5 can now be configured to show performance and activity during critical business hours. This means that network issues which may impact business efficiency are not “smoothed out” by the effect of data gathered during quiet night-time periods. On the service provider side, SLA agreements are not compromised by “downtime” data from planned outages which usually take place during out-of-office hours and which generally have little actual impact on the customer’s business.

Highlight 5.5 has already been evaluated by a number of network service providers, including IX Europe, a pan-European provider of datacentre services. “We plan to offer Highlight 5.5 immediately,” said Guy Willner, chief executive of IX Europe. “It will provide our sales and service staff and our customers with a continuous, independent insight into performance on the access lines into our data centres. Highlight is an excellent value-add service that our customers appreciate and our sales and service staff can use to identify and execute upsell and cross-sell opportunities. It puts us and our customers in a win-win situation.”

Richard Thomas, chief executive of NetEvidence, believes that the launch of Highlight 5.5 addresses a growing gap in the market for business-level services from network providers. “The days of the business manager not knowing anything about the network have gone. The best business managers know that network performance is one of the most fundamental aspects of their business,” he said. “Highlight helps service providers to help business managers understand what is happening on the network and to address any issues quickly – resulting in a closer partnership and greater level of trust between provider and customer.”

Pricing and Availability

Highlight 5.5 is available immediately as an outsourced service from NetEvidence. Pricing is per circuit and the service can be applied to any number of circuits from one to many thousands.

About NetEvidence

NetEvidence offers network service providers an outsourced service, Highlight, which monitors customer network performance and provides a continuous, at-a-glance view of network traffic, trends, availability and health. This data is presented in a clear and graphical way, letting non-technical sales and service staff easily identity sales opportunities and proactively manage customer relations for greater retention.

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