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How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

  • 1.  How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-19-2017 17:03
    Hello, everybody!

    I have a customer (University), who has bought about 30+ summit X430-440 switches and their core is X670. They also have about 50+ 2960, Netgears, Dlinks.

    At the moment I have a big IdentiFi wifi project with them (about 400 APs).

    On next Tueday I'am going to persuade the customer to add Netsight ADV to Wi-Fi project.

    The problem is they use Cacti NMS. To be honest, Cacti is a very good tool, it's very similar to Netsight. It could show actual real-time links usage between switches, while Netsight couldn't. The customer is very good with Cacti, they use this NMS for 10 year. And it is totally free...

    So, taking into the consideration things being said above, could you please share your ideas how to persuade the Customer to buy Netsight ADV?

    Actually, you know what Netsight is: nothing works (sorry!). The data from devices is coming very slow. Most of the counters are very unobvious. And ADV-version is wildly expensive.

    What I am thinking about? There are several Netsight features that I can outline:

    1) In ADV I can deploy APs on a floorplans to see Coverage. The only thing I saw was "Data rate" after I ticked "Use default values if a Radios is off" in "Access Points". Sad...
    2) Compass feature... I''ve tried to use it in different environments, but always get as reply a long list of unsorted devices or "Could not locate matching device data for the supplied search string." It seems to to me that to make Compass work all the switches should be Summits. This exists in NMS-BASE.
    3) Summit mass firmware update and scheduled configuration backup - it works, but this also exists in NMS-BASE.
    4) Confs compare feature - good, but it could be used very rare, in fact. And this is also exists in NMS-BASE.
    5) Mass CLI commands in Console - good, but...

    Well, could you point some useful features of NMS-ADV that I've forgotten?

    Actually, I am going to offer them just NMS-ADV-25 in the beginning - it would be enough to cover almost all APs in Main building.

    Many thanks in advance,


  • 2.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-19-2017 17:31
    I agree, Netsight doesn't have the "dive in" granularity you "can" get with Cacti. I would say, Cacti is not a NMS, it's more of a trending system.

    Netsight is great because you can setup SNMP traps that send emails when something happens, such as a failed PSU in a switch. You can also alert on any limits that are hit.

    I would say Netsight is a great NMS, and pairs well with tools like Observium etc...

    Also, netsight can be a log repository (and alerting on logs), update server, config management server.. you can also tie in some basic netflow!

  • 3.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-19-2017 17:32
    I personally would only purchase NMS-ADV in order to run the Analytics Engine, but that is a whole other expense. I would look at Analytics to see what that could offer over Cacti. The WiFi Maps in Netsight are okay, but i'd just assume look at my Ekahau files and I tend not to trust simulated data for signal propagation. If your client requires wireless tracking/triangulation, that could be selling point as well.

    Another reason you would need NMS-ADV is if you plan on using one Fabric connect modules in order to integrate certain 3rd party products. e.g. there is a module that would allow us to send AAA packets from our Extreme Control to our firewall without having to use radius for authentication, which would definitely be nice for us to have.

    NMS-ADV becomes more useful the more invested you are in Extreme's line of products, Wireless, Control, Analytics, etc.

  • 4.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-23-2017 12:37

    Theres a misconception here. You're comparing a MONITORING system with a MANAGEMENT system.

    Cacti can graph a lot of information about your network. That's not the main purpose of Extreme Management Center.

    Extreme Management Center (EMC) will:
    • Discover your devices. Any device that can respond to SNMP or PING can be discovered. If they are Extreme switches, ZTP+ will allow them to be discovered and configured automatically as they are connected to the network. it can also periodically scan your sites looking for new devices not supporting ZTP+
    • Inventory your devices. EMC will collect serial numbers, modules, software versions, empty port information, etc., so you can create reports on this information and know what you have without needing to go check physically the device.
    • Manage firmware. You can check the firmware versions of your devices and schedule when to update and reboot them, a single device at a time or in groups.
    • Manage configurations. You can archive the configurations of your devices and restore them, if needed. If the configuration of a device has changed, you can look at the current configuration and compare it to a previous one to see what has changed. The additions, deletions and changes will be highlighted in different colors to help you identify the changes. You can even set up an alarm that alerts you that the configuration of an important device (e.g. core switch) has changed, so you can immediatelly take action.
    • Centralize Events and Alarms. All events and alarms from the discovered devices will be presented in a single screen. You can create your own alarms based on certain events (e.g. if the archived configuration of a device changes, or if the port of an important server goes down).
    • Map devices. Using various link discovey protocols (LLDP, EDP, CDP...) EMC will create topological maps of your network. In these maps you will be able to see the VLANs, EAPS rings and MLAG links configured in each Extreme device. You will also be able to create vlans or add ports to the existing ones.
    • Integrate third-party devices. Non-Extreme devices supporting SNMP can be integrated and managed through EMC. Using FlexViews you can retrieve SNMP information and display it in table, bar graph, line graph or pie chart. You can even edit writable information and apply it back to the device.
    • Manage Policy.You can create policies and group them in roles for Extreme switches and AP's in a centralized way. These policies and roles can then applied to switches and AP's to be used together with Extreme Access Control. If you decide to change a role in some way, you do it in EMC, enforce the change in all the switches and AP's and the change is INSTANTLY applied to all devices and clients using that role.
    • Integrate your wireless network. EMC will let you see which ExtremeWireless AP's are active and which are down, the channels used by each AP, the clients connected to each AP, the band, technology and SSIDs used, SNR and other connection information.
    • integrate Extreme Access Control. EAC can apply the Roles and Policies created and managed by EMC to users based on identity, credentials, location, device used, time of day, etc. EMC will display the information obtained from EAC (user, device, Role applied, location, etc...)
    • Integrate Extreme Application Analytics. EAA can detect the applications present in your network. EMC will show the information collected by EAA. If EAC is present, EMC will even show you the name of the users using a certain application.
    • Report. EMC will let you create reports on all the information described in the previous points. It will even let you create your own reports.
    Most of these things can be applied not only to Extreme devices but to third party devices also.

    As you can see, there's a lot of things that EMC can do that Cacti will not. They are not mutually exclusive, but complementary solutions.

    You will need the Advanced version of EMC if you want to have support for EAA, wireless heat maps and wireless client locationing. Otherwise, the normal version will be enough. The base version is limited and does not include all the functionality described.

    There are several heat maps available. When you select Wireless Coverage and enable Show Coverage, you can use Mode to select between the following heat maps:
    • Signal Strength: Shows the signal strenght in different parts of the foor plant.
    • Channel Coverage: Shows the channes used by the different AP's.
    • Data Rate: Shows the maximum expected data rate in different parts of the floor plant
    • Location Readiness: Shows if the AP coverage will allow for detailed or coarse locationing of clients.
    Regarding the heat maps, these are extrapolations of the information received from the AP's. You will need to load the floor plan into EMC and mark the construction details (walls, windows, doors, etc.) so EMC can calculate the attenuation in the path of the signal. These floorplans are usually created in Ekahau when making a Predictive Survey. EMC lets you import the maps already created with Ekahau to reduce the work required.

    Regarding the number of devices, if you have 30+ Extreme switches, 50+ third party devices and one wireless controller, you would need the 100-device normal version (NMS-100), which supports up to 1,000 AP's (these are not added individually, only the controller is added and all the AP and wireless client information is gathered though it)

  • 5.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-23-2017 22:24
    Hi Ilya,

    Daniel's summary is very nice.

    Plus+), Extreme Management Center (EMC) will:
    • ExtremeXOS CLI Scripting. The Extreme Networks Ridgeline network management product contains powerful CLI scripting functionality for ExtremeXOS switches that is now included within the Extreme Control Center network management platform. This CLI scripting functionality allows for many common network tasks, such as creation of a new VLAN, to be performed in an automated fashion across one or more ExtremeXOS devices without the need for individual SSH sessions to each switch.
    • Integration with OneFabric Connect Web. If you use MNS-ADV, you could integrate with OneFabric Connect Web Services which is the Application Programming Interface (API) embedded within Extreme Control Center. These Web Services provide remote programmatic access to many of the same functions that are available in the Extreme Control Center web interface. Simple scripts can embed these Web Service calls to either automate a key Control Center function (e.g. Blacklist a user) or extract real-time network information from the Control Center database (e.g. Top 25 network applications for the last hour). These OneFabric Connect scripts can then become integration points between 3rd party products and Extreme Control Center.
    There is the URL for OneFabric Connect API reference

    Best regards,

  • 6.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-19-2017 17:31
    Hello, Jeremy!

    What did you mean talking "Netsight is a great NMS, and pairs well with tools like Observium"?

    What are benefits pairing with it?

    Could you explain, please?


  • 7.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-19-2017 17:32
    Hello, Joshua!

    I know that Netsight is the platform for NAC and Purview. But my client is STATE University, not a commercial organization. They don't care how much mbytes were spent on Skype and how much on Facebook - what actually Purview counts. They have Fortigate 600D with all subscriptions which gives this information.

    After EN bought Wing wifi NAC seems a bit useless, because Wing has already all these portals and authentication features.

    I try to demostrate NMS-ADV features related to Wi-Fi, maps first of all, but it looks ugly and very strange. The only thing I can see in Wireless coverage is Data rate coverage. Not much for software which costs $18K for 10 devices...(

    You've written about Ekahau. Could you please explain me at a simple level what an integration could be between Identifi and Ekahau?


  • 8.  RE: How to persuade a customer: Netsight ADV vs Cacti

    Posted 05-19-2017 17:32
    The only integration that i know of is that you can import Ekahau files into the maps section of netsight. As far as i can tell, all this does is automatically places and links the AP's on the map within netsight. I don't actually use this function, so maybe someone else can speak more about it.