Houston’s METRO (MTA) Prevents Million-Dollar Problems, Saves Hours of Troubleshooting with NetFlow Visibility Software

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Scrutinizer NetFlow Analyzer Provides Regional Transportation Organization with Scalability, Affordability

When Neal Gravatt joined Houston’s METRO regional transportation organization as a Network Support Specialist, he knew it would be crucial to implement some form of NetFlow monitoring and analysis software to ease the burden of common network problems. It would take a powerful, scalable and cost-effective solution to prevent million-dollar problems and save hours of time associated with troubleshooting common problems—and Scrutinizer NetFlow and sFlow Analyzer from Plixer would become that solution.

But in the beginning, it wasn’t that easy. “METRO didn’t have any sort of product to monitor and record NetFlow information,” said Gravatt. “Just having some tool to figure out if sluggish response was the result of the network or of a slow server response and monitor how users are using the network would be a huge improvement and a great way to cut network downtime.”

Serving Houston and area cities, METRO is an innovative regional transportation organization of dedicated employees committed to partnering with the public and private sectors to provide the safest, highest quality services and mobility solutions that exceed its customers’ expectations while creating economic growth. The METRO network spanned nine remote operating facilities, 27 Park & Ride locations and the METRO headquarters, so Gravatt would need a scalable solution that wasn’t cost-prohibitive. Luckily, Gravatt had worked with Scrutinizer before at his previous job, where he monitored a much smaller network. Would Scrutinizer be scalable enough to apply to the METRO network?

Lucky for Gravatt and METRO, Scrutinizer delivered. “We evaluated other competing solutions, but they were either entirely too cost-prohibitive or not powerful enough for our network. The number of manual definitions we needed to put in place was only possible by leveraging a product like Scrutinizer.”

Scrutinizer’s ability to look deeper into what is happening in terms of internet usage helped Gravatt beef up network security. As a forensic tool, Scrutinizer allows METRO network staff to gain better insights into what a host is doing, helping to prevent network problems.

Scrutinizer’s easy-to-use GUI makes network reports neat and presentable for non-technical staff and offers the results Gravatt needs much quicker than manual monitoring or monitoring with a different solution.

In terms of cost savings, Gravatt commented, “With Plixer Scrutinizer, we can easily prevent problems that cost millions of dollars to fix. Compared to other programs on the market, we save nearly $100,000.” He went on to tout the time savings, saying, “Without Scrutinizer, it would take at least an hour just looking at individual ports and logs stored on the firewall. The solution saves hours of troubleshooting on common network problems.”

About Plixer International, Inc.
Plixer International, Inc. develops and markets network traffic monitoring and analysis tools to the global market. All of the tools are built from the ground up with valuable feature sets and ease of use in mind. Plixer tools have been used to analyze and troubleshoot irregular traffic patterns by IT professionals with some of the largest networks in the world, such as CNN, The Coca-Cola Company, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Regal Cinemas, Raytheon, and Eddie Bauer.

For product and sales information, contact Plixer International, Inc. at 1 Eagle Drive, Sanford, Maine, via telephone (207) 324-8805, fax (207) 324-8683; or visit the Plixer website.

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Hanni Itah

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