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Free Network Analytics Service Identifies Potential Areas for Performance Improvement

A new free online service promises to help organizations troubleshoot potential problems areas in their networks and provide point-in-time reporting of every device. The technology behind has been in use at client sites by RISC Networks, which has performed IT analytics on networks at Loyola University New Orleans and Chatham University in Pittsburgh, among others. Besides analyzing the network, the service provides comparisons to other environments for the purpose of benchmarking.

The service is intended to troubleshoot network problems and determine the root cause, said Jeremy Littlejohn, chief analyst and co-founder of MyITAssessment. The process uncovers problems and performance degradation, identifies high ROI upgrade opportunities, helps the IT organization plan for infrastructure changes, and establishes accountability in cross-vendor problems, he added. "The goal of MyITAssessment is to provide information managers can use to 'move the needle' and improve IT operations. Re-testing can then be used to benchmark progress and provide ideas for ongoing improvement."

The assessment can also be used, noted Littlejohn, by organizations that already have network monitoring programs deployed, such as those from SolarWinds, Spiceworks, and Ipswitch's WhatsUp Gold, in order to compare results on how those other systems are performing. According to a company frequently-asked-questions page, even though three-quarters of clients have monitoring platforms in place, they "still have problems and are missing opportunities to optimize their IT environments."

The service requires installation of a virtual appliance, which runs in VMware products, including VMware Player, VMware Workstation, and ESX. The program also needs to have domain administrator credentials in order to gain access to IT assets for inventory and performance collection. "These credentials never leave the virtual appliance and the MyITAssessment team never sees them," the company stated. Once those details are provided, the assessment begins.

The assessment report that's generated provides an inventory, performance metrics, and an analysis that examines how the network compares to others with MyITAssessment scores. Those networks with the highest scores go onto a competitive list of top scorers, ranked by organization size.

The service also provides a list of certified solution providers that can help implement the analysis at no charge and provide recommendations based on the results. MyITAssessment offers optional add-on custom reports and services for a fee. However, the base service has no charge. Although the company doesn't share the information provided by users, it offsets the cost of the service by charging IT vendors and solution providers a sponsor fee to appear in the results, the company stated in its FAQ. "If you like them or want to learn more, you can follow the links to their site. You get options, and they get to show you what they can do for you. Win, Win."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.