Network administrators need multifaceted visibility into the network and application to help ensure consistent and cost-effective delivery of services to end users. Knowing how traffic over the network is being used and how it is performing is essential for managing and improving the delivery of your business-critical applications. It is the foundation for establishing and verifying quality of service (QoS) policies, undertaking WAN-optimization projects, and rolling out voice over IP (VoIP). It is also the foundation for recognizing when a configuration change has unintentionally degraded application performance or for providing proof points that it is the application and not the network that is causing one of your business planning systems to perform poorly so that the appropriate actions can then be taken.
Cisco Prime™ Network Analysis Module (NAM) Software offers integrated network and application visibility (Figure 1) that empowers network administrators to optimize network resources, troubleshoot performance issues, and help ensure a consistent end-user experience. The software delivers granular traffic analysis, rich application performance metrics, comprehensive voice analytics, and deep insightful packet captures to help you manage and improve the operational effectiveness of Cisco® borderless networks and the Cisco data center.
Figure 1. At-a-Glance View of Network and Application Performance
The Cisco Prime portfolio of IT and service provider management offerings supports integrated lifecycle management of Cisco architectures and technologies based on a service-centered framework. Built on an intuitive workflow-oriented user experience, Cisco Prime products help increase IT productivity and reduce operations costs through innovative management solutions for network services, infrastructure, and endpoints.
Product Family Overview
Cisco Prime NAM Software is supported across the NAM product family (Figure 2), which includes integrated services modules, virtual service blades, and standalone appliances, offering deployment flexibility and consistent performance visibility from the branch to the data center. The products within the NAM product family are listed in Table 1.
Figure 2. Cisco Prime NAM Product Family
Table 1. Cisco Prime NAM Product Family
Cisco Prime NAM Products
Cisco Prime NAM Software Version (Latest)
Cisco Prime NAM for ISR G2 SRE
This software integrated with Cisco ISR G2 SM-SRE-700 and SM-SRE-900 platforms offers multiservice visibility, traffic analysis, and troubleshooting at remote sites in Cisco borderless networks.
Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series NAM (NAM-3)
The next-generation integrated service module delivers high performance traffic monitoring (15+ Gbps), extensive packet captures, and rich application performance analytics. It is well suited for deployments in enterprise campus, data center, and WAN.
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series NAM (NAM-1, NAM-2)
These service modules offers up to 1 Gbps traffic monitoring throughput and can be deployed with Catalyst 6500 Series Switches or Cisco 7600 Series Routers.
Cisco Prime NAM 2300 Series Appliances (NAM 2304, NAM 2320)
Cisco Prime NAM 2300 Series Appliances offer optimal balance of processing, memory, storage, and I/O to address monitoring needs at different places in the network.
Cisco Prime NAM for Cisco Nexus® 1100 Series
Integrated with the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series and Cisco Nexus 1010 Appliances, this virtual service blade extends visibility into the virtual machine (VM) network with Cisco Nexus 1000V switch deployments.
Cisco Prime NAM for Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Virtual Blade (VB)
An integrated solution for application performance visibility in WAN-optimized deployments. Cisco Prime NAM is available for the WAAS 574 and 674 Appliances when deployed in the data center.
Cisco Prime NAM Software Features
Cisco Prime NAM Software helps improve operational agility. It helps enable you to quickly access critical network information to accelerate application performance troubleshooting and advance optimization decisions. The key features of the software include:
• Interactive reports: Offers prepackaged dashboards (Figure 3) with embedded workflows and capabilities such as advanced filters, contextual navigation, and one-click packet captures to simplify monitoring and accelerate troubleshooting.
Figure 3. Host Traffic Analysis Dashboard
• Site-based monitoring: Allows you to view network and application performance by logical groupings or sites that you can create to mirror your network topology. For example, you can create sites by geographic locations, departments, or even managed customer networks and view performance data on a per site basis. The feature facilitates tracking site-specific service-level objectives, resolving performance issues, or enforcing optimization policies.
• Application Performance Intelligence: Analyzes TCP-based application packets as they travel from the client through the network to the data center and out again, providing transaction-aware analytics to help characterize the end-user experience and isolate application response time problems to the network, server, or the application itself.
• Voice quality analysis: Mean Opinion Score (MOS) and other key performance indicators (KPIs) such as jitter and packet loss to understand and improve how the end user experiences the delivery of voice services. MOS is computed based on ITU-T Recommendation G.107, offering accurate characterization of voice quality. Combine monitoring with real-time troubleshooting using prepackaged dashboards to improve end-user service levels.
• Cisco Performance Agent (PA) reporting: Provides visibility into application response time and traffic statistics at the remote branch utilizing the Cisco PA supported on ISR 880, ISR 890, and ISR second-generation (G2) platforms with Cisco IOS® Software Release 15.1(4)T. Deployed with WAAS Express, this features allows an end-to-end view into the WAN-optimized network, delivering a cost-effective and scalable solution.
• Flow- and packet-based traffic monitoring: Identifies what applications are running over the network, how much network resources are consumed, and who is using these applications and resources. Provides real-time and historical reports offering traffic statistics related to applications, hosts, conversations, differentiated services code point (DSCP), and VLANs.
• Web-based captures for deep, insightful data analysis: Captures the packets to help resolve acute problems. Captures can be performed using a web browser from any desktop. Extensive capture features, including trigger-based captures, decodes, filters, and Packet Capture Error Scan, help to quickly pinpoint and resolve problem areas.
• Standards-based API: Facilitates integration with customer in-house managed applications or third-party reporting vendor of choice. Eases configuration and export of computed NAM data, building up additional value and building out existing investments. Cisco Prime NAM Software 5.0 introduced the Representational State Transfer (REST)/XML-based API for configuration and NetFlow Version 9 for data export.
• Anytime, anywhere access: Enables web-based access from any desktop, eliminating the need to send personnel to remote sites or haul large amounts of data over WAN links to the central site.
Cisco Prime NAM Software establishes a new landmark in terms of the ability to get to the appropriate information quickly, whether it is data that helps you respond to a help desk call on slow application performance, understand application performance before and after deploying Cisco WAAS, confirm that VoIP performance is rock solid at one of your international sites, or learn whether application performance has also made the leap with your migration from physical servers to virtual machines.
Enhance operational efficiency with faster problem detection and resolution
Cisco Prime NAM Software accelerates problem isolation and root-cause analysis, reducing the time it takes to resolve a performance issue from weeks and days to hours and minutes. The new graphical user interface (GUI) includes prepackaged dashboards with intuitive features, such as interactive reports, contextual navigation, and one-click packet captures that helps to expedite the problem resolution process. The embedded workflows allow you to isolate application problems to the network, the application, or the server. NAM identifies the client endpoints being affected by the performance degradation and the servers that could be the cause of response time delay (Figure 4). The network problems can be further investigated using comprehensive traffic analysis views with detailed information on VLANs, Differentiated Services (DiffServ), hosts, conversation pairs, and application usage. Pinpointing the traffic of interest, you can use packet-based data to perform a "deeper dive" to quickly spot and address issues that affect performance. Operational productivity can be further improved with the use of the Packet Capture Error Scan feature that highlights observed packet-level anomalies, eliminating the cumbersome task of manually analyzing the entire packet capture.
Simplify the delivery of applications and services
Managing application performance entails full visibility across all stages of application delivery, such as profiling, baselining, control, optimizaton, and troubleshooting. Cisco Prime NAM Software implements application performance analytics that can not only characterize the end-user experience but also provide performance visibility across the entire application delivery cycle. It offers you a comprehensive set of transaction-based statistics such as response time, transaction time, data transfer time, and retransmission time. It allows you to monitor and analyze application performance trends for TCP-based business applications and preempt performance issues by enabling threshold-based proactive alerts. The performance data can be rolled up and segregated on the basis of sites that you can create to mirror your network topology. Site-based monitoring can be used not only to track service-level objectives tied to specific sites but also to help to quickly isolate and resolve performance issues, minimizing any impact to the end users at the site.
Gain the most from WAN-optimization initiatives
Cisco Prime NAM Software offers end-to-end application performance visibility in the WAAS environment. The visibility empowers you to effectively use Cisco WAAS to improve application performance. It measures and reports on application response time, transaction time, bandwidth usage for optimized and pass-through traffic, and LAN/WAN data throughput among other performance metrics across all WAAS segments. The software will identify candidate sites and applications that will benefit the most with WAN optimization while quantifying and validating the impact of WAAS on application and network performance. The real-time visibility can also be used for ongoing optimization improvements and troubleshooting performance degradation issues. Figure 5 illustrates the impact of Cisco WAAS on the application transaction time.
Figure 5. Impact of Cisco WAAS on Application Performance
Improve voice service levels with superior voice quality analytics
Convergence of voice and data over a shared network infrastructure offers a new set of challenges in managing voice quality. Voice is a real-time application and is highly sensitive to network parameters such as packet loss and jitter. Cisco Prime NAM Software can analyze voice streams in real time to provide critical performance information, including MOS values, to monitor voice quality. The software can also quickly identify the sites, endpoints, and RTP streams with the lowest observed voice quality, providing actionable information to further investigate the performance issues. Cisco Prime NAM Software offers a number of capabilities that can be utilized for troubleshooting voice quality degradations and improving the end-user experience. For example, NAM provides visibility into QoS/DiffServ reports to help validate QoS planning assumptions and to quickly isolate voice performance degradations possibly due to the impact of other non-business-critical applications.
Extend operational visibility into the virtual switching layer
As mission-critical workloads migrate to virtual servers, visibility into the virtual switching infrastructure becomes critical to manage end-to-end service delivery. Cisco Prime NAM Software provides operational insight into Cisco Nexus 1000V deployments to simplify manageability of the virtual switching infrastructure. It helps enable you to troubleshoot performance issues with extended visibility into VM-to-VM traffic, virtual interface statistics, and application response times. Analyzing the network usage behavior also helps to improve effectiveness of the network to support events such as dynamic resource allocations and virtual machine migrations.
Reduce risk and management complexity with comprehensive network visibility
Cisco Prime NAM helps you in mitigating risk by providing deeper insight into the network when undertaking IT initiatives such as new application rollouts, data center consolidation, and WAN optimization. It helps you to ensure consistent performance levels, optimal use of network resources, and a minimal impact on business during such undertakings. You can also anticipate any infrastructural changes by analyzing resource usage and traffic trends. As a result, Cisco Prime NAM helps enhance IT agility in meeting changing business needs.
Deployment Flexibility with Cisco Prime NAM Product Family
The Cisco Prime NAM product portfolio provides a choice of form factors, offering flexibility of deployment across the network to help enable the comprehensive visibility required to deliver consistent end-to-end application performance levels. In an example scenario illustrated in Figure 6, Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series NAM-3 or Cisco Prime NAM Appliance can be deployed in the data center to monitor performance of TCP-based applications being delivered to remote sites.
Figure 6. Integrated Network and Application Performance Visibility Across the Network
Cisco Prime NAM for Cisco ISR G2 SRE can be deployed in the empowered branch to get full visibility into the traffic entering or leaving the branch, hence offering comprehensive performance views for applications being delivered in the empowered branch.
Cisco Prime NAM for Cisco Nexus 1100 Series is deployed in the data center for visibility into the virtual machine network.
The products within the family may have some differences in terms of feature set. Please consult individual product data sheets for detailed feature lists.
The ordering information related to the Cisco Prime NAM product family can be obtained from the corresponding data sheets:
Realize the full business value of your technology investments with smart, personalized services from Cisco and our partners. Backed by deep networking expertise and a broad ecosystem of partners, Cisco Services help enable you to successfully plan, build, and run your network as a powerful business platform. Whether you are looking to quickly seize new opportunities to meet rising customer expectations, improve operational efficiency to lower costs, mitigate risk, or accelerate growth, we have a service that can help you. For information about Cisco Services, go to http://www.cisco.com/go/services.
Table 2 shows the technical services providing hardware, OS, and application support for the Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module.
Table 2. Cisco Technical Services for Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module
Cisco SMARTnet® Service
• Around-the-clock, global access to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC)
• Unrestricted access to the extensive Cisco.com resources, communities, and tools
• Next-business-day, 8x5x4, 24x7x4, and 24x7x2 advance hardware replacement* and onsite parts replacement and installation available
• Ongoing operating system software updates within the licensed feature set**
Cisco Software Application Support (SAS)
• Application software maintenance and minor updates
• Around-the-clock, global access to Cisco TAC engineers with specialized application software expertise
• Unrestricted access to the extensive Cisco.com resources, communities, and tools
Cisco Software Application Support plus Upgrades (SASU)
• Software updates and major upgrades
• Global 24 hour access to Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC)
• Access to online knowledge base, communities and tools
• Collaborative learning providing additional knowledge and training opportunities
* Advance hardware replacement is available in various service-level combinations. For example, 8x5xNBD indicates that shipment will be initiated during the standard 8-hour business day, 5 days a week (the generally accepted business days within the relevant region), with next business day (NBD) delivery. Where NBD is not available, same day shipment is provided. Restrictions apply; please review the appropriate service descriptions for details.
** Cisco operating system updates include the following: maintenance releases, minor updates, and major updates within the licensed feature set.