Buyer's Handbook:

Navigating the network analytics software buying process

What you should know before buying network analytics tools

Today's network analytics software provides networking pros with actionable insights they can use to address complex problems and pinpoint potential network performance issues. Network analytics taps into the information generated by traditional network management tools, but it mines that information in several different ways.

Traditional network monitoring products provide useful information, but they are siloed and work independently. Network analytics software uses data flow collection methods to gather data and then analyze it using methods that encompass both machine learning and AI. This allows the analytics platform to determine the root cause of many network problems, including bottlenecks, latency or jitter, environmental hardware issues and security breaches. These tools can also generate data that can be used to predict future networking demands.

Before selecting a network analytics tool, it's important to assess the organization's network infrastructure and the network monitoring tools in place. This makes it possible for an organization to determine how much analytics it needs as well as know how the tool will integrate with existing network components.

This buyer's guide examines key considerations for evaluating network analytics tools, features and functionalities. An important consideration when selecting network analytics software is the type of vendor. Here, we examine 10 top offerings from a mix of vendors -- from traditional enterprise networking suppliers to niche players and startups. A roundup of these leading products provides an in-depth look at vendor type, deployment mode, specific features and technical support options.