Observer Probes


Precision Performance that Goes the Distance

Aggregate information across network sites near and far.

Deploy Excellence in Precision Probe Technology 

Featuring Gen2 Capture Intelligence.

Whether your network stretches across the building or the globe, Observer Probe appliances cover your edge and remote network sites with advanced analysis technologies. They aggregate information across network sites near and far — extending your reach without sacrificing monitoring integrity. The Observer line of software and hardware Probes monitors network activity across multiple topologies with robust intelligence and a menu of rich features. Use Probes for troubleshooting, collecting NetFlow data, proactive monitoring, long-term data collection, network forensics, and more.

As enterprise networks continue growing, Probes provide performance management support for multiple departments, locations, business functions and remote users. This robust remote monitoring solution when used with a console, gives IT managers and engineers the power to proactively monitor, troubleshoot, and respond to network problems from any location. Probes offer deep insights and 360 degrees of visibility into every element of an organization’s business-critical IT infrastructure. Choose software Probe options or from a variety of pre-configured rack mount systems for an easy, cost-effective way to monitor any part of the network.


  • Gain insight and visibility into the entire network
  • Manage remote networks as easily as local
  • Aggregate information across sites for global health
  • Get support for the following topologies:
    • LAN
    • Gigabit, 10 Gb, and 40 Gb
    • Wireless (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • Fault tolerant 1U and 2U chassis

Our business can’t survive on hope alone. With Observer’s Gigabit Probe, we can access multiple links and get detailed, full-duplex analysis on all network traffic, including Internet activity.

- Weather Services International

We were quickly able to make our WAN more efficient by controlling what data was being sent and when. This was the key aspect to relieving our network congestion.

- Jack in the Box

Key Features

Use Observer Probes with Observer Analyzer and Observer Apex to deploy features that quickly help troubleshoot and resolve issues. Probes are hardware appliances that run Observer Probe Instance Software, providing enterprise-wide views of network traffic. With Probes, there's no added time or expense involved traveling to remote sites when a problem occurs – see everything you need from your desktop.

Use Probes as a part of the Observer Performance Management Platform to get the following features and more:

Access the Power of Probes Plus ObserverAccess the Power of Probes Plus Analyzer

Monitor and troubleshoot critical network links in any location in real time, using the Probe-Analyzer power duo. Probes report to the Analyzer console for complete video monitoring support to tracking end-user experience.

Features include:
  • Expert Analytics
  • Alerts
  • Metrics
  • Packet Capture
  • In-Depth Details

Pair Probes with Apex for Greater VisibilityPair Probes with Apex for Greater Visibility

Get a top-down approach that combines enterprise-wide views, macro- and micro-level reporting, and deep drill-down for problem resolution with Apex.

Features include:
  • Full-Featured Reporting
  • Trending
  • Baselining
  • Aggregate Visibility

Increase Troubleshooting Efficiency

Accelerate troubleshooting with Probes using real-time Expert Analysis locally at the Probe, without transferring captured data back to the console.

Get Unmatched Distributed Visibility

Distributed visibility is offered with Probes. Deploy Probes to various observation points to monitor traffic, correlate analysis, and more.

See All Your Data with Flow Aggregation

View the complete picture with flow data aggregationfor a unified report of all network sites.

Optimize New Technology

Probes assist with reporting on key technology initiatives such as UC, virtualization, and cloud.

For companies that can't invest in dedicated Hardware Probes, Observer Software Probes provide a low-cost monitoring alternative. Easy to install and configure, they support Ethernet, Gigabit, and wireless. Ideal for analyzing low-utilization gigabit network speeds, the Observer line features a variety of Software Probes.

Also available, Observer Hardware Probes can manage high-utilization, full-duplex gigabit or 10 Gb networks.

Whether Hardware or Software, Probes can be selected to meet the specific needs of your organization.

Product Options

Observer Probes are available in a wide selection of hardware appliance, portable options, and dedicated RNA devices.

Observer Software Probes

Observer Software Probes support Ethernet, Gigabit, and wireless topologies. They're designed for analyzing speeds of up to low-utilization Gigabit networks via a SPAN/mirror port on a switch. Easy to install and configure.

Features include:

  • Decodes for Countless Protocols and Sub-Protocols
  • Real-Time Statistics
  • Long-Term Trending
  • Simultaneous Multi-Interface Monitoring
  • Remote Real-Time Access for Multiple Administrators
  • Supports Industry's Largest Capture Buffer
  • Remote Expert Analysis in Real-Time

Gigabit, 10 Gb Probes Appliances

Probes offer full-duplex, wire-speed capture and analysis on Gigabit and 10 Gb links. The Observer Performance Management Platform excels in Gigabit and 10 Gb monitoring because of its superior hardware technology built on the internally designed Gen2 capture card. The Gen2 guarantees full-duplex, wire-speed monitoring and analysis.

Comprehensive monitoring and analysis technologies include:

  • Real-Time Expert
  • UC
  • In-Depth Analytics
  • Aggregate Performance Monitoring

Observer Ethernet Probe Appliances

Monitor 10/100/1000 network links by deploying Observer Probe appliances throughout the enterprise. Ethernet Probe appliances provide real-time Expert processing, in-depth analytics, and extensive decodes. They also connect to the Observer Apex for aggregate performance monitoring. Choose the 10/100/1000 Probe for monitoring one or two links.

Observer Platform Integration

Observer Probes are part of the Observer Performance Management Platform. They work with Analyzer consoles for analysis and Apex for high-level performance visibility.

  • Probes work with Analyzer to provide Distributed Analysis which includes: App Performance Analysis, App Transaction Analysis, comparison analysis, traffic flows, visibility into other environments, and more.
  • Paired with Analyzer, Probes also provide detailed information across multiple segments, multiple locations, and across heterogeneous environments.
  • Probes provide remote visibility when used with Apex, a data source for the high-level reporting environment. 
  • Drilldown from Apex into Probes provides root-cause analysis for problem resolution.

Product Integration Graph

How are Observer Probes Deployed?

Observer Probe placement is critical. Failure to deploy the right probes in the right place can result in network blind spots, leading to inefficient troubleshooting and expensive mistakes. It's also essential to place Probes in high-traffic areas to capture the data you need.

Since a Probe only shows the analysis data it can see, where to deploy Probes depends on your network's architecture and where visibility is needed. For example, an Ethernet Probe's visibility is limited to what a particular switch's SPAN/mirror port can deliver. A specialized Hardware Probe connected through a TAP sees only the traffic traversing that link. If you want 100 percent coverage, install TAPs on all the high-speed critical links in or near the core of your network, and plug Probes into the SPAN/mirror ports of switches on the edge.

Best Practices

Hardware Probes:

  • Consider whether you want to use SPAN vs. TAP.
  • Network Core: Use Gigabit, 10 Gb, and 40 Gb appliances
  • Network Edge: Ethernet Probe appliances

Software Probes:

  • Appropriate for analyzing speeds of up for low-utilization gigabit networks via a SPAN port on a switch.

When sharing files or filters between Probes, updating Probes, and for Probe authentication, use a Probe management tool like Observer Management Server, a centralized Probe management system for enterprise networks.

What's New?

2U Form Factor Fault tolerant 1U or 2U chassis

All hardware Probes are now built on a rock-solid 1U or 2U enclosure that offers high levels of fault tolerance and optimal performance.

Native IPv6 Communications

Get advanced support for IPv6 environments. As you shift to IPv6-based networks, the Observer Platform provides native IPv6 communications options within pure IPv6 and mixed IPv6/IPv4 environments.

Gen2 Capture Card Enhancements

  • Faster, more flexible gigabit and 10 Gb packet capture and RNA
  • Synchronized hardware-accelerated filtering for up to 12 ports
  • Flexible hardware deduplication (100 percent dedupe efficiency, no latency introduced)
Gen2 Capture Card


Internally designed and manufactured to seamlessly execute the precision-driven analytics and capturing power of the GigaStor.


Ensures the fastest real-time packet capture, largest buffers, and highest port density in the industry.

Probe Centric Analysis

Observer Platform users can now add more points of visibility without impacting network traffic. This allows for:

  • 97 percent reduction in overhead and bandwidth
  • Ideal for the world’s largest analysis deployments
  • Increased scalability in enterprise environments

Technical Specifications

With several options available, Observer Probes are purpose-built to meet your needs. Use the technical specifications to help identify the right Probes for your Observer Performance Management Platform deployment.

Software Probe System Requirements


Dual-core; 2GB memory; Windows 7 64 bit; one copper or fiber 10/100/1000 Ethernet monitoring port in addition to an out-of-band Ethernet management port.


Quad-core; 8 GB memory; Windows 7 64 bit; two copper or fiber 10/100/100 Ethernet ports, in addition to an out-of-band Ethernet management port.

Hardware Probe Tech Specifications

All Hardware Probe appliances connect to any Observer Analyzer Expert Edition or Suite console on the network. Observer Probe appliance units include all required cabling, and a 10/100/1000 Ethernet management port.

Model Description
10 Gb Probe High-performance monitoring
Ethernet Probe Single, Multi or Expert versions
Gigabit Probe Supports up to 6 links (or 12 ports)