Major Mid-West Utility Uses NETSCOUT's nGenius Solution to Assure Data Network Performance Supports Power Operations

29 Mar 2004

Great River Energy Uses nGenius Solution to Ensure Critical Operational Data Flows Across State-wide Minnesota Organization; Ability to Track and Troubleshoot DNP3 Flows a Must-Have for IP-Based Power Regulation

WESTFORD, Mass., March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NetScout Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTCT), a leading provider of enterprise-wide network and application performance management solutions, today announced that Great River Energy is using the nGenius(R) Performance Management System to manage the performance of the critical network and applications supporting its power generation and transmission operations across Minnesota.

Great River Energy is one of the largest generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives in the U.S., supplying electrical power to 28 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Great River Energy system covers 60% of the state, stretching from the Canadian border in Minnesota's Arrowhead, south to the Iowa border, and east from North Dakota to Wisconsin. Great River Energy's power plants supply more than 2500 megawatts of energy to the state. The utility's data network extends from Elk River, Minnesota, where the company's headquarters and main control center are located, to 12 field offices throughout the state.

Plant personnel and field technicians are highly dependent upon the data network for real-time information used in managing the production and distribution of power throughout the state. Even the slightest delay in data can diminish the utility's ability to produce power for consumption or resale, thereby impacting services and/or revenue. By using the nGenius Solution to proactively optimize the performance of its data network and critical information flows, Great River Energy is able to improve the quality of services it delivers to its members in Minnesota.

A prime example of how Great River Energy uses the nGenius Solution to proactively ensure the delivery of real time data is during scheduled outages, when plant maintenance and power generation teams must work quickly to complete a repair session. As a plant goes off-line, on-site technical staff performing the repairs need real time access to plant diagrams and parts information housed in Elk River. At the same time, generation managers overseeing power production need continual reports on the level of energy being produced by remaining plants to guarantee adequate power in all parts of the state. An interruption in repair data or power statistics means that staff must go to manual methods of finding and exchanging information -- thereby lengthening the time-to-repair. Using the nGenius Solution's real time views of the network and its ability to alarm on the responsiveness of individual types of traffic, Great River Energy is able to proactively monitor the flow of information between Elk River and the plants and address performance issues before they impact power operations. In addition, the nGenius Solution's ability to perform in-depth troubleshooting anywhere in the network allows IT staff in Elk River to remotely diagnose and mitigate faults quickly.

"The nGenius Solution helps us make sure information is flowing to the right people at the right time," said Dan Madison, data and telecommunications engineer of Great River Energy. "If we aren't seeing the information we expect to see across our data links, we use the nGenius Solution to get to the root of the problem and correct it in a matter of minutes."

Because Great River Energy's data network encompasses multiple business operations, a tremendous amount of data must be continuously shared across the organization. Using the nGenius Solution's ability to present application response time and utilization information in a unified manner is key in enabling Great River Energy to distinguish between network, system and application problems quickly when they impact business activity. Recently, the company's North Dakota-based staff complained of slow access to capacity statistics needed to sell excess electricity in the open market. Using the nGenius Solution, the IT Group determined it was not a bandwidth problem on the links, but rather an application design problem.

Madison added, "The ability of the nGenius Solution to satisfy both immediate and future needs makes it a core management tool which offers sustained value. In addition to the real time features, we use the web-based reports to communicate more effectively with all of our constituencies. For each IT or business manager, we can assign appropriate levels of data and administration rights for their function. In addition, it will improve our ability to roll out new infrastructure and technologies such as VoIP. NetScout's support of DNP3, a protocol used in the utility industry for remote power management, is another capability with future value. The ability to fully manage and troubleshoot this protocol is a key requirement for migrating to IP-based power regulation."

"Like Great River Energy, organizations worldwide are relying more and more heavily upon networking technologies to automate their business operations," said Jim Frey, vice president of marketing for NetScout Systems. "With this comes a growing need to proactively assure and rapidly troubleshoot the health and efficiency of critical applications and the networks used to deliver them. NetScout's nGenius Performance Management System, based on our unique CDMTM Architecture, is ideally designed for just such a challenge."

About NetScout Systems, Inc.

NetScout Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTCT) is a market leader and pioneer of integrated network performance management products that unify performance across the enterprise. NetScout's nGenius(R) Performance Management System is helping more than 3000 leading companies increase their return on infrastructure investments by optimizing the performance of networks and applications according to business priorities. NetScout is headquartered in Westford, Massachusetts and has offices worldwide. Further information is available at

About Great River Energy

Great River Energy is a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Elk River, Minn. It provides energy and related services to 28 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin, serving approximately 1.2 million people. Great River Energy is the second largest power supplier in Minnesota.

All rights reserved. NetScout and the NetScout logo, and nGenius are registered trademarks of NetScout Systems, Inc. CDM and the CDM logo, and MasterCare and the MasterCare logo, are trademarks of NetScout Systems, Inc. Other brands, product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners. NetScout reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to make changes at any time in its technical information and specifications, and service and support programs.

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