WebTrends Reporting Center 4.0

For those who find it essential to monitor intranet usage and traffic, WebTrends has long been regarded as the best log analysis software for Windows NT and 2000 systems. Having been absorbed by NetIQ in March, they are redefining the way they do business with their latest release.

By Alex Goldman | Posted Aug 14, 2001
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WebTrends debuted its new logo Monday, released its revamped website, and announced it would redefine Web metricsor at least transform the analysis of Web metric analysis.

The WebTrends website has been redesigned; utilizing information gathered from its own software. The site design is intended to help the various WebTrends customers find what they need quickly. Like a chef who eats the food he or she cooks, the fact that WebTrends uses its own software is a most sincere endorsement.

The software maker is focusing on building better, faster, and easier-to-read Web stats. With its 4.0 release this week, WebTrends now offers three new mid-range software bundles, the Enterprise Server product plus special editions of the software, one for service providers and another for large enterprises. But you need to know what WebTrends defines as a large enterprise before you can select the suite that suits your business.

Size Matters
Before examining WebTrends new offerings, we need to think like WebTrends software developers. Since it only deals with customers' websites, not its customers' businesses, WebTrends measures the size of a company's Web presence, rather than its offline business.

Jason Campbell, WebTrends Reporting Center product manager, notes that some really huge businesses have only a small Web channel. Additionally, WebTrends has developed proprietary specifications in order to define a large log file, but large log files don't necessarily indicate a large Web presence. Confused? Campbell explains.

"Different log files that take up the same amount of disk space can take different amounts of time to analyze. An Apache log file uses very short lines and therefore contains many records while a Microsoft IIS log file recording the use of dynamic content will have fewer records because the data requires longer lines," Campbell said.

"We prefer to think of logs in terms of records per second analyzed, and a log file that requires that 7,000 to 9,000 records be analyzed per second is a large file," he added.

Extreme Bandwidth
WebTrends 4.0 also accounts for the intensity of a client's Web presence. Businesses that use streaming media, host multiple sites and mirror sites, or host hundreds of domains -- like some Internet service providers -- require special log file analysis. For example, WebTrends top-of-the-line software upgrade includes something called VRM, short for Visitor Relationship Management. It's like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), but differs because it analyzes database-driven e-commerce website log files by visitor, not necessarily by customer.

The WebTrends Reporting Center Series is made for medium to large businesses and includes the functionality of the former Enterprise Reporting Server (ERS) product, plus various optional modules. New features include the ability to isolate visitor behavior of those using PDAs or WAP phones.

Also new is the ability to analyze the use of streaming media in great detail. WebTrends can measure the amount of data delivered by Real, Quicktime, and Windows Media servers, and can check how much of a streaming media clip was viewed. The software includes more than 250 predefined tables and graphs so that users can extract a plethora of minute details about their website performance.

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