NetQoS Inc. will announce on Monday a product designed to monitor the performance of enterprise applications.
SuperAgent is a passive, server-side combination of preconfigured hardware and software that allows IT staffers to monitor application performance across a LAN or WAN (Wide Area Network). Network managers are able to get a real-time view of response time for any Web-based application, including e-commerce transactions. Performance is analyzed through the use of multilayered graphs and reports, providing chief technology officers and IT managers with information such as server delays, transaction volume and a statistical analysis of those factors.
The appliance also can be configured to trigger warnings through either a SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) trap or e-mail, alerting network managers to six levels of problems. These include high traffic, connection failures, packet fragments and lost packets.
SuperAgent is believed to be one of only a few products of its kind that combines hardware and software into a single, easy-to-deploy appliance with such a sophisticated level of statistical analysis, according to Jean-Pierre Garbani, senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The product provides response times over three areas: networks, servers, and an aggregate of both. This allows network managers to differentiate response times by potential problem area, and pinpoint the cause of application problems, "which is the best way to measure performance," said Garbani.
The product was designed for ease of deployment, requiring only one box to monitor an application across a mid- to large-sized organization, said Michael Turner, executive vice president for NetQoS. The device plugs into the network on the server side of the operation, alleviating the need to install software on every client machine, a benefit for remote users and geographically-dispersed users, said Turner. Multiple boxes might be needed to monitor more than one application at the same time, depending on bandwidth levels, said Turner.
Garbani also noted that, due to this server-side setup, the product presents a good value for mid- to large-sized organizations with several hundred nodes on a network. "It's very cheap compared with having to set up client-side agents on hundreds of machines at about US$300 per (machine)," he said.
The product is currently in beta-testing and is being evaluated by customers such as Curt Aubley, CTO at OAO Corp., a managed service provider. Aubley maintains a network with over 5,000 users, and has been impressed by the ability to have a single point of reference for performance information. One drawback has been the lack of a centralized data repository, which he had to assemble on his own, said Aubley.
Aubley initially thought the device would serve as a security monitor, but was drawn to the performance aspects and will deploy the appliance upon its final release.
"It allows tracking in real time of your SLAs (Service Level Agreements) -- and it validates them."
SuperAgent costs $28,500, comes with a preconfigured Dell Computer Corp. server, and will be generally available on Monday, Aug. 27.