Network General adds app intelligence to network tools

Software to aid network management

Network General this week announced three new products the company says will help network managers better track NetFlow data, provide insight into virtual environments and monitor application performance across distributed networks down to the user device.

The company, best known for its protocol analysis technology, says the product enhancements will provide network managers with tools to manage applicat">Sniffer protocol analysis technology, says the product enhancements will provide network managers with tools to manage application performance across IT domains. Network General, which competes with NetScout, NetQoS, Fluke Networks, Network Instruments and Network Physics, says the new releases will further expand its network-centric tools into the realm of application and server monitoring to help customers get a more complete picture of performance.

For instance, Network General released its Flow Collector, a software add-on to its Visualizer 4.5 appliance, to collect data from Cisco NetFlow and other third-party data sources. The data would provide application performance-related measures to the company's Network Intelligence Suite, officials say.

"We wanted to provide customers with more analytics around the data we are already collecting and add to that," says James Messer, Network General technical marketing manager. The software, which installs on a dedicated server, works with the Visualizer appliance to create baseline performance reports, collect NetFlow and other flow data, and correlate network and application performance data into one management console for customers, he says.

"It will alert on anomalies in known behavior and help network managers spot trends," Messer explains. Flow Collector pack for Visualizer 4.5 costs $US10,000 and $US500 per NetFlow source device.

Network General also added support for virtual server environments with a second software enhancement to the company's NetVigil 4.5 release, software the company acquired last year with Fidelia. Free as an upgrade to existing customers, Virtualization Forensics will provide performance data specific to virtual machines from VMware and Microsoft. The software can discover the servers, their usage and hosted application usage, making it possible for network managers to use NetVigil to identify likely candidates for virtualization among existing servers and applications, Messer says.

"Network managers can be overwhelmed with the amount of information they have to do deal with when it comes to virtualization," he says. "This helps them look at the components of their virtual environments without requiring a lot of customization."

Virtualization Forensics is included with NetVigil 4.5, which also integrates with the company's Visualizer appliance to provide performance data across distributed networks. NetVigil 4.5 costs $US50,000.

Lastly, Network General will next week make available an Application Intelligence software module to work with its InfiniStream 4.0 product. Capturing the user experience, Application Intelligence can filter traffic based on client, server, application, circuit or time to speed problem identification. Network managers, using role-based access, can isolate application performance degradation while reducing the complexity of packet decode analysis, the company says.

"This is all about the application. It will correlate network, server, database, application and other metrics to let network managers know what is happening with their application at any given time," Messer says.

The software loads on top of Network General's InfiniStream 4.0 platform and costs $US12,500 for a single processor box and $US17,500 for a dual processor appliance.

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