CA launches network performance mgmt. software

Computer Associates International last week rolled out software designed to watch traffic and map the physical relationships between applications and the underlying infrastructure that supports them, which the company says will speed problem resolution and improve performance.

Unicenter Network Forensics and Unicenter Network Forensics Mobile Edition are part of the Unicenter Network and Systems Management portfolio. They perform traffic monitoring and packet analysis to diagnose and resolve network problems.

Unicenter Network Forensics consists of a server component that can be installed on a dedicated server and software agents CA calls collectors. The collectors are installed on servers or devices in specific network locations to watch traffic. They differ from agents deployed in typical network management products in that network managers need not deploy a collector to every managed device. One collector can monitor multiple managed devices depending on the amount of traffic it generates.

By watching network traffic patterns, the Forensics software alerts companies about potential problems such as an overloaded router, slow server or poor desktop application performance. The server software also stores and correlates data to spot trends.

The Mobile Edition can be installed on a laptop and lets network managers perform diagnostics on access points and specific departmental servers, and identify rogue mobile or wireless users.

The Forensics software uses CA's recently announced Sonar technology, which watches traffic, and builds physical and logical relationships among network devices, servers, storage and applications. Sonar is intended to work in real time to relate business service performance and automate responses to problems to the infrastructure supporting applications. The idea is to help users spot problems causing poor performance for business-critical applications, says David Hochhauser, CA vice president of Unicenter Solutions.

Rich Ptak, principal at research firm Ptak & Associates, says CA's Sonar and Network Forensics software offer customers an automated way to build relationships between applications and the infrastructure components that support them. Network managers typically use a combination of the original network topology and information stored in disparate locations about adds, moves and changes to understand the physical and logical topology of their networks. Ptak says tools such as Network Forensics and BMC Software Inc.'s new Service Impact Management (SIM) are attempting to provide an accurate map of applications and network devices, and their relationships.

BMC's SIM, released last week, builds a map of the network and connects the dots between network components and the applications they support. Unlike CA's Forensics, BMC's SIM uses modeling technology the company acquired from its IT Masters purchase to build the same application and infrastructure relationships.

Pricing for Unicenter Network Forensics and Network Forensics Mobile Edition starts at US$45,000.

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