CA targets quality of service

Computer Associates International is readying software to help companies ensure their networks deliver appropriate service levels to end users.

The new tools, currently in beta form, are add-on modules for NetworkIT 2.0, CA's Unix and Windows NT-based network monitoring and management product. NetworkIT works with CA's flagship Unicenter TNG enterprise management software and handles tasks such as discovering devices on a network and predicting potential net failures.

One new module, NetworkIT QoS, lets companies prioritise certain types of traffic and see to it that enough network bandwidth is available to support that traffic.

Using a server-based Policy Manager, IS staff can define which classes of applications or end users will get priority treatment, and when. After the rules are set, the Policy Manager posts them via agents to other servers and clients through the network, instructing them to give special priority headers to appropriate IP packets. The headers will tell downstream routers to guarantee delivery of priority data over other types of traffic.

NetworkIT QoS can also exploit Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP) technology to tell the network to allot bandwidth in advance of priority traffic arriving, says Trevor Kemp, a CA executive. Network professionals can define the rules on the Policy Manager via a Web-enabled graphical user interface.

The other new module, NetworkIT Service Level Management Option, assists users in implementing service-level agreements (SLA). The product gathers a wide variety of statistics about the network and assesses them to determine if a given SLA is being met and to alert net managers if it is not, Kemp says.

The software can also be used to define SLAs for workgroups, business processes and individuals.

NetworkIT 2.0 is available now and pricing starts at $7,000 for managing 1,000 devices. CA has not announced yet when the modules will become generally available or how much they will cost.

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