Packeteer, Attachmate team for legacy QoS

Packeteer and Attachmate are teaming to give mainframe and AS/400 users the quality-of-service (QoS) levels they've had with SNA using TCP/IP instead.

As more companies look to Web-enable their legacy applications, using the Internet as an integral part of the network is also becoming important.

What they don't want, however, is a new batch of family photos arriving via e-mail and taking bandwidth away from business resources such as call-center applications. That's why prioritising and controlling traffic, an integral feature of SNA networks, is important when moving to IP.

Because campus LANs typically run much faster than their WAN counterparts, companies can run into problems. Activities such as file transfers tend to be bursty and use so much bandwidth that interactive applications such as 3270 transactions have to take a back seat.

That leaves users with poor response times, says Don Czubek, president of the Gen2 Ventures consultancy in Saratoga, California.

Under the deal inked last week, Attachmate will resell Packeteer's PacketShaper hardware and software fully integrated with Attachmate's e-Vantage platform. E-Vantage is the firm's Web-to-host communications software.

The ability to integrate the two companies' products gives users a simpler way to manage traffic and set policies that can allow for better legacy QoS. The combination could also free customers from having to maintain parallel SNA-TCP/IP networks typical of mainframe and AS/400 environments. Those parallel networks are costly not just in terms of the hardware and software needed to run them, but also the time network administrators must spend managing them, observers say.

Packeteer's PacketShaper hardware and software sits between an IP router and Ethernet LAN, classifying traffic.

It works by using policies set by a network manager to give priority to business-critical applications, while controlling the bandwidth for noncritical applications.

The company last fall outfitted PacketShaper with Web-enabled host access support and SNA QoS features, such as session-level class-of-service, traffic pacing and response-time monitoring.

PacketShaper can recognize and classify up to 150 different types of Web-to-host traffic, including TN3270, TN5250 and 3270/ 5250-to-HTML emulation.

PacketShaper is priced between $4,000 and $16,000, depending on configuration, and is available now.

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