Computerworld

Device offers SNA-style reliability for IP links

Packeteer is shipping a device that would make it easier to migrate networks based on IBM's System Network Architecture (SNA) to newer IP-based technologies.

The company's PacketShaper offering enables Web-based access to host systems while taking advantage of SNA's traditionally reliable response times, according to Jennifer Geisler, product marketing manager at Packeteer.

PacketShaper classifies traffic traveling over an IP network, analyses the performance of host access transactions, and controls the flow of data, providing for quality of service (QoS), Geisler said.

"PacketShaper gives you the required amount of bandwidth with priority designations to get information through efficiently, so the less-important traffic doesn't run you off the network," Geisler said.

"If you're doing [electronic] commerce, you can't afford for people to wait, because people don't wait, and they won't wait, and they'll go someplace else," Geisler said.

Other QoS features include end-to-end response-time monitoring and the ability to set policies based on applications, making sure that an e-commerce transaction gets through the network before Web browsing that is less time sensitive.

Many corporations stick with SNA because they cannot afford to risk IP delays, said Donald Czubek, an analyst and president of Gen2 Ventures in California.

"One of the reasons these companies haven't migrated has been performance concerns," Czubek said. The PacketShaper 1000 supports traffic up to speeds of 384Kbps at a price of $US4000. PacketShaper 2000 supports T1 and E1 connections up to 10Mbps at a price of $8000, and PacketShaper 4000 supports T3 and E3 links at a price of $16,000. www.packeteer.com