Streamcore bolsters WAN visibility features

* QoS capabilities and reporting also enhanced in StreamGroomer 3200

Visibility is a key component of application delivery. Without it, how does a company realize the traffic-management and performance benefits of WAN application and application acceleration gear? 

Streamcore’s goal with the new version of its flagship appliance, released a few weeks ago, is to deliver real-time network visibility (and application controls) at gigabit speeds, without interfering with traffic. The StreamGroomer 3200 appliance is designed to help IT and data center managers control the performance of their business-critical applications, including VoIP, over the WAN.

New to the appliance is a “tap mode” that lets companies analyze real-time traffic transparently and securely, says Ahmed Benazzou, network engineer for Streamcore’s professional services group. “The beauty of this is that it doesn’t affect the traffic,” Benazzou says.

The tap card is built into the box and copies network traffic so that performance measurements can be done on the replicated traffic. Deployed inline with copper or optical Ethernet interfaces, end-user traffic is exchanged directly between Ethernet ports through the appliance, while only a copy of traffic is processed for performance measurements, Streamcore says. In this way, the tap deployment is transparent to duplex and speed port negotiation, which can create a problem for some inline appliance installations. (Compare Application Acceleration and WAN Traffic Optimization products)

One company using the StreamGroomer 3200 is AG2R, an international insurance and retirement funds company that recently merged with pension and estate planning insurance company La Mondiale.

AG2R is using Streamcore’s gear to manage its voice and data traffic. In particular, AG2R is prioritizing VoIP traffic for all its call centers and using Streamcore’s visibility features to monitor call quality and troubleshoot application performance. The 3200’s reporting tools provide a high-level picture of WAN usage and performance, broken down by business unit.

Fabrice Leyglène, director of networks and security at AG2R, cited the Streamcore 3200 appliance’s “ability to provide strong gigabit visibility and to fine tune applications with network and application reporting.” In addition, “the simple administration and management made it easy for application delivery, and it allows our IT staff to focus on other critical projects,” Leyglène said.

Streamcore gears its products both for large enterprises like AG2R and service providers.

Service providers can use Streamcore’s gear and multi-tenancy capabilities to offer managed application services such as network and application monitoring, QoS controls, and management portals. As business users look for more application-specific service-level agreements (SLA) from their managed service providers, Streamcore can help, says Mel Melara, vice president of service provider markets for Streamcore.

Customers are asking service providers “for more information about the applications,” Melara says. “We’re seeing that trend. They all want the ability to provide that next level of visibility.”

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.