Packeteer sharpens tools for managing WAN application performance

* SLA features help enterprises control application performance, reliability

The tools enterprises use to speed up applications have in the past been viewed as a network add-on, something tacked on to make the end-user experience a better one. But lately WAN optimization efforts have become much more strategic -- probably because enterprises can’t ignore that their networks are increasingly distributed and the applications running on them are increasingly varied and demanding.

With that in mind, Packeteer this week shared details about its product plans for the next couple of quarters. One key new product from Packeteer is IntelligenceCenter, an application and WAN management platform (compare products) that’s designed to help enterprises more easily monitor, enforce and optimize application performance across a distributed network. The IntelligenceCenter platform can scale to manage up to 2,500 PacketShaper, iShaper and iShared appliances.

Significantly, it includes a new Application Service Level portal, which gives enterprises tools to set and monitor application service levels, according to company priorities, for all file-based, transactional, voice and video applications. This way companies can make sure their most critical applications are delivered within a specified performance range, even during peak conditions and without over-provisioning networks.

One thing that’s noteworthy about IntelligenceCenter is that it can aggregate application performance data from multiple sources -- not just Packeteer gear. The new platform supports multiple data formats, including Netflow-5, Packeteer-2 FDR, XML, and SQL. (See my colleague Tim Greene’s story for more details on this).

IntelligenceCenter is the starting point for a new class of products that will change the way applications and services are delivered to any user, anywhere across global networks, said Dave Cote, Packeteer’s CEO and president, in a statement.

“By unifying application SLAs, performance monitoring and reporting, and device management into a single dashboard that is easy to use and navigate, we're giving administrators unprecedented network visibility and control,” Cote said. “This will become increasingly valuable as enterprises gain a deeper understanding of their application performance to set policies that assure service levels and fully leverage business processes.”

Over the next few months, Packeteer also plans to announce its high-speed product architecture, codenamed Turbo, which will enable multi-gigabit throughput for its appliances. The first product to use the new architecture will be the vendor’s high-end PacketShaper 10000 data center product.

Turbo also will let enterprises do bandwidth partitioning, enforce policy controls, and monitor application traffic for high capacity MAN links, Internet 2 and aggregate WAN/MPLS links.

Also on tap is a new version of Packeteer’s Mobiliti client software that adds certain caching capabilities and acceleration technologies for VPN and remote connections.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.