Does your network ever experience times when the performance seems a bit sluggish? Do users complain it takes longer to do their normal tasks? When performance drags, can you quickly pinpoint the cause? It could be any one of a hundreds things, like a zombie PC that has been taken over by spyware, or a bandwidth-hogging application, or a user downloading illegal videos, or\u2026 The list is almost endless.Finding the culprit can be a morass of time-consuming trial and error, as you consider one possible cause after another. That is, unless you have an intelligent network appliance from Cymphonix Corporation. Cymphonix offers appliance solutions that bring together network analytics, threat management and network optimization technologies. Think of it as business intelligence for your network. The result is network event correlation that allows you to easily spot the problems that occur when users, applications and threats fight for network resources.Cymphonix has developed patent-pending technology it calls "cross layer intelligence," or XLi. This technology scans, identifies and controls traffic coming in from and going out through the network gateway. It scans six of the seven layers of the OSI model, and after the scan, you have secure, intelligent data that is prioritized for increased performance.The appliance, called Network Composer, gives you three products in one package. It offers security features, such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, a firewall, peer-to-peer control, and content filtering. It allows you to optimize your resources, with application shaping, bandwidth optimization, quality of service for voice over IP, and other management tools. Finally, there are the real-time and historical analytics, which allow you to see exactly what is and has been happening on your network. The powerful correlation of events lets you see how individual events converge to shape the performance and use of your network.Perhaps the best thing about Network Composer is that it is extremely visual, with lots of colorful charts and graphics. When you are viewing a network scan report, the problem areas just jump off the page at you. With another click or two, you can view all the details of what's going wrong, as well as manage the situation. For instance, let's say a user has activated a peer-to-peer application to download songs while at work. You can immediately spot this bothersome application, identify the exact program and user, see how much bandwidth it is consuming and what hours of the day it is running, and disable the application or lower the priority of resource allocation.The appliance administrator would typically start by setting global policies for the whole organization, and then handle exceptions on a case by case basis. For example, perhaps you'd want to shut down any and all access to IM applications. Then, when you discover that a user has a legitimate business need for IM, you can give his machine permission to run it. Or, perhaps you know that the payroll application runs every Thursday starting at 8:00 PM. You can assign the highest priority to this application to ensure it has the resources it needs.According to Cymphonix, the appliance is geared toward organizations that have several hundred to a thousand users. The company's largest customer today has 3,000 users under management on a single device. Multiple device configurations are also possible.To catch a glimpse of this product, view the online demonstration. If Network Composer has caught your interest, sign up for an evaluation unit to give it a try. Once installed, you'll be amazed at what you can learn - and literally see - about your network's performance. And once you know exactly how resources are being used, you can manage them in an intelligent way to get better performance and ROI on your technology investments.