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Senior Editor

Network Associates software optimizes SMB nets

Apr 13, 20043 mins
Data CenterSmall and Medium Business

* Network Associates’ Netasyst software tailored for smaller companies

Network Associates this week will unveil a pair of products designed to provide small to midsize companies with the protocol analysis, network optimization and troubleshooting expertise common in large enterprise IT shops.

The company is planning to ship Netasyst D and Netasyst DX, software to help companies with between 100 and 1,000 employees perform ongoing network monitoring, which could be difficult for smaller companies with small IT staffs.

The two versions provide essentially the same functionality, but Netasyst DX includes intelligence the company has compiled over the years about common problems with network traffic. Steve Finegan, product launch manager, says the analysis included in the DX version can be traced back the company’s first product launch in 1987.

“The intelligence included can help less experienced network managers uncover many issues that may be unknown to them, but have been discovered and resolved successfully over the years,” Finegan says. The pricing reflects the added intelligence, as the DX version costs about $5,000 and Netasyst D is priced just less than $2,000.

Finegan goes on to say that either version will help IT staff optimize their nets or get a better handle on what’s happening at branch locations. The software includes agent and console software, which Network Associates provides at no extra cost. That means network managers can install as many consoles as they feel necessary. The products support 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet, and the agent software resides on a Microsoft Windows XP server on the critical network segment or branch office to be monitored. The console software can be installed on any workstation or user PC.

The agent monitors all traffic and performs two functions. It logs all statistics, such as protocols running on the wire, average response times and bandwidth-hogging applications. And it captures packets, to let network managers store packet data for analysis at a later time. Finegan says Network Associates’ experience with packet decodes enables the software to perform accurate packet decodes for troubleshooting purposes.

“If the information in the packet decode is not complete or accurate, then troubleshooting won’t work either,” he says.

The software also can help network managers optimize the infrastructure they already have, Finegan says. By logging traffic and establishing baselines of traffic flows, network managers can identify under- or over-utilized links. IT staff could determine if bandwidth could help traffic flows or if it would be an unnecessary investment because performance problems lie in the application or the server instead, for example.

“IT staff can also recognize applications that may be for non-business purposes or non-urgent traffic being sent during peak traffic hours, and shut those down,” Finegan says.

Netasyst D and DX join other products in the Netasyst line that monitor LANs, and wireless networks, both 802.11 and 802.11b.