Talari Networks Inc. rolled out new software that allows enterprises to accurately check the performance of all of their WAN links.
The WAN monitoring application, APN Aware, dovetails with the vendor's Adaptive Private Networking (APN) WAN appliances. It provides users with a centralized and historical record that details WAN link performance and measures components, including jitter, latency and packet loss.
This will allow you to compute the cost-efficiency of those links, given the demands you are putting on the network. It's a far more interesting problem.
Peter Christy, 451 Research
Delivering that level of detail is a logical extension of Talari's appliances, said Peter Christy, research director of networks at New York-based 451 Research. The devices essentially create a virtual network overlay on the physical WAN by dynamically cobbling together the resources of each link -- both primary and backups -- that an enterprise might need to funnel its WAN traffic. Depending upon the traffic being transmitted -- whether it's voice, video or another form of data -- the appliances mix and apportion the bandwidth needed to ensure applications reach their destination without degradation.
"The interesting twist is that [Talari] is a system that lets you manage both the physical and logical networks and their attributes," Christy said. "What was doable in the past was looking at all the WAN technologies you were using individually and then measuring cost and performance. Now, all of a sudden, the networking team has the opportunity to change out the [WAN links] in order to permit the network to perform better or more cost-effectively, and that was the part that didn't exist before when apps tended to be wedded to a specific technology," such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).
"This will allow you to compute the cost-efficiency of those links, given the demands you are putting on the network. It's a far more interesting problem."
Talari WAN monitoring software will provide DSC Corp. with centralized view
David Badgley, senior systems engineer at construction materials supplier Dayton Superior Corp. (DSC) in Miamisburg, Ohio, is anticipating rolling out APN Aware throughout his company later this year. The company has 25 APN appliances anchoring a WAN that consists of an MPLS backbone and cable, DSL, and fiber backup.
"We look forward to having data collected from the APNs at our fingertips," he said. "Having that central vantage point is the most important benefit, and it will also give us a centralized place to troubleshoot" performance problems.
"Our management wants us to monitor the network and to continually improve performance, so we hope to use [APN] Aware to meet that need and to provide the metrics they want," Badgley said.
Additionally, collecting real-time performance data should give DSC ammunition to verify the service-level agreements it now has with its MPLS provider Windstream. "We will be able to pinpoint performance, and say, 'This is what we are seeing; your portal is showing us something different.'"
To underpin APN Aware, Talari built a centralized data warehouse to store all of the information generated by its APN appliances. Customers install a server at their location to access their WAN link performance data and view it through a Web interface.
"We have appliances in each location, all reporting network information in real time, so we have an incredibly accurate view of the network," said Talari Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Gavin. "Each business can view and understand their own network performance, and it's not just that, but also being able to evaluate and report on the quality of links from your providers, whether it's AT&T or Comcast or whomever. You now have the ability to understand [and] accurately measure the quality of each link in your network."
APN Aware is available for a one-time license fee of $10,000, plus an additional $500 per APN-equipped location. After the initial cost, annual support fees apply.