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N+I: Network management tools plentiful at trade show

Network management and optimization tools are hot at this year's NetWorld+Interop conference in Atlanta. There's lots of technology to choose from for harried network managers looking to get more out of their existing infrastructure.

ATLANTA -- A number of companies at this year's NetWorld+Interop show are offering network management and optimization tools to help network managers better utilize their networks.

C. Gordon Beleya, a senior network analyst with the Canadian national library and archives in Ottawa, said learning what is and isn't performing well on his network is a high priority. "Anything that will make my job easier and frees up staff is a big help," he said. And with budgets tight, he's always trying to get better performance out of his existing infrastructure.

Beleya is overseeing the merger of the Canadian archives and library, which is leading to a massive integration of two networks that were once separate. For starters, finding out exactly what's on the two networks is a big leap forward. And anything that will monitor those systems for him will help.

"When the economy is doing well, people are investing in new things. When the economy is doing poorly, people want to maximize what they already have," said Dan Klimke, marketing manager for Everett, Wash.-based Fluke Networks Inc., which provides network monitoring tools.

There are a number of companies at this year's conference that are offering tools to help people like Beleya manage their networks and get more for the money they've already spent.

Klimke said his company is focused on helping network managers map their networks and troubleshoot. If an application is running too slowly, Fluke Networks' OptiView can help network managers determine where the problem may lie by continuously monitoring the networks devices and documenting connectivity.

The company also has a mobile device called LinkRunner that plugs into a company's Ethernet, provides throughput analyses and can ping a server.

Other productivity tools available

AppDancer Networks Inc., a Roswell, Ga.-based start-up, provides a similar service, but it analyzes at the application layer. The company's founders helped to create Sniffer, software that starts with the application layer. Rather than analyzing the network from the packet up, Sniffer traces each activity that occurs in an action like checking e-mail. It records time between steps and allows network manager to view actions either in real time or in batches.

Radware Inc., a Mahwah, N.J.-based company, helps increase the productivity of existing networks by enabling load balancing both on a company's local area network and over Internet connections, if it has multiple Internet service providers.

Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates International Inc. has launched a product called Unicenter, which aggregates much of the data from companies like AppDancer, Spirent, Symbol and others into a single interface. It is currently using this software to monitor the event network at N+I.

Melvin Estrada, technical director of Computer Associates, said the market for network-monitoring tools has grown so much that there is an overload of information available. A product such as his is necessary to aggregate the network information and present it in an easy-to-use interface.


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