As application traffic over the corporate LAN grows, its importance to everyday business increases as well. Now one company is offering a product that helps IT departments learn more about how application traffic is affecting the overall network.
Last week, Burlington, Mass.-based Relicore Inc. released Relicore Clarity version 3. The product not only discovers dependency maps of application traffic, but tracks changes in real time. With this product, IT administrators can begin to understand how traffic is moving from server to server.
"This is not a planned map or a map of how the traffic is supposed to look; it is an actual map of application traffic," said Blair Wheeler, co-founder and vice president of marketing at Relicore.
That mapping is increasingly important because businesses are adding and upgrading applications at a tremendous rate, said Jasmine Noel, founder and principal analyst with the Boston-based consulting agency JNoel Associates. Referring to a survey published last week, Noel said 33% of respondents deployed new applications once every two months, and 3% percent deployed a new application every day. The survey relied on data gathered by Java application management software provider Wiley Technology.
Besides becoming home to new applications, networks are changing in other ways, too. The whole environment is dynamic, Noel said. "If you manually map the network and then someone adds a new router, then the map will be useless," she said.
Companies need to understand how infrastructure relates to application performance, Noel said. Relicore's ability to generate real-time maps at the server is a big start.
One large Silicon Valley high-tech manufacturer has been using the Relicore product for some time. The company, which requested anonymity, deploys 50 applications every quarter, while also enduring a consistently large volume of infrastructure changes.
Clarity helps the IT staff to understand how changes affect the existing applications on the network. And it enables them to troubleshoot application problems much more quickly, the company's senior IT manager said.
The Relicore product is compatible with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris database and Microsoft's Windows IIS metadata repository. In the future, the IT manager said, he would like the ability to push patches and upgrades into the server environment.
While Relicore's product and those emerging from other vendors have value, they may be a tough sell, said Corey Ferengul, a vice president with Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Meta Group. Rank-and-file IT workers know there is a need for these products, he said, but it will take some selling to get management to really understand the value.
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