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RouteScience, IBM partner for better app performance

RouteScience is hoping its new partnership with IBM will not only improve application performance for Big Blue's server customers, but also build its own customer base while making its software easier to deploy.

RouteScience Technologies, Inc. this week unveiled a partnership with IBM that will let businesses use its adaptive networking software to improve application performance over the wide area network using IBM servers.

The company's Adaptive Networking Software 5 (ANS5) software, which optimizes the flow of application traffic across wide area networks, will now be available on IBM eServer x305, x355 and x345.

Previously, the software was only available on RouteScience's own servers. "IBM can roll out new hardware an order of magnitude faster than we can," said Tim Lee-Thorp, vice president of marketing at RouteScience, San Mateo, Calif.

The new software is available for $7,000 for a small branch office and up to $87,000 for a large data center.

With this partnership, RouteScience will have to adjust its business model to focus on software rather than hardware revenue, said Peter Christy, principal analyst at NetsEdge Research Group, a Los Altos, Calif. consulting firm. But it is a move that makes the company's software easier to deploy and may open it to a larger customer base.

RouteScience's ability to manage application traffic across the WAN helps business customers balance traffic loads between carriers, improving overall application performance.

Internet routing is controlled by Border Gateway Patrol (BGP), which is designed to maintain the health of the overall network, not the quality of individual applications that move across the network, Christy said. That can be a problem for sensitive applications such as VoIP.

As businesses come to rely on wide area connectivity for applications like VoIP and CRM, they need to be able to help mange application traffic across public networks, Christy said.

"Companies are realizing that the quality of application performance does not so much depend on the computer resources at the home office, but on the network," Christy said.

RouteScience's software monitors 27 network criteria to help direct traffic across WAN links. It manages traffic for the specific needs of certain applications, Lee-Thorp said.

The software also works in conjunction with other vendor's products that are also trying to address the same problems. For example, RouteScience is often installed alongside packet shaping software from vendors such as Packeteer, Inc., of Cupertino, Calif.

The ANS5 has become valuable to IPR, Inc. a business recovery service provider and web hosting company in Omaha, Neb. IP Revolution also resells RouteScience's ANS.

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The company, which provides WAN services to its customers, was having problems managing WAN traffic in the middle of long distance connections. It was looking for another way to load balance and manage WAN traffic, other than building its own remote monitoring applications.

IPR is using RouteScience software to balance traffic between its three service providers. Kevin Dohrmann, IPR's chief technology officer, said IPR was able to trim its network bill by making better use of less expensive services from second-tier vendors.

IPR has also installed the software internally to improve the quality of its VoIP calls from remote offices. Though those offices use cable and DSL modems over public networks, and not VoIP connections, trouble tickets concerning voice quality have dropped by 90% since installing RouteScience, said Dohrmann.

Ultimately, Dohrmann would like to see RouteScience expand its software to enable WAN monitoring rather than just improving application performance. But that is currently not in the company's plans, he said.

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