SuperAgent, which goes on release on 27 August at $28,500 (£19,560), is a passive, server-side combination of pre-configured hardware and software that allows IT staffers to monitor application performance across a LAN or Wide Area Network (WAN).
Network managers are able to get a real-time view of response time for any Web-based application, including e-commerce transactions. Performance is analysed through the use of multi-layered graphs and reports, providing chief technology officers and IT managers with information such as server delays, transaction volume and a statistical analysis of those factors.
The appliance can also be configured to trigger warnings through either an SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) trap or e-mail, alerting network managers to six levels of problems, such as high traffic, connection failures, packet fragments and lost packets.
SuperAgent is believed to be one of only a few products of its kind combining hardware and software into a single, easy-to-deploy appliance with such a sophisticated level of statistical analysis, according to Jean-Pierre Garbani, a senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group.
The product provides response times over three areas: networks, servers and an aggregate of both. This allows network managers to differentiate response times by potential problem area, and pinpoint the cause of application problems, "which is the best way to measure performance," said Garbani.
Michael Turner, the executive vice-president for NetQoS, said the product was designed for ease of deployment, requiring only one box to monitor an application across a mid- to large-sized organisation. The device plugs into the network on the server side of the operation, alleviating the need to install software on every client machine.
The product is currently being evaluated by customers such as Curt Aubley, the chief technology officer at OAO, a managed service provider in the US. Aubley maintains a network with over 5,000 users, and has been impressed by the ability to have a single point of reference for performance information.
One drawback, said Aubley, has been the lack of a centralised data repository, which he had to assemble on his own.
Aubley initially thought the device would serve as a security monitor, but was drawn to the performance aspects and said that his company will deploy the appliance upon its final release. "It allows tracking in real time of your SLAs [Service Level Agreements], and it validates them, " he said.