Troubleshooting tool seeks out network problems

NetQoS has released version 2.0 of SuperAgent, its network performance-measuring tool.

NetQoS has released version 2.0 of SuperAgent, its network performance-measuring tool.

The software now permits multiple SuperAgent appliances to share collected data between them. The upgrade, said Michael Turner, executive vice-president of NetQoS, will help network administrators in quickly identifying network problems without having to install client-side agents.

"Finding it [the source of the network slowdown] is one of the biggest problems," said Turner. "Without SuperAgent, enterprises must deploy a group of five to 10 people to identify the cause. And that takes time and energy."

First introduced in August 2001, the SuperAgent appliance is plugged into the mirror port found on most switches and collects performance information passively from the TCP headers of traffic. Upon collection the data is broken down into several performance categories, which then allow administrators to identify the source of the network slowdown.

NetQoS said their tool monitors TCP, FTP, Telnet, and HTTP and HTTPs protocol-based traffic and can be configured by network administrators to send alerts when a certain level of performance is not being met.

Installed near application servers on a mirrored port, SuperAgent analyses response time in five different categories. SuperAgent monitors connection time, server delay time, retransmission time, data transfer time, and the entire time from request to delivery of an application.

The real-time data captured is viewable by a Web-based interface and with Version 2.0 the data from multiple SuperAgent appliances can be viewed together in one place. Future plans for the product include tying in tools that allow administrators to fix the problems once identified.

The company recommends installing one appliance for a server farm that supports a single application. Pricing for SuperAgent 2.0 is $28,500 (£20,000) for a standalone configuration and $45,000 (£31,600) for the management console. Data collectors will cost $9,500 (£6,700) in a multi-unit configuration.

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