To give enterprises a closer look at the performance of the growing number of applications on their networks, Equant N.V. plans to roll out by years end a fully managed application monitoring and reporting service. With minimal hardware and software installed at the customer site and the analysis components managed by Equant, the Application Visualizer reports such performance metrics as response times and traffic levels.
An enterprise could install and maintain all the equipment and software needed for such in-depth application monitoring and reporting itself, but it is expensive and complex. "This technology was really hot stuff about three or four years ago, but customers got burned because they were trying to deploy it themselves," said Kumar Perianayagam, product manager for Application Visualizer at Equant, in London.
Equant, majority owned by France Telecom, installs probes—which are PCs loaded with software from Compuware Corp.—within the enterprise LAN or WAN. The probes view each packet that crosses their path, recognizing the type of application, origin, destination and size, among other things, without intruding into content, Perianayagam said. "At no point do we actually see the data within the packet," he said.
At the Equant service management center in Slough, England, a Probe Manager collects data gathered by the probes and stores it. Then it is consolidated and reports are compiled. "This is the clever bit of the service," Perianayagam said about the compiling component, called Interactive Viewer. Typical reports include the top applications at a company location, the most frequently accessed URLs, and which users access which Web sites. The reports can be viewed online.
Equant, which is trying to transition itself from a service supplier to more of a consultancy, can monitor applications pro-actively or reactively, if a customer calls in with a problem. Because the application environment is constantly changing, the company meets monthly with customers to review the service. "Were not selling reports, were not selling consulting, were not selling equipment," Perianayagam said. "What were offering is a fully managed service."
The company, which is registered in Amsterdam, is targeting large, multinational customers. It has tested Application Visualization with a large insurance company and multinational manufacturers.