Apparent Puts a Lot of Network Management into a Small Package

Apparent Networks has made its living by selling high-end network performance management platforms costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to enterprises. Now Apparent is putting many of those network performance management capabilities into PathView, a new product aimed at network engineers that can be downloaded from the Internet and costs $3,000. Though limited in such areas as scale, PathView delivers many of the same features as its larger AppCritical sibling.

Apparent Networks is taking many of the features found in its high-end, enterprise-level network performance management software and packaging it into a single-user license.

Apparent Networks May 4 is rolling out PathView, which offers network engineers a tool available over the Web that brings them the same capabilities-though with some limitations in such areas as scale-the vendor sells to enterprises in its AppCritical offering.

"Instead of this big, enterprise infrastructure sale, this is targeted at network engineers for their tool set," said Jim Melvin, president and chief marketing officer at Apparent. "It's a tool versus a big platform."

Until now, the 8-year-old company has made its living selling implementations of its technologies to enterprises, service providers and carriers for hundreds of thousands of dollars, Melvin said. PathView is available starting at $3,000, though Apparent is offering a 30-day free trial of the tool.

PathView can be downloaded here, and users can sign up for the 30-day trial here.

Driving the need for greater network performance management is the growth of network-intensive applications that rely on Internet connectivity, such as VOIP (voice over IP) and video, as well as some applications used in the financial services sector.

"There are apps in the financial service [market] where milliseconds matter," Melvin said.

In addition, more businesses-small companies as well as large enterprises-are looking at outsourced disaster recovery and unified communications services, he said.

The goal of PathView-and its larger AppCritical sibling-is to ensure that such network-intensive applications are working properly and delivering the expected levels of service.

Essentially, the PathView technology sends out a handful of data packets per minute to test the performance of the network, Melvin said. The technology not only can help network engineers assess the readiness of the network to handle such latency-sensitive applications as VOIP and video, but also troubleshoot performance problems by determining the location and cause of performance issues.

It also will continuously monitor the application service paths and report back on path performance.

Melvin said Apparent made PathView available to some customers in mid-April, and that more than 250 network engineers have downloaded the product.