Clearer Vision on the Way

Clearsight's protocol analyzers give visibility into the application layer.

Clearsight Networks Inc., formerly AppDancer Networks Inc., is rolling out new protocol analyzers that provide visibility into the application layer for less experienced users.

While most protocol analyzers operate at lower layers of the network and require expert network engineers to understand the protocol decodes, the new ClearSight Analyzer provides a visual representation of complex data to speed the identification of network problems at the application layer, according to Tom Orr, president and CEO of ClearSight Networks, in San Mateo, Calif.

"Were providing an end-user view of the problem so network administrators can see and hear what the user experienced at the time the problem occurred," Orr said. "We focus [on] the application layer, where most of the problems are occurring."

The tool provides trouble-shooting for a variety of applications, including VOIP (voice over IP), and it can serve as a mechanism for greater collaboration among network operators and applications managers, said ClearSight Networks officials.

When problems occur, the tool re-creates what the user viewed or heard, such as a live VOIP call, a command-by-command hack into Telnet or an entire database transaction for real-time analysis.

"We can monitor Domain Name System, FTP, Telnet, HTTP, SMTP, [Post Office Protocol], SQL, Oracle, Exchange and even voice applications like H.323 protocol," said early user Warren Hill. Hill is senior network engineer for Indus Corp., a contractor for the Department of Transportation, in Washington.

"If you have any problems, it has an indicator that lets you know you have problems with these message flows," said Hill. "I can just click on a particular applications icon, and itll bring up a long screen where I can look at the conversations between two hosts.

"A novice can see the conversation in plain English instead of all the hex codes," Hill added.

Included in the real-time monitoring and trouble-shooting tool is an application flow analysis capability that diagrams client/server conversations and a content flow analysis function that pinpoints the source of the problem at any layer of the network. The tool is also capable of testing response time and availability against service-level agreements.

ClearSight, which received an undisclosed amount of venture backing from Japanese distributor Toyo Corp., also announced the ClearSight Analyzer 10/100 Full Duplex, ClearSight Analyzer Gigabit and ClearSight Remote protocol analyzers.

Within the next year the company will add wireless support, further application decodes and enhancements to its remote offering.

All four offerings are due within 30 days, according to company officials. ClearSight Analyzer is priced at $5,995 through the end of the year, after which the price will rise to $7,995. The other offerings range from $7,995 to $34,995, officials said.

ClearSight Networks was created in 2001 by former employees and founders of Network General Corp. and Cinco Networks Inc.