Corvil Unveils Its Latest Network Monitoring Appliance

The company's CorvilNet 4.0 correlates monitoring data with remote appliances.

Corvil has rolled out the latest version of its CorvilNet monitoring and bandwidth provisioning analysis appliance, and the London Stock Exchange has selected the product to monitor quality of service on its IP-based electronic trading network.

CorvilNet 4.0, announced Oct. 22, passively monitors traffic across networks in segments below 1 microsecond in length and correlates monitoring data with remote appliances to give a complete picture of latency, jitter, packet loss and other phenomena that affect network and application performance.

The London Stock Exchange has been using CorvilNet to achieve low latency in TradElect, the exchanges new electronic trading system, since June 18. "To achieve our latency and performance targets for TradElect, we needed network visibility at submillisecond granularity," said Robin Paine, the exchanges chief technology officer. "We use this microvisibility to provision the network for low latency."

"This is a product focused on how to deliver high application service quality on top of IP networks in a real-time world," Corvil CEO Donal Byrne said in an interview with eWEEK. "In high-end environments, like the e-trading and financial services space, [network managers] are trying to take milliseconds of latency off networks. If you can drop a millisecond off, youre a hero."

Based in Dublin, Ireland, Corvil was founded in 2000 by a group of researchers at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. "The company was founded on the promise of some mathematical and algorithmic work done [at DIAS] focused on the question of how do we program networks to deliver a precise level of quality of service for specific applications," Byrne said. "At that time, the telecom folks involved had decided IP wasnt ready to provide these services."

But now, with the emergence of Web conferencing, VOIP (voice over IP), virtualized desktops, Web-based applications such as those based on AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and other Web 2.0 technologies, as well as much higher IP network capacity, Corvil has begun to gain traction, Byrne said. The startup counts Cisco Systems among its investors. Byrne said Corvils customer base is "more than 10 but less than 100."


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The latest version of CorvilNet adds support for 10 Gigabit networks, as well as the end-to-end analysis functionality that the company calls Passive Network Quality Monitoring, or PNQM. "For every packet [that the appliance records], we compute a signature and a time stamp," said Byrne. "When it exits on the other side of the WAN, we time-stamp it, and we can correlate the data across the whole network. That way, we get a very accurate view of the performance of the network. You can determine, if theres a service-quality violation, did it occur in your network or the service providers cloud."

IDC analyst Tracy Corbo said the level of understanding that products such as CorvilNet provide about IP networks is essential for running mission-critical applications. "I dont understand why everyone isnt doing this [sort of] root- cause analysis," Corbo said. "The traffic on networks has become increasingly complicated, and its become difficult to prioritize traffic without really understanding the network."

Using a set of algorithms originally developed at DIAS, the appliance can analyze and isolate "microbursts" of network traffic—small spikes in network utilization triggered by application responses that can cause problems in the transition from LANs to WANs, especially for applications such as hosted Citrix sessions, Web 2.0 applications and other software that send bursts of data in response.

CorvilNet analyzes data and generates recommendations to network managers on how to better provision their networks—as well as sets of CLI (command-line interface) commands that can be uploaded into routers and switches for application performance management.


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