Getting the Most Out of ATM WAN Links

Compuware enhances Network Vantage to help determine whether non-critical applications are using up expensive ATM WAN bandwidth.

Compuware Corp. on Monday will help WAN managers better understand how their expensive ATM WAN links are being used through new support in its Network Vantage performance management tool for 155M-bps ATM OC-3 links.

The Farmington Hills, Mich., management software provider created an add-on probe module for Network Vantage along with a kit that includes a network interface, a tap and the cables necessary to passively tap into the ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) link coming into a customers ATM switch or router.

The network performance tool allows users to monitor the traffic flowing across the link, distinguishing between thousands of different applications such as Oracle and protocol traffic such as File Transfer Protocol. Network Vantage also allows users to define homegrown applications. Once the data is collected, it is classified by conversation and application and can show response times, latencies and other performance attributes for each application.

An interactive viewer in Network Vantage provides views into top users, top servers and clients, and so on. The tool also provides historical usage trending.

The new ATM module specifically reports traffic volumes by access circuit, as well as traffic volume, throughput and usage by virtual circuit. Virtual circuit reports can show all applications or specified applications. The module supports OC-3 multimode links, but will add support for single-mode links later this year. Compuware also intends to extend its passive WAN monitoring to 44M-bps DS-3 links by years end.

The ability to determine whether non-critical applications are using up expensive ATM WAN bandwidth can be a cost savings mechanism for enterprises looking to get the most out of those links, according to Lloyd Bloom, product manager for Network Vantage.

"If youre trying to manage the cost of the link, you have to know how the traffic breaks down to implement policies to reduce the traffic demand. Often, you will find that the traffic is not all critical, and you can even reduce the speed of the circuit [to save money]," he said.

Bloom acknowledged that Compuware is late to market with its ATM support, compared with competitors such as NetScout.

"Clearly guys like NetScout as far as understanding the ATM protocol have a jump on [Compuware]. If theyre going to have a cohesive story, they have to support the ATM infrastructure thats out there," said Glenn ODonnell, program director at Meta Group Inc. in Palmerton, Pa.

The Network Vantage ATM WAN module is available now, priced starting at $19,000.

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