Network Associates to Roll Out Sniffers for SMB

The company is expanding its Netasyst line with new distributed network analysis tools.

Network Associates Inc. on Monday will expand its Netasyst line of network management tools aimed at small and midsize businesses.

The latest Netasyst offerings include a pair of new distributed network analysis tools that obviate the need for technicians to take a portable protocol analyzer to the network segment users want to analyze.

The client/server-based version of the tool includes an agent that can be installed on any PC attached to the critical network segments operators wish to monitor, and a console that gathers both statistical data gathered by the agent as well as protocol captures. Both run on Windows XP.

The Netasyst D and Netasyst DX network analyzers both provide remote troubleshooting of 10/100 Ethernet LAN segments from a central location and allow operators to see what kind of protocol traffic is traversing WAN links from remote LAN locations. The Netasyst DX option adds expert protocol analysis and diagnostics to the base Netasyst D.

"The expert system takes knowledge accumulated over 17 years, looks at network traffic and picks out problems based on that knowledge. It runs off a rules set that covers the data to the applications layer," said Steve Finegan, product launch manager at Network Associates in Santa Clara, Calif. Netasyst DX can decode applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server.

"This will allow us to have a client at a remote site and track what kind of bandwidth usage we have on our WAN," said existing user JR Williams, network system engineering lead at Uline Shipping Supply Specialists in Waukegan, Ill. "A program like this will be a great help to see if problems are local or over the WAN. For example, if someone were streaming live music or doing a very large download from the Internet, wed be able to see that traffic going over the WAN link. Itll give us much more in-depth WAN diagnostics that we dont currently have," he added.

By continuously monitoring network segments, operators can get a baseline of normal network performance and traffic behavior to proactively watch for and head off performance problems, security breaches as well as proactively plan for capacity increases to accommodate growth. At the same time, operators can use the tool to verify that network capacity is adequate to handle new applications, recently deployed applications are behaving as expected and planned capacity upgrades are necessary, and minimize the effects of security breaches, according to Finegan.

The network analyzers can also be used to identify over or underused links; spot poor server response due to a lack of CPU or memory resources; detect non-business related traffic as well as inefficient and chatty applications; see server backups occurring during peak usage times; or find unauthorized protocols traversing the network.

The network analyzers will compete with similar tools from WildPackets Inc. as well as Network Instruments LLC. They are due late this quarter. Netasyst D is priced at $1,995 and Netasyst DX is $4,995.

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