Network Physics Simplifies Application SLA Management

Network Physics' NetSensory 6.1 adds at-a-glance views of application performance with its new SLA Dashboard.

Application performance management vendor Network Physics on Aug. 10 will release a new version of its NetSensory monitoring tool that gives IT administrators and CIOs a quick view into whether application service-level agreements are being met.

Network Physics, which focuses on helping IT administrators and network operators locate the source of application performance problems across multiple IT infrastructure elements, will deliver a new SLA Dashboard in NetSensory 6.1 that provides at-a-glance status information on the performance of Web applications and applications from vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft.

The new SLA Dashboard provides red, yellow and green depictions of end-to-end performance and a quick view into whether any monitored application is meeting its performance SLA for a given group of users. It displays different business groups as columns with the applications they use displayed as the rows.

"It gives that visibility and [lets users] dive down to see whos not getting adequate service and why," said Scott Safe, vice president of marketing at the privately held company, based in Mountain View, Calif.

The new dashboard allows beta testers at Interface Solutions to troubleshoot problems faster, according to Stephen Janosik, manager of IT at the manufacturing company, in Fulton, N.Y.

"Im an IT manager with many things on my plate. The SLA Dashboard lets me take my different business groups and gives me a green-red-yellow light effect. I can leave the SLA Dashboard up on a monitor [and] if it goes red, I can click on it and drill through [to isolate a fault]," he said.

While the SLA Dashboard provides high-level views of application performance, it also allows operators to view more fine-grained details of the performance individual end users are experiencing, Janosik said.

"Say a Domino server is having a problem and response time is now over 100 milliseconds. That could be a yellow alarm. When you click through, you can see the IP addresses that are involved [that are] causing that. You can see that while most people have 30 or 40 millisecond response times, someones skewing the average with 500 milliseconds," he said.

It also addresses a long-standing issue with NetSensory, which provides "hugely complex, but rich information that was overwhelming to people," said Dennis Drogseth, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates. "Theyve grown by focusing on how to make harvesting the kinds of data they can gather accessible. Dashboards are a critical step in that direction. You can look at specific application flows and identify them in all their dimensions."


Click here to read more about Network Physics NetSensory appliance.

The new SLA Dashboard capability builds on previous efforts to make the application performance metrics gathered by the NetSensory appliance easier to read and interpret.

NetSensory 6.1, which competes with network performance flow analysis tools from vendors such as NetQoS, NetScout Systems and Network General, also adds the ability to gather performance metrics based on traffic from different VLANs (virtual LANs) based on the IEEE 802.1Q specification. The new VLAN tagging capability in NetSensory enables users to read and interpret fields in IP packet headers and to group traffic by individual VLAN.

In addition to the optional software module Network Physics made available earlier in 2007 to provide more detailed insight into the performance of VOIP (voice over IP) traffic, Network Physics is developing metrics to measure the "perceptual quality" of video over IP, Safe said, though he declined to say when such metrics would be made available.


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