Shunras Network Modeling Tool Replicates WANs

Shunra Virtual Enterprise 3.5 can simulate between 10 and 50 users and test dynamically changing network environments.

Shunra is preparing to give network architects and planners an even more accurate replica of production environments to test out the effects of new applications on enterprise networks when it launches the next major release of its Shunra Virtual Enterprise software.

Release 3.5 of the software, previously called Storm, delivers integration with Segue Softwares SilkPerformer load-testing tool, greater scalability and the ability to dynamically route traffic during testing.

To understand how users will experience an application running over a production enterprise network before new applications are rolled out or infrastructure changes are made, Virtual Enterprise replicates a WAN, with a specified number of remote offices, and simulates background traffic.

Then it runs the actual application and real traffic through the simulation environment to provide a more accurate view of how the application will impact the network and measure the quality of how the network operates under changing conditions.

Although it is used primarily by network architects and network planners, the software can also be used by developers and Quality Assurance testers.

"You dont need to be an expert in networking. It allows everyone to collaborate and use it in different [life cycle] phases," said David Hochhauser, vice president of marketing at Shunra Software Ltd. in New York.

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The integration with Segue Software Inc.s SilkPerformer, which builds on the tools existing integration with Mercury Interactive Corp.s LoadRunner, allows an application script to be run simulating thousands of users over the replica environment.

The new ability to dynamically route applications traffic to different destinations allows users to test dynamically changing network environments such as disaster recovery, business continuity and network load balancing.

"We automated that testing to occur so that once an hour or every 20 minutes, itll dynamically switch under different network conditions to a different data center to see what would happen and see if it can handle the changes," Hochhauser said.

The software can also change an IP address to see how an entire transaction is affected, or what happens to data integrity if some of the data is modified. Up to 100 remote offices can now be modeled.

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Virtual Enterprise, which competes with modeling tools from Opnet Inc., includes a hardware appliance that runs the core emulation of the network and interfaces to create the automated user transactions.

A separate software component interfaces with load-testing tools such as SilkPerformer, and a custom automation agent allows integration with third-party testing tools and job schedulers. A centralized console controls all the components and a Catcher allows users to capture actual network conditions at up to 50 locations at a time.

The new release is available now.

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