Tool stamps out network downtime

Federal network administrators seeking to eliminate disruptions from spikes in traffic or around-the-clock usage have a new tool at their disposal.

Extreme Networks Inc. on Monday launched ServiceWatch, a software tool that alerts administrators to possible causes of downtime long before they impact the end user. ServiceWatch offers Layer 7 (application-level) health and performance monitoring and management of up to 1,000 services through a Web-based interface.

Administrators specify usage thresholds and capacity planning for service type, location of service, user name or password, and other variables, said George Prodan, vice president of marketing for Extreme, Santa Clara, Calif.

"The end user wouldn't even know it's running," Prodan said. "The administrator gets an alert long before the end user would experience any degradation in service."

Administrators are alerted by e-mail, pager or via Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) notification to a network management system, Prodan said.

Extreme's federal customers include NASA and agencies throughout departments of Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services, all of which will be initial target markets for ServiceWatch.

The product is available for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris operating system, and versions for Linux and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT and Windows 2000 will be ready by the end of the year, said Tim Aiken, product manager for network management applications at Extreme.

Another future feature will enable administrators to program automatic fixes into the system so that if a certain type of disruption takes place, corrective action is immediately taken to coincide with the alarm, he said.

The company's products are available on the General Services Administration schedule, and ServiceWatch should be added within the next 30 days, according to a company spokeswoman. Pricing ranges from about $3,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of services the product watches. A free 30-day trial copy is available online at


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