New 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. launched ServiceWatch last week, a software tool

that alerts administrators to possible causes of downtime long before they

affect end users. 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 Simple Network Management

Protocol notification on a network management system, Prodan said.

Extreme's federal customers include NASA and agencies throughout the 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 happens, 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.


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