Tool aimed at boosting 'untapped' ATM

Compuware Corp.'s ( NetworkVantage has added ATM WAN management to its WAN performance analysis capabilities, supporting OC-3/STM-1 links, with plans to add support for DS-3 and E-3 links by summer, said Lloyd Bloom, NetworkVantage product manager.

While ATM growth in the enterprise market is "not huge," said Bloom, "we see a lot of untapped existing deployment out there. It's a way to go after new customers." Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is a network technology based on transferring data in cells or packets of a fixed size vs. TCP/IP, in which messages are divided into packets that can take different routes. Compuware's NetworkVantage ATM WAN support includes reporting of traffic volumes by access circuit, as well as traffic volume, throughput and utilization by virtual circuit.

The value proposition for the enterprise, noted Bloom, is the potential deferment of bandwidth upgrades -- a way to save money in an IT environment pressured to cut costs -- by allocating bandwidth more efficiently and identifying and eliminating non-business traffic. ATM WAN management "expands the ability to get information on how networks are being used," said Bloom. "Through analysis, you can make decisions: Can I allocate bandwidth to a more heavily used circuit? Do I want this peer-to-peer traffic coming over here -- which is probably MP3 files and illegal -- and consuming bandwidth? What we're looking for are conversations between end users and end users, and between end users and servers. It's not used to profile users as much as to look at performance problems, and then what users or applications are the ones to address."

Application visibility in the ATM environment can also help developers to build better applications, said Bloom. "You can see if applications are having performance problems and how that relates to the latency of the network relative to traffic; it gives clues to applications that are 'chatty' -- bringing back data in small chunks instead of large ones. When working across the WAN, the latency of the WAN amplifies every short message or data transfer, so you start collecting latency. If you had longer messages or longer transfers, then latency is less. This helps organizations to see how efficiently they've written the application." Once a problem with latency is discovered, Compuware's Application Vantage can be used to help identify and resolve application performance problems, Bloom said.

NetworkVantage support for ATM WAN is available immediately; ATM Adaptation Layer 5 (AAL-5) is supported. Price starts at $19,000.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.


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