Companies add spice to network management tools

“Network management
is more than mapping and monitoring drives.”

Network management browsers are taking off in new directions.

Loran Technologies Inc. of Vienna, Va., dubs its Kinnetics Network Manager a
server-mounted appliance that plugs into a network and maps and manages its devices. The
product marks a shift by Canadian parent company Loran International Technologies Inc.
away from hardware to software.

“We’ve got to get out of the hardware business” where competition has
driven down profit margins, Loran executive vice president John Virden said.

Meanwhile, LANQuest Inc. of Fremont, Calif., which introduced the NetClarity enterprise
network performance management application last year, has brought out a suite of seven
low-priced tools based on NetClarity.

“We are taking a completely different approach,” chief executive officer Gail
James said. Managers of small to midsized networks cannot afford products in the $10,000
to $20,000 range, James said.

“We concluded if we reduced our price tenfold, we would increase our market a
hundred-fold,” James said. Products in the new suite are $99 to $1,995 per
50-segment license.

Kinnetics automatically discovers and physically maps the network when plugged in,
providing conventional network management functions as well as monitoring tools. It
pinpoints faults rather than reporting problems, and it produces detailed performance
reports with predicted future values.

Kinnetics Network Manager is browser-based and comes as a prebuilt Web server on a
Pentium system manufactured by Loran. Making it an appliance with its own box eliminates
software installation chores for the administrator, Virden said.

“Regardless of what you tell users about what they need for a server, they always
get it wrong,” he said.

LANQuest’s NetClarity Suite also has a browser interface. The server application
runs under Microsoft Windows NT and manages a host of agents for remote monitoring,
traffic verification and remote analysis.

“Network management is more than mapping and monitoring devices on the
network,” James said.

The base price for each NetClarity tool covers agents for 50 LAN segments, each
supporting 15 to 25 users.

Network Checker, which measures connections and response times and does remote
route-tracing, is $99. The $495 Load Balancer tool measures bandwidth use. The $995 Remote
Analyzer Probe gathers data and sends it to a protocol analyzer in a Sniffer format from
Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

A $995 Service Level Manager measures response time and network availability. The
$1,195 Capacity Planner, which also uses Service Level Manager’s capabilities,
emulates traffic to model infrastructure changes.

NetClarity Complete folds all the components into one $1,995 package. LANQuest also
expects to offer a $1,995 option that works with Computer Associates International
Inc.’s CA-Unicenter TNG platform. 


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