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November 30, 2012

ActionPacked! Network Visualization Tool Now Supports 1M Flows Per Second

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

The latest version of the LiveAction network visualization tool from ActionPacked! Networks – which is available starting today – supports one million flows per second.

“That flow rate, looking at other tools, is very much at the high end,” CEO Dana Matsunaga told TMCnet in an interview yesterday.

The typical flow rate offered by competing products is less than 100,000 flows per second (he said he can think of three products that offer performance in this range) or, more likely, less than 50,000 flows per second.

Larger enterprises and service providers are looking for solutions that address higher flow rates because of the large number of network elements they need to manage, said Matsunaga. Every element in the part of the network that an engineer wants to manage multiplies the flow rate. For example, if there are five routers in the core network being managed, that means the flow rate increases by a factor of five.

Other features introduced with release 2.6 of LiveAction – a software solution that manages, analyzes and configures routers, addressing NetFlow, QoS, Layer 2 LAN, routing plane and IP SLA – include the ability to do spanning tree protocol. This release also offers additional QoS-related real-time statistics for the Cisco (News - Alert) Catalyst 2000 and 3000 devices. Also, MQC configuration support for the Cisco Catalyst 4500 is new. Matsunaga said that it is especially noteworthy because competing products are typically monitoring tools, so they don’t do configuration. Improvements to Mediatrace; new ICMP echo in the real-time application wizard; and added VRF support for jitter, video and ICMP echo in the real-time application wizard are also among the new features available starting today.

Release 2.6 also offers network engineers the ability to interface with probes to get NetFlow data from devices that don’t output NetFlow data.

“NetFlow is becoming more and more an interesting topic to network engineers,” Matsunaga told TMCnet.

The reason that’s happening now, he explained, is due to the increase in network attacks. As a result, people want more visibility into what’s happening on their networks so they can defend against those attacks. The graphical view of NetFlow provided by LiveAction makes that information much easier to understand, he said.

“NetFlow is one of the stronger capabilities we have in our tool,” added Matsunaga.

As discussed in a June posting by TMCnet, Honolulu-based ActionPacked! Networks’ LiveAction solution can allow an organization to see what’s happening with its network and what kind of traffic is flowing over it (for example, if traffic is from YouTube (News - Alert) or another source). The tool uses color coding to indicate the status of traffic. Red is the indication of dropped traffic. When it turns gray that means the router is down. Color coding on connection paths, meanwhile, shows what kind of traffic is on what routes. Users also can opt to see just one type of traffic – like voice or video. The tool also displays various parameters in table format. And users can isolate the flow if something goes wrong and adjust policies in real time.

ActionPacked! Networks, which was incorporated in July 2008, is a spinout of Referentia Systems Inc., which today remains a part owner of the business. The company got its start as a Department of Defense research project to allow the Marine Corps to manage its networks remotely. Now, the Navy is using the solution too. ActionPacked! Networks also sells to commercial accounts; its customers include Air Methods, National Surgical Hospitals, and the State of Idaho.

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