Packeteer Delivers SNA QoS over IP

In a move to ensure the performance of mission-critical host and e-business applications over enterprise Wide Area Networks (WANs) and the Internet, Packeteer Inc. (Cupertino, Calif.) has enhanced its PacketShaper product with Web-enabled host access support.

The primary beneficiaries of this enhanced SNA over IP technology will be those previously wary of sending time-sensitive, transaction-based information over IP networks. By upholding SNA Quality of Service (QoS) over IP, the need to maintain separate SNA and IP networks is greatly reduced.

The demand for Web-enabled host access indicates companies are evolving traditional green-screen access to AS/400 and mainframe environments to a Web-type of interface, according to Todd Krautkremer, VP of marketing for Packeteer. "The problem that occurs when you take that step away from any kind of green-screen emulation toward a browser-based access medium is that you've gone to an all-IP network and as a result you have lost all the application level class of service features that SNA provided," he says. "What we in essence do is deliver SNA-like class of service to these all-IP network models, where people are using browser-based access to the [back-end server]."

PacketShaper with Web-enabled host access support is designed to deliver a number of SNA's most popular QoS features, including session-level class-of-service, traffic pacing and response-time monitoring. The solution can now discover and classify several different Web-enabled host access traffic types, such as TN5250, TN5250p (print), TN3270, TN3287 (print) and 3270/5250-to-HTML emulation, as well as OpenConnect's JCP protocol. In addition, Packeteer works with application vendors such as Hummingbird Communications Ltd. (North York, Ontario), Attachmate Corp. (Bellevue, Wash.), OpenConnect Systems Inc. (Dallas) and Esker US Inc. (Stillwater, Okla.) to identify and optimize their applications across WANs.

Using the PacketShaper's core technology--its capability to discover and classify all the traffic that would be running from, for example, a remote branch into a data center that has AS/400--the user can discover not only the TN5250 and browser-based access to the AS/400, but also all the other traffic that is competing for bandwidth with those sections, according to Krautkremer. "That would allow the manager to use our product to analyze who's using what bandwidth and to understand how to begin to implement policies that can control this utilization and ensure that the interactive, former SNA users are getting the type of response time and throughput necessary for their particular applications."

About 70 percent of Packeteer's customer base uses one or more members of the IBM server family, including AS/400, RS/6000, S/390 and Netfinity. Overall, about 25 percent of Packeteer's customer base uses AS/400 technology. Krautkremer says he expects the number of Packeteer's AS/400 user base to change dramatically with the announcement of Web-enabled host access.

--L. Greenemeier