OPNET Enhances Predictive Management Software

Washington, D.C.-based OPNET Technologies has enhanced IT DecisionGuru, software that provides forward-looking visibility into the design and implementation of the network infrastructure to determine whether it will support either existing or proposed service level agreements (SLAs). IT managers use the software to determine what will happen to the network load and existing SLAs if a new application is brought on board.

Changes to the software provide additional automation for users, wireless capabilities and integration of QoS mechanisms.

The new automation capabilities in IT DecisionGuru Version 7.0 are delivered through AppDoctor. AppDoctor takes IT DecisionGuru a step further by automating the interpretation of performance data and providing synthesized results. Previous versions of the software provided information on performance, which users then analyzed. AppDoctor provides automated diagnosis as well as guidance, or suggestions, on the root cause of performance problems.

Version 7.0 also aligns IT DecisionGuru with what Steve Johnson, vice president of strategic marketing for OPNET, calls "a new wave of technology"—wireless. The software now boasts increased capabilities that extends its usefulness beyond the wired network to offer the same kinds of predictive analysis for both wireless and wireline types of networks.

Because of increasing interest in another relatively new arena--what Johnson calls "the known quality of service levels"-- IT DecisionGuru 7.0 allows IT managers to perform predictive analysis in the context of QoS mechanisms. "In many cases the routers and many other devices within the network have certain QoS protocols engaged to guarantee delivery of certain kinds of application traffic with a priority," Johnson explains. "That priority is now accounted for within the OPNET environment. Things like voice-over IP must be assigned a higher priority than e-mail, for example. IT DecisionGuru now provides information not only on how protocol implementations affect performance of time-sensitive or delay-sensitive applications, like voice or video, but forecasts what happens when the IT manager enables a QoS mechanism within the infrastructure. In other words, the software analyzes how that will affect applications that don't have a delay issue, like e-mail or the Web. It determines whether the Web will become very, very slow because you've turned on QoS to accommodate voice or whether the SLA for your ERP application will suddenly become non-compliant."

IT DecisionGuru integrates with HP OpenView as well as other system management solutions. "Our solution is highly complementary to the rest of the OpenView solution set," says Johnson. "We have a very deep level of integration by taking the real-world topology information of the network infrastructure that comes out of OpenView [information on network interconnections and network devices], and we use that information by connecting directly to the OpenView server.

Version 7.0 is available now. Pricing for IT DecisionGuru ranges from $20,000 to $50,000 per seat, depending on the type of analysis IT managers need to conduct. OPNET offers a number of added-value modules that work in conjunction with the base product.