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New WAN Emulator Measures App Performance As Enterprises Migrate To 10-Gbps Networks

Apposite Technologies is introducing a new emulator appliance to test how applications work on enterprise wide area networks (WANs). The Apposite Netropy 10G2 WAN Emulator is designed to test applications that will run on new 10-Gbps networks. An Apposite executive says the migration from 1-Gbps to 10-Gbps networks, suspended during the recession, is now picking up speed.

The new 10G2 model, unveiled Tuesday, is the third emulator in the Apposite Netropy line, which first came out in 2006. Emulators run an application in a simulated environment to determine how factors such as bandwidth, latency, packet loss and congestion will affect application performance. This can give IT administrators a better idea of how well someone in Singapore can hear someone on a Skype call from New York, how a video will look between Beijing and Paris, or how well data entry clerks in Bangalore can access a database in San Francisco. The emulator is a better way to head off application problems than by running the app live on the network, says D.C. Palter, president of Apposite.

"Most people think it's all about bandwidth. They think that if they have enough bandwidth, then everything is going to work fine. And if it doesn’t work fine, we need to add bandwidth. The truth is latency can also have an impact on how the application works, as can packet loss,” Palter says.

The Netropy 10G2 delivers a maximum link speed of 10 Gbps in both directions and, because it comes in a two-port configuration, it offers a total system link speed of 40 Gbps, Palter explains. The predecessor N60 and N80 models deliver only 1 Gbps, and are suited for use in branch offices, while the 10G2 is suited for higher volume data center-to-data center environments.

An emulator tests how apps perform and how the software can be optimized to run best on that specific network configuration, he says. It can also be used for vendor comparison to show that Application A runs better than Application B.

Demand for WAN emulation is driven of late by a transition to 10-Gbps networks from 1G, Palter says. WAN migration was brought to a near standstill in 2008 when the economic recession hit, particularly the near collapse of the banking system--big users of enterprise IT.

"Suddenly this year all of those 10-gig projects got resurrected," he says. "But if they’re going to move up to 10 G, they need to know how their apps will perform on that network."

There are two models of the Netropy N10G: The model configured for 10 Gbps carries a starting price of $35,000, while there is a model suited for 1 Gbps networks with a starting price of $25,000.

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