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Verizon Business Application Assurance SaaS Bring APM To The Masses

Verizon Business Application Assurance brings active and passive Application Performance Monitoring  (APM) to their Private IP customer base. Application Assurance integrates with their management portal, Verizon Enterprise Center, providing a seamless management experience. Application Assurance will be available in December, 2009 and offers long term and short term deployments. Managed APM can be very cost effective compared to purchasing and an APM software suite.

Application Assurance includes pre-deployment consulting with Verizon to determine the applications that you want to monitor and how you want to monitor them. Two methods are available and can be used concurrently. Verizon uses passive APM by integrating Fluke Networks Netflow Tracker to capture Netflow and IPFIX  records from your edge router.  Analysis is provided by Fluke's Visual Performance Manager. Verizon Application Assurance also used Fluke's NetAlly, an active APM agent installed on endpoints that reports performance characteristics. Verizon has integrated Fluke's technology into their management portal and doesn't require any equipment on customer premises.  

For customers whose routers don't support Netflow or IPFIX (really old routers in other words), Verizon is investigating a Netflow appliance that would be deployed on the customer premises. The Netflow appliance would be less than a router refresh.

Flow based monitoring is useful for monitoring network traffic levels, but with widely deployed Netflow V5  and IPFIX, an application is defined by the TCP or UDP port number. With ports 80 and 443, typically HTTP and SSL protected HTTP respectively, supporting enterprise applications other than web browsing that use dynamic ports, such as Oracle and streaming media, port-based application monitoring may not provide the granularity you need to monitor an application. The agent-based monitoring can provide more granular performance monitoring and provide end-to-end analysis, but the limitation is one client to a server. In some cases, more granular APM, such as that provided by a NetQos or CA, may be needed.

Fluke's Netflow Tracker does support Netflow V9 which lets administrators classify traffic based on payload data, for example, differentiating one web application from another based on the HTTP headers, but it is unclear whether Application Assurance can leverage that functionality.

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