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WildPackets WatchPoint Combines SNMP With Packet-Based Monitoring

WildPackets has announced a new version of its WatchPoint network monitoring and reporting product. Version 2.0 includes support for SNMP, which means that users could conceivably use the software and appliances for most typical SNMP monitoring requirements, rather than having to buy a separate product to provide that functionality. WatchPoint 2.0 also offers flow-based network monitoring and reporting functions. This is in addition to providing the packet-based network monitoring and reporting that the previous version supported and that enables IT administrators to drill down to the packet level when problems are discovered.

WildPackets has been finding that its users are buying additional network monitoring products, but that they still end up discovering that they require the sort of deep packet inspection and root-cause analysis that WatchPoint can provide, says Jay Botelho, director of product management for the Walnut Creek, Calif., company. Having packet, netflow and SNMP functionality built in together into a single product makes it easier for IT administrators to layer solutions, and perhaps even enables them to replace ones they already have, he says. Providing all the functionality in one program, with one Web-based interface, also reduces costs by making the product easier to deploy and maintain, as well as by reducing training costs, the company says.

Another advantage of the product is that, compared with other flow-based solutions, it can store more data, meaning IT administrators can continue to store data using minute-by-minute granularity, for as long as six months to a year. With competing products, over time they typically end up having to average data together, resulting in granularity of an hour or even a day, Botelho says.

The SNMP support was particularly interesting to Jim Frey, managing research director for Enterprise Management Associates, because it was new for the vendor and is a great way to give additional value to existing WildPackets users because it will enable them to use a single tool rather than separate tools for packet monitoring, voice analysis and SNMP monitoring, he says. "It’s not going to be anywhere near as sophisticated as a mature SNMP platform," but if an IT administrator is just interested in keeping an eye on a few basic performance indicators for device monitoring, being able to check the health of devices during troubleshooting makes organizational workflow more efficient, he says. "It’s a good 80% of coverage of what you need to do," he says. "It’s not trying to compete with stand-alone platforms. Shops may say, 'This is enough of what I need now, and, integrated with my packet-based tools, this will be an extra value for me.'"

The software is available now for a price that scales by the number of appliances, starting at $12,995. WildPackets products are sold in more than 60 countries and deployed in a number of industrial sectors. Existing customers include Boeing, Chrysler, Motorola, Nationwide and more than 80% of the Fortune 1000.

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