December 19, 2000, 8:35 AM — PALO ALTO -- Hewlett-Packard last week promised to release performance monitoring software that is more scalable, better at watching WAN performance and easier for network managers to set up than the company's previous tools.
HP's upcoming OpenView NetMetrix Performance Center has several improvements over the NetMetrix products that already exist for Unix and Windows NT.
The product can now present performance data with a wider reach. Previously, NetMetrix collected data from probes scattered around a network and fed all the information to a server. Now, the probes send data to other data collectors, which in turn consolidate the information and send it to the NetMetrix database server.
Creating the intermediate step lets the product show data from more probes, says Anita Manwani, general manager of HP's NetMetrix division. That's because the NetMetrix server doesn't have to work as hard to process the data as it comes.
The upcoming product is much easier to set up and use than the previous version, says Bill Barker, an Oklahoma City-based independent network advisor for various federal agencies.
"It doesn't take a whole lot of knowledge," he says, adding that the interface has warning lights to let users know if utilization or the error rate is getting too high.
Unlike the previous version, the new tool has built-in thresholds. The software judges when link utilization is high, without a network manager telling the software ahead of time what should be considered "high."
Performance Center also brings LAN and WAN data into the same place. From one view, a net manager can see both parts of the network and tell where performance is worst. Previously, LAN and WAN information were kept separate.
OpenView NetMetrix Performance Center is expected to ship this fall, priced starting at $5,995. The server runs on NT, and the clients that access the server are