November 26, 1996 5:45 PM ET
Zitel aims to take rocket science out of network planning
By Paula Musich

  Zitel Corp. next week will introduce a pair of Windows-based tools designed to simplify capacity planning and network modeling of client/server systems.

Capacity Planner and NetArchitect aim to take the difficulties out of performance simulation and modeling for client/server systems, but they still provide an accurate view of actual end-to-end response times, according to Paul Mason, director of system infrastructure software research at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.

"This sits between two products from BGS [Systems Inc.] and [Scientific and Engineering Software Inc.]," he said. "BGS isn't rocket science, but they make assumptions about how things should behave. SES is more precise, but the downside is it's very hard to use. Zitel actually uses a mathematical model that simulates real loads."

"We build in the network service times, and the model simulates the traffic on the network-including traffic delays," explained Marilyn Kanas, director of software marketing at Zitel, in Fremont, Calif. "We draw the network using drag-and-drop icons. When you run simulations, if a particular network area or disk drive reaches an area of poor performance, the icon lights up."

Capacity Planner performs analysis, modeling and evaluation of distributed client/server systems and their configurations to pinpoint performance bottlenecks and model changes to system components. It collects and combines system statistics using its own data collection agents as well as data made available by third-party performance measurement tools.

Capacity Planner can model HP-UX, Solaris, AIX and Pyramid servers. It also models Digital Unix and OpenVMS servers, Unisys A Series as well as OS 100 and OS 2200 servers.

NetArchitect, meanwhile, performs network load planning and end-to-end response time analysis. Users drag components from a system palette and drop them in a design field to build a topology. They then open up a dialog box, and the system asks for the relevant performance statistics, such as transaction rates, utilization, CPU service times and so on. The software uses built-in expertise to convert high-level descriptions into accurate network models that graphically identify potential bottleneck points.

Capacity Planner ranges from $11,000 for a single server to $80,000 for unlimited servers, and NetArchitect is $6,995. Both run on Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows NT. They are available now.

Zitel may be contacted at www.zitel.com.

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