Optical/IP Networks

NetVmg Adds VPN Support

LAS VEGAS -- NetVmg Inc., a startup working on products that allow companies to better manage their Internet connections, has announced a new version of its software that will monitor virtual private networking (VPN) traffic.

VPN support is a big step for NetVmg and the nascent route-optimization market in general. In their early releases, route optimization products have focused on improving performance of Internet traffic in general (see NetVmg: A Bandwidth Cost Cop).

The second major version of the San Jose, Calif., company's software is called Flow Control Platform (FCP) 2.0. The new version also comes in an appliance-based form factor (see NetVmg Controls Flow). In general, here's how route-optimization software works: A large enterprise uses the software to monitor traffic coming into its e-commerce Web servers. If the company uses Internet connections from at least two different providers, the software determines the best route, based on either performance or cost parameters. Previously, such software had difficulty monitoring bi-directional connections across the Internet -- a requirement for measuring the efficiency of VPN tunnels. It is now able to do that, which means it can perform the same optimization tasks for VPNs.

“If you look at those companies using VPNs for mission critical traffic, performance is important,” says Greg Howard, principal analyst with HTRC Group LLC. “This will allow NetVmg to expand its market.”

While NetVmg may be the first to announce VPN support, analysts say they’ve already heard rumblings from competitors like RouteScience Technologies Inc. and Sockeye Networks, which also say they will support it. The prospect makes sense. VPNs are one of the fastest growing services.

Michael Hoch, senior analyst of Internet infrastructure at Aberdeen Group Inc. also says that by adding VPN support, NetVmg is validating the market.

“It’s one thing to talk about route optimization in the abstract,” he says. “But you need to attach it with a particular application to really show the value. This is a significant proof of concept for NetVmg and the industry.”

The route optimization market is still a relatively new one. And there are still some fundamental questions left unanswered. The biggest has to do with which business model will work best for the technology. Right now the three market leaders -- NetVmg, RouteScience, and Sockeye -- are all taking different approaches.

Sockeye is selling a service (see Sockeye Spawns Service), and RouteScience has developed software (see RouteScience Soups Up IP ). NetVmg now offers software and a new appliance. Another small player, Opnix Inc., is somewhere in the middle, offering a service based on its own purpose-built gear. “It’s still too early to tell which will win out,” says Howard. “My suspicion is that users are still learning about the technology and don’t know exactly what they want yet.” — Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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