Called TeVISTA Performance Manager, the package's synthetic users access the same applications as 'real' users, using the same network as the 'real' users, providing a true reflection - in an unemotional way - as to how the network is actually performing. By deploying Synthetic User software probes across the network, information relating to response times and availability can be measured, recorded and reported in a graphical format. According to Chevin, this provides a unique view of network performance from the user's perspective, enabling an IT Management Team to track and spot problems between user, switches, routers, servers and applications immediately.
A Synthetic User can be used to test all software services, from key applications to checking email, intranet, file and print servers.
Because the Synthetic User is effectively a 'computer user', it can also test the underlying components of any service, like the LAN and WAN, a Citrix front-end, a database back-end and the 'nuts and bolts' of the network, such as the Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
Chevin has developed specific network, server and application tests for TeVISTA Performance Manager's Synthetic User to monitor various, widely used core applications and services, even if a company uses RSA's SecurID two-factor authentication solution the Synthetic User has its own password and authenticator!
* ERP web-enabled PeopleSoft World for manufacturing companies.
* Sx3 iWorld which administers the benefits and revenues to local
councils and government departments including housing and council tax.
* Tests to support the Citrix range of products including the thin
client model and server farms.
* IVR systems - the Synthetic User tests VOIP and POTS connections
by ensuring the line rings and the right response is obtained.
A further benefit of Synthetic User testing is that it is active, so there is no need to deploy any software on application servers and there is no need for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) passwords or access, according to Chevin. It is also ideal for testing Managed Services such as hosted applications, where you would not be allowed to deploy any probes, monitoring software or have access to SNMP data.
"Monitoring 'User Experience' of the actual service being delivered has to be the best perspective to take in order to genuinely try and pro-actively identify problems," commented Chevin's managing director Mark Kerrison. "All other benefits of network management are also served - including the sizing of a network, cost optimisation and performance management," he added.
The central management console is provided as a portal allowing information to be viewed from any browser. Users of the system can be provided with different login identifies which dictates the access that they are allowed within the system.
By measuring the responses of network components, TeVISTA Performance Manager is able to identify and therefore compare results of multiple components, providing the network manager the ability to quickly identify the cause of a 'network slowdown'. This has the added benefit of allowing the network team to ensure that valuable IT resource is working on the actual problem and ensure that 'time to fix' is kept to a minimum.
Where the IT department provides services to users and these are governed by Service Level Agreements, Synthetic User technology provides irrefutable evidence that agreed targets are being met.