Fluke Network Systems has created a new company to better target the application performance market (APM) with what a company exec calls an "enterprise intelligence" strategy. While Fluke Networks will continue to focus on network installation and monitoring for enterprises and telecommunications carriers, the new entity, Visual Network Systems, will offer products in the application, network and VoIP performance space for enterprises.

"It's not just about the network anymore... it's sometimes more often than not related to the application layer," said Lyn Cantor, general manager with Visual Network Systems.

Cantor explained that enterprises today are able to look beyond the network that is far less "troublesome" given better manageability with the standardisation of Ethernet and the common use of Internet Protocol.

Cantor expects that the APM space will be a "big growth" area for the new company. Visual Network Systems is made up of just under 200 employees, 40 per cent of whom are engineers and, 45 per cent sales and marketing and 15 per cent finance, accounting and admin.

The decision to create a new operating entity, rather than just creating an additional department within Fluke Networks, was made because the Fluke Networks' brand was not recognized as a systems solutions player, said Cantor. "We didn't have the brand equity with our intended audience that we wanted," he said.

Visual Network Systems' go-to-market strategy in Canada will be more "direct-touch-oriented," said Cantor, where the company will reach directly to prospective customers and work with key partners with a broader reach.

According to Russ Conwath, senior research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group, the move by Fluke Networks to create a new operating entity focused on APM is indicative of the importance of this technology in the enterprise. Today's complex infrastructure and app environment requires "APM and its brethren" so organisations can more easily manage performance and capacity, and shorten diagnosis and downtime, said Conwath.

"This is an important move for Fluke because by separating out their APM offering, they can gain traction with the non-network IT folks who are more typically the buyers of this functionality," said Conwath.

Alongside the creation of the new company and being vocal about the new brand, two products are also being announced. One, VPM Connex, is a suite of middleware and application programming interfaces that integrate with business service management platforms such as IBM Tivoli and HP OpenView to give insight and troubleshooting capabilities into network and app performance.

The other new offering is what Cantor called a "next-generation architecture" at the network layer with enhancements like boosted I/Os and an operating system rewritten to Linux.