NetSocket has expanded its focus from monitoring the quality of unified communications applications to enabling software defined networks, with an initial focus on automating tuning in order to accommodate businessperformance policies.

With its NetSocket Virtual Network software suite the company is presenting tools that give businesses the ability to move toward SDNs without ripping out their current traditional networks. NVN can centralizeorchestration and management of both virtual and physical network infrastructure, allowing current infrastructure to remain in place while virtual infrastructure is added.

More importantly, NVN can correlate network service issuesto the underlying network infrastructure so IT departments can better troubleshoot problems, says Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp. consultancy.

Faults detected in virtual network performance don't reveal the underlying infrastructure problem causing them, but that is a necessary tool. "You can't send a real technician to fix a virtual device," he says. This is an issue NetSocket is trying to address by correlating network service issues with network infrastructure problems.

The main component of NVN is vFlowController, which runs ina virtual machine and can interoperate with legacy networks as well as virtual networks to facilitate Layer 3 flow control. This is done via components ofvFlowController called vRouter, vTunnel and vFirewall.

A separate networking element is vFlowSwitch, a virtualLayer 3 switch that integrates with Layer 2 virtual switches. ConnectingvFlowSwitch to Microsoft's Layer 2 vSwitch can be automated throughvFlowController.

The net capability is to overlay a virtual network on top of both virtual and real infrastructure.

In addition, NetSocket includes two applications with itsNVN, vNetCommander and vNetOptimizer. vNetCommander is central management for NVN that installs, provisions and orchestrates the network. NetOptimizer analyzes performance of network services and can automatically optimizes thenetwork for individual applications. 

NetSocket is offering up a one-site version of NVN for free to give potential customers the chance to test the product. Nolle says this makes sense since similar open source controllers such as Open Daylight costnothing. "They have to be able to compete with free," he says.

Businesses that decide they want to deploy NVN across their enterprise will be able to buy an enterprise version of netCommander this fall. netOptimizer will also be available this fall and pricing hasn't been set yetfor either, the company says. Pricing will vary based on size of networks andthe number of connections among branch offices, the company says.

NVN builds on NetSockets other product Cloud ExperienceManager, which gives insight into performance of services on routed physicalnetworks with the idea of assuring service levels.

The company was founded in 2007 and has $22 million inventure funding from Venture Investors, with Sevin Rosen Funds, Silver CreekVentures and Trailblazer Capital.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unifiedcommunications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog.Reach him at [email protected] andfollow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene