It's not quite Call of Duty but games designers have played their part in developing a network management product. PacketTrap's Perspective, which comes out in early September has been designed to be extremely intuitive, according to Anna Yen, PacketTrap's VP of marketing.
According to a PacketTrap survey, more than half of IT decision-makers who already using a network management system are unhappy with their product. "According to what users were saying, there's a lot of room for improvement among existing products." She pointed out that one of the company's competitors was fond of saying that its products were designed by network engineers for network engineers, but she said that the survey showed that there was a lot of unhappiness with the usability of the products.
Matt Bolton, PacketTrap's VP for products agreed, pointing that there was a lot of unhappiness with the likes of HP and CA whose products many users found were over-complex and difficult to use. "The problem is not just the cost of those products, it's the length of time it takes to install them - which typically involves hiring a consultancy." He said that in many cases, products like these represented over-kill. "It's a bit like buying an iPhone when all you want to do is send a couple of texts a week," he added.
Bolton said that Perspective would, above all, be intuitive to use but would also a contain a lot of features that network managers had particularly asked for. "In our survey, we asked them to prioritise the tasks that they'd do on a day-to-day basis." He said that baseline performance levels customised to real-life experience was one of the major new offerings. "If you take a typical network, there's a lot of difference in traffic between 9.00 on Monday morning when everyone's logging on the first time, and late Friday afternoon when people go home early."
He added that another major element of Perspective was the simulation of remote office networks to allow IT managers to experience users' experience at remote sites. He said that the software offered the chance for a manager to see exactly how a user's PC was behaving. "This is more than taking over the user's desktop, this is about seeing, for example, how the local network in that remote site is responding to the user's PC." He said that there was other software that allowed managers to do this, but part of the appeal of Perspective was that companies didn't have to keep buying more packages. "We know from our survey that the last thing that users wanted was having to add another piece of software," said Yen.
Pricing of Perspective is determined by the number of IP addresses and the number of modules: further details can be found here.