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HP, Agilent to Ensure WebQoS

Hewlett-Packard Co. and its subsidiary Agilent Technologies will announce tomorrow they are joining to prioritize e-business and ensure the highest quality service to the most loyal and cherished customers.

By combining WebQoS, a brand new solution from HP (www.hp.com) and Firehunter, a Web monitoring service from Agilent, the companies look to not only administer e-business priorities but monitor them as well.

"We like to think of [WebQoS] as the maitre d' of the restaurant," says Rich Friedrich, chief architect of WebQoS. "Their goal is to make sure each customer has a fine dining experience." WebQoS will do what it needs to do to keep servers from being overloaded, even if that means not letting any more people in the door.

"If your site was receiving more demand that it could handle, you're throughput would drop 20 - 50 percent," Friedrich explains. "So when it's having the highest demand, you're making less money."

One way to remedy this is prioritizing traffic. The maitre d' knows when the mayor comes for dinner, he shouldn't wait for a seat. Administrators can set up the system to ensure priority for certain users. This can be based solely on who that user is or what they are doing. For instance, if a restaurant patron orders Dom Perignon, the maitre d' knows that transaction is worth more to the restaurant than the guy who asked for a soda. If a Web user puts an expensive item in his online shopping cart, WebQoS will give them priority until they check out.

"If you come in without high priority, you're response time just won't be as good," Friedrich says. "It depends on the policy the administrator's put on the site."

The other piece of the solution is Firehunter from Agilent (www.agilent.com). While WebQoS gives administrators the ability to control user performance priority on the site, Firehunter allows them to actively monitor and measure that performance. As Larry Robinson, Firehunter product manager, explains, Firehunter performs a request to the Web page, measures the response to the end, and then decomposes the response time to discover what response can be expected from the server.

"It gives you a view of how to identify where the performance is being delayed, whether it's a server or network problem," Robinson says. After these measurements are taken, Firehunter will then perform active reporting about that server.

Another useful trait of Firehunter is that it can do real-time monitor of service level agreements (SLAs). Usually, SLA reporting comes after the fact, but with Firehunter, an administrator can take action before the service goes in to a non-compliant condition.

Networking vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc. (www.cisco.com) also provide network service assurance but Roberto Medrano, general manager of HP's e-services division, says that can only go as far as the network. HP's solution will monitor and administer server performance while utilizing the technology in Cisco hardware to monitor network performance and prioritize network traffic. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.