CrossKeys looks to unlock performance management

Service providers will be able to see exactly how data is moving across their networks with the latest service being offered by Kanata, Ont.-based CrossKeys Systems Corp., according to the company.

CrossKeys IP Analysis is being offered in conjunction with partner Parc Technologies, based in London, England, to provide the service within CrossKeys, according to Fraser Claridge, director of alliance development for CrossKeys.

“This IP Analysis service is based on Parc Technology’s RiskWise software. It allows service providers to get an in depth view of their IP network,” he said. “And if you know anything about IP networks these days, the use of the Internet protocol is growing at a tremendous rate. Just about every service provider and every carrier around the globe is jumping on the IP bandwagon. It’s the protocol of choice for data communications.”

The nature of IP is that it provides a communications link on a kind of best-efforts basis, he explained. That is good for service providers in that it is fast to deploy, but on the down side it is more difficult to manage, especially when it comes to quality of service (QoS).

To address that, Claridge said, “The service collects data on a carrier’s IP network and it gives them visibility into this virtual world of IP networks that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

There are a number of things that CrossKeys IP Analysis helps service providers do, he explained. For example, he said it helps them to proactively identify what is happening on the network and what is happening with services that they provide on that network, so they can offer guaranteed QoS. It also helps them identify potential problems on the network before they occur, and to coordinate activities surrounding network planning.

“We’re incorporating IP Analysis as a service to our customers in that we’re using our CrossKeys Resolve software to collect data on the customer’s network, and feed that into this IP Analysis software,” Claridge explained. “We’re offering customers either a snapshot view of their network…or we’re collecting data over a period of several weeks to offer them a trend analysis.”

The service includes: a customer-needs assessment, analysis of the network, problem definition and service proposal at no charge; the collection of network data over a predetermined time period; data storage within CrossKeys Resolve software for a six-month period; the optional use of Resolve as the data collection engine; and a final written report, recommendations and customer presentation.

“To my knowledge, there is very little out there that allows these ISPs and carriers a view into what actually is happening today on their IP network. There’s a bunch of other products out there that offer network simulation techniques; but this isn’t simulation,” Claridge noted.

Administrators need to be able to plan for new services and growth, and a tool such as this one — a feedback or decision-support tool — is what they need to do that, Claridge said. “Without that, they’re just kind of shooting in the dark.”

Elisabeth Rainge, program manager with IDC in Framingham, Mass., agreed with Claridge and said that there isn’t really any other type of offering such as this one on the market right now. But, she added, there will be offerings from other vendors. With the number of demands and responsibilities being placed on administrators, she explained, more services such as this one will be needed.

The CrossKeys IP Analysis service is packaged into three tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The Bronze package, which is available now for approximately US$35,000, is a snapshot analysis of the network — a one-time 24-hour collection of data, with a snapshot model of network behaviour in terms of services and the impact of the behaviour.

The Silver tier includes the snapshot, but also adds trending. Traffic over the network is evaluated over a period of several weeks, and based on the data provides a method to predict network growth or decline, according to Claridge. This package, which is also available now, is priced at approximately US$50,000.

The Gold service, which will not be available until next month, adds a forecast risk analysis ability to all the other offered features. It is priced at approximately US$75,000.

The services will be available across North America and in Europe. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at