PackShaper controls IP data flow

Packeteer Inc. says that it is shipping a device that would make it easier to migrate networks based on IBM Corp.’s System Network Architecture (SNA) to newer IP-based technologies.

The company’s PacketShaper offering enables Web-based access to host systems while taking advantage of SNA’s traditionally reliable response times, according to Jennifer Geisler, product marketing manager at Packeteer.

PacketShaper classifies traffic traveling over an IP network, analyses the performance of host access transactions, and controls the flow of data, providing for quality of service (QoS), Geisler said.

“PacketShaper gives you the required amount of bandwidth with priority designations to get information through efficiently, so the less-important traffic doesn’t run you off the network.

“If you’re doing (electronic) commerce, you can’t afford for people to wait, because people don’t wait, and they won’t wait, and they’ll go someplace else,” Geisler said.

Other QoS features include end-to-end response-time monitoring and the ability to set policies based on applications, making sure that an e-commerce transaction gets through the network before Web browsing that is less time sensitive.

Tom Clark, a network group IS advisor at Hoechst Marion Roussel, a pharmaceutical company in Kansas City, Mo., has been using Packeteer devices for about a year to tackle the problem of clogging and latency over 64Kbps, 128Kbps, and 256Kbps links between North America and Latin America.

“When I first designed the LAN three years ago, there was no device like (PacketShaper). I knew that TCP/IP traffic would compete, and I knew the bandwidth was expensive,” Clark said. “I did my homework ahead of time, but configuration was nothing, setup was nothing. It worked for what I needed, and it’s still working.”

Many corporations stick with SNA because they cannot afford to risk IP delays, said Donald Czubek, an analyst and president of Gen2 Ventures, in Saratoga, Calif.

“One of the reasons these companies haven’t migrated has been performance concerns,” Czubek said.

The PacketShaper 1000 ( supports traffic up to speeds of 384Kbps at a price of US$4,000. PacketShaper 2000 supports T1 and E1 connections up to 10Mbps at a price of US$8,000, and PacketShaper 4000 supports T3 and E3 links at a price of US$16,000.

Packeteer, in Cupertino, Calif., is (408) 873-4400.