Process Query Systems (ProQueSys) has shipped the first of what the company says will be a quarterly series of updates to its FlowTraq network flow monitoring product. New features in this version include support for virtual local area networks (VLAN) and autonomous systems (AS); improved filtering; and enhancements to the user interface, as well as improvements in speed.
The software, which was introduced as a standalone product for the first time last fall, offers three functions: monitoring the network to look for problems, performing forensics to determine whether the problem has occurred previously and anticipating threats by using baseline information to look out for problems in the future. Network flow data is generated by infrastructure devices such as switches and routers.
Chris St. Myers, a senior security engineer for Rackspace Hosting Inc., a San Antonio-based hosting and cloud computing company, has been beta-testing the new version and says he was primarily interested in the product’s speed improvements. To be able to search through 96 gigabytes an hour and eight months of traffic, “is really neat,” he says.
While his company’s network group has other tools to look for intruders, he can use the software to find more subtle attacks that might not show up as a big enough event on the other group’s software. “If we’re seeing something weird, traffic coming from a website it normally doesn’t, we can pick that out.”
Support for tracking AS is something that many of ProQueSys’ Internet Service Provider (ISP) users have been requesting, says Vincent Berk, chief executive officer of the Lebanon, N.H., company. The software now offers ISPs the ability to track the exact volumes of traffic through AS, and also track where abuse might be coming from. This is important in today’s Internet because it gives the ISPs the ability to shut off the abusers or throttle them, he says. The increased ability to filter means that network administrators can now look at data after the fact, such as checking to see whether an employee leaving an organization has transferred files to their home computers or their new employers, he says.
VLAN and AS support brings the product up to par with other products in the market, and the enhancements to the user interface and new filtering techniques will improve operator efficiency, said Jim Frey, research director for Enterprise Management Associates Inc., a Portsmouth, N.H., consultancy.
Beyond that, the update is most relevant as proof that the company is committed to regular, continuous improvement through an aggressive quarterly release schedule, he says. The core strength of FlowTraq continues to be the blazing speed with which flow data can be navigated and analyzed, coupled with the fact that it retains all flow records for far longer than others in the marketplace, which is huge for forensic accuracy when studying either network performance or security issues, Frey says.
FlowTraq pricing starts at $9,600 for a small installation and ranges from $20,000 to $40,000 for large, distributed installations. The new version is available now.