Test current and future network performance

Chariot is a network performance management tool with prepackaged real-world tests that let you determine how well your network is performing. You can also predict the effect of future changes on your network's performance. Using a unique scripting language, you can compose tests to emulate modifications, such as application deployment, that you plan to make on your network. You can then create network tests that use these emulation tests to measure future network performance.

Endpoint and Console
Chariot consists of two separately licensed components. The first component is Endpoint, which handles communications for the node. Ganymede makes Endpoint software available for all flavors of Microsoft Windows, IBM AIX, HP-UX, Sun Microsystems Solaris, Novell NetWare, and OS/2.

The nature of your OS determines how the Endpoint software installs. For instance, on Windows NT, the Endpoint component installs as an NT Service that automatically starts each time NT boots, whereas on Windows 95 an entry in the Startup folder starts the Endpoint software.

Chariot's second component is the Console application, the graphical interface you use to run network tests and analyze their results. Screen 1 shows the Console interface for a sample Chariot test. Currently, Ganymede supports the Console application on only two platforms: NT and OS/2. This application contains a series of windows that lets you configure how the software will operate, including where it will save test files, where it will load script files, and how it will conduct tests.

Installation
When you install Chariot, you must install the Endpoint service on at least two network nodes, and the Console application on an NT or OS/2 system. Installing the Console application automatically installs Endpoint on the computer where the Console application resides.

The software distribution CD-ROM for Chariot includes both evaluation and retail versions of the software. The difference between the two versions is that the retail version asks for an authorization key and the evaluation version has a built-in 15-day limit on use.

Currently, Chariot supports five different network protocols: Advanced Program-to-Program Communications (APPC--for SNA Server systems with Service Pack 2 installed), IPX, SPX, TCP, and User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Which network protocols you can use in your testing depends on the protocols supported by the Endpoint platform you are communicating with. For example, the NetWare Endpoint does not support APPC. NT supports all the communications protocols listed for testing in its Endpoint component.

Scripting Language
Chariot includes numerous canned test scripts you can run in your network environment to test performance. These include scripts to simulate database updates and long file transfers between nodes. Furthermore, the scripts include a series of Internet scripts to test the performance of FTP file transfers, transfer of Web graphics and text data, Telnet character transfer, and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)/Post Office Protocol (POP) simulations to test common email exchanges.

If the script that you need doesn't exist, you can create it using Chariot's scripting language. The scripting language includes the ability to create variables, initiate common communications-oriented commands, and perform loops over a period of time. The scripting language can handle iteration for transferring data. This language is fairly complex, but it is well documented in a 185-page users' manual.

If you need a network performance measurement tool, Chariot is the product for you. With its prediction capabilities, Chariot can help you evaluate network performance before you deploy new software; with its real-world tests, you can determine the overall health of your network.