Xangati Launches End-User Network Troubleshooter
April 1, 2008 Alex Woodie
Xangati last week launched an innovative network troubleshooting product designed to give frontline helpdesk personnel a clearer view of end-user network activities. Called Virtual Task Manager, the software gives users of its Rapid Problem Identification (RPI) helpdesk appliance a direct view of end-user desktop activities and possible causes of network problems, thereby satisfying end-user issues while allowing organizations to solve problems quicker and less expensively.
Anybody who’s ever worked on a balky network or experienced e-mail problems knows the drill. Call up technical support, explain the problem, then pray to one’s deity of choice that they take the issue seriously and have the ability to fix it. Unfortunately, frontline tech support providers rarely have tools they need to solve the problem in timely manner.
“When you call in with a network application issue, they’re flying blind,” says David Messina, Xangati’s vice president of marketing. “If you call in to report an issue with e-mail or the Internet being slow, literally the only recourse they have is to ask a number of questions to determine if it’s pilot error. Beyond that, they just throw it over the fence to a more senior staff member.”
Meanwhile, end users become frustrated with the process, and reluctant to rely on tech support in the future, Messina says. “People who are going to call in to the help desk are the desperate or the brave. They know that the experience is not going to be enjoyable,” he says. “There’s a silent majority that just knows that IT is not going to be helpful. Essentially we don’t want to get mad or flustered or waste the time, so we just don’t bother.”
Xangati hopes to eliminate this gridlock with Virtual Task Manager, which it says gives frontline tech support personnel the information they need to solve a good percentage of network problems at the desktop. The new offering delivers a graphical interface for RPI, a self-contained appliance from Xangati that’s designed to give helpdesk personnel greater insight into their application environments.
Virtual Task Manager works with any networked application. The software bears similarities to that familiar Windows utility, task manager, which gives users a detailed view of the applications and processes running on a Windows computer. But instead of information about memory and CPU consumption, Xangati’s Virtual Task Manager provides helpdesk personnel with in-depth information about end users’ network activity.
The product’s interface gives helpdesk personnel a real-time view into whether users have network connectivity, how much bandwidth they’re consuming, what peers they’re connected to, and what applications are consuming bandwidth. Personnel can drill down into application, server, and peer listings, and view activity history for reporting purposes. The software can even generate alerts when it detects possible bandwidth problems, allowing helpdesk personnel to be proactive to potential problems, instead of waiting to be reactive.
Virtual Task Manager uses an agent-less approach, and can support up to 100,000 users per appliance. Xangati is delivering Virtual Task Manager as a free update to its RPI offering, which starts at $35,000. For more information, visit www.xangati.com.