Last year, Internet stock was a Wall Street hit. Since then, the rosy Cyberspace dream has faded somewhat, and business is still better conducted at home, using Intranets, which make better use of the new, still-developing technology.
The problems limiting companies operating via Internet are well-known: problems of data security, diffuse control, slow operation and bad support. The new hit Internet companies provide solutions to those problems.
Start-up RADView, of the RAD-Bynet group, develops a line of products used to test and evaluate the performance of communication systems, specifically Internet and Intranet. To date, the system has been installed in a number of sites selected by the company, including the INTELSAT, and a Bell Atlantic network set up for Chase Manhattan. The Royal Canadian bank, 3COM and Mcdonnel-Douglas have all integrated the RADView system into their Intranets, and publishers Simon and Schuster new on-line bookstores make use of RADView.
RADView distributes its products in the US via channels serving major organizations, such as Platinum, which has non-exclusive distribution rights. Platinum also owns 23% of the company, following a strategic investment in RADView.
Ilan Kinreich, general manager of RADView, estimates potential sales for all the company’s product lines, including the access technology it has developed, will reach the tens of millions of dollar range. He says the expected growth in server and network product sales will increase demand for inspection and support quality assurance products.
In the initial stage, the company’s marketing plan focuses on large clients and Internet service providers, who will integrate RADView services into their products. To date, the company has formed a number of strategic partnerships with some of the more major Internet service providers in the field, including Progressive Software.
The Internet’s structure, and the possibility of sharp growth in accesses, was illustrated recently by the Mars Pathfinder mission. The number of hits received by the Pathfinder site was unprecedented - hundreds of millions a day - giving massive exposure to web service providers and their sponsors.
WebQualify is RADView’s flagship line of products, a suite of automated testing tools for commercial Web applications.
"Checking Internet service is a very complicated job", says Kinreich. "Internet service today includes a data processing environment, communications, and a mutual reliance on a number of remote sites. Internet service providers must be able to perform under stress, not merely under static research and development laboratory conditions. We provide systems and service capable of testing systems".
The WebQualify suite includes WebLoad, for testing Internet and Intranet applications by generating loads that simulate thousands of users accessing a website at the same time. Using a Pentium Pro, WebLoad is able to generate 220,000 virtual users accessing a web server once every hour, which is equal to 5.2 million such users per day. An RS/6000 system running IBM AIX is able to generate 340,000 virtual users accessing a web server once every hour, which is equal to 8.2 million such users per day.
WebLoad can operate over local area or wide area networks, and can be distributed over Internet servers to anywhere on the net, to test applications. The program operates according to user-defined characteristics, configurations that simulate as many clients as needed, which then bombard the Web site. This way, bottlenecks can be located, reaction time measured, and tests can be performed on site components such as homepage, database, Java applets, forms response, and other parameters under various loads.
But load simulation does not reflect a site’s activity, as it really is on the Web. For this reason, RADView has developed supplementary software, which act as agents. These agents are sent out to other sites on the net, such as real clients or other service providers. They then view the site from that point, and report back on the site’s performance. These agents generate loads representing the relative activity of each point, enabling real-time testing of site operations as it works in parallel with other points on the net.
Agents will be used to create a number of services, including reporting to service providers on service quality. This will serve as a basis to create better-quality services, for which a fee may be charged.
Agent technology will be released only after web server [products] are fully distributed. The In the meantime, RADView is keeping its agents close to its chest.