UC Davis Startup Offers Network Analytics and Diagnostics

Performance Management Overlay for Ennetix

By Yvonne Tevis.  UC Davis has deployed network analytics and diagnostics software offered by a campus-incubated startup. Now the service is being piloted at UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine, and other UC campuses are looking into it as well.

The three-year old startup company, Ennetix, was founded by Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Bis Mukherjee. It provides analytics and diagnostics for network traffic in the hybrid world of cloud services and multi-domain networks. In such an environment, data centers and the many networks connecting them may have very different performance characteristics and may be administered by different private and public entities.

Mukherjee explained that as organizations move applications to the cloud, they gain efficiency and cost savings by maintaining them in only one location. But at the same time, they relinquish control because of the hybrid ownership of the infrastructure through which application traffic moves to reach the server farm. If problems occur along the way – perhaps a router fails or another part of the infrastructure goes down – performance suffers and the organization gets complaints, even though the issues may be out of its control.

The information that Ennetix provides, Mukherjee said, helps the organization get a better handle on managing a hybrid infrastructure and determine exactly what happened, actually predict what is going to happen, and assess how it would need to address severe problems should they occur. Such “hindsight, insight, and foresight,” as Mukherjee describes it, give the cloud services organizational customer greater control and predictability in delivering its own services.

Ennetix customer Mark Redican, director of Network Operations at UC Davis, said, “Ennetix network performance management has proven to be a huge time saver, enabling the UC Davis NOC team to get a comprehensive picture of our network’s overall performance, as well as proactively identify, diagnose, and fix performance issues.”

The software is based on research Mukherjee conducted at UC Davis that was academically very interesting, he said, but did not address real-world problems people would be willing to pay to solve. So he adapted his work to develop Ennetix. In fact, Ennetix was the first entity nurtured through a new UC Davis incubator, the Engineering Translational Technology Center, and has received $2.3M in grants from the US Department of Energy. Mukherjee said, “It is exciting to see that the research you do can be translated to useful products and services.”

Now he is actively promoting the service and encouraging other campuses to pilot it. A professor at UCD for thirty years, he is energized by becoming an entrepreneur. “With my background in advanced network traffic diagnostics, we can help improve the quality of applications and services that people use. Ultimately, that helps improve quality of life.”

Yvonne Tevis is the UC IT Blog editor and chief of staff, Information Technology Services, UC Office of the President.

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