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Back in the days when analog modems were the kings of telecom, network techs would use "line simulators" to evaluate connection performance under variable conditions. The idea was that, by reproducing all the worst-case scenarios in the lab first, you could better predict application and connection behavior in the real world.
Those kludged devices of yore would no doubt recognize some of their own spirit in the Shunra Software's Shunra\Storm STX-100 appliance. A virtual enterprise-in-a-box, the Storm STX-100 is the ultimate line simulator for today's heterogeneous network environments. It allows IT professionals to emulate a variety of network topologies spanning LAN, WAN, and Internet connectivity.
Shunra's recipe for success? Start with a non-descript, rack-mounted box; add some of the most sophisticated network simulation logic this grizzled author has ever encountered; and round it out with a drag-and- drop UI that makes diagramming complex global networks mere child's play.
The client-hosted StormConsole software ships with the unit and is based on Microsoft's Visio drawing framework. It includes a variety of pre-configured network elements representing common infrastructure components. To add a WAN connection to your simulation, simply drag the cloud element from the template and drop it onto your network diagram. Want to tune a particular diagram element? Double-click and a configuration dialog pops up.
When you're ready to implement your scenario, simply click a Visio macro button and the Storm STX-100 transforms itself into a virtual representation of the topology you just …