Aware that hardware margins are often not enough to make a networking sale profitable, Hewlett-Packard is offering its resellers a tool it believes will assist them in winning after- sales business with their clients.
Called Network Performance Adviser (NPA), the tool is a new feature of the AdvanceStack Assistant software which ships free with HP networking products.
"What Performance Adviser does is build a traffic matrix of your network, and tells you who's talking to who and in what volume," says Lindsay Lyon, HP's marketing development manager for network products. "Now you get that with RMON today, but you've got to figure out what to do with it."
Lyon says Performance Adviser does the auto-discovery and mapping work required to build up an accurate view of a network, then by analysis creates a traffic matrix from which it makes recommendations on network architecture. "So it will write a report on what to do with the network, and how to break it up," said Lyon.
"What we're trying to do is add value to both our resellers and our customers by giving them real data that they can act upon, and going a step further by not only giving them data but making a recommendation as well," said Lyon.
"It's just such a great opportunity to add value for our resellers in a marketplace that's commodity price driven, and it's getting so hard to make the margins that they used to make.
"They sell the network, then come back in six months time and can charge for analysis."
NPA itself is backwards compatible with HP hardware for at least six years, but requires the network to have at least one HP product in each segment.
Lyon said while the product will also be available to network administrators, he sees a huge potential for resellers to make use of it in situations where the customer has minimal technical skills.