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Wanna build a virtual network?

A new software toolset from veteran government contractor GRCI will let administrators design, simulate, and model networks.

A new software toolset from a 36-year-old company will allow a network administrator to simulate the effects of new network services from telecommunications companies, new networking hardware, and new network topologies.

GRC International (GRH), a veteran provider of software for the federal government, has turned its attention to the corporate market with a suite of Sun Microsystems Sparc-based tools called NetworkVue. Currently, the toolset is designed for wide area networks, but a local area network-based set of tools is forthcoming, according to GRCI officials.

NetworkVue allows an administrator to design, simulate, and model a network. The software addresses issues such as account network protocols, networking hardware, and telecommunications services, and offers administrators a few options to optimize their networks and associated costs. The product asks the administrator to input goals and network requirements as part of the process and includes an extensive database of networking gear and telecommunications-tariff information to ensure accurate figures.

"We can literally run thousands of iterations of a network," said Russ Blackwell, senior director of operations for NetworkVue. GRCI officials said several companies have tools that offer certain features found in NetworkVue, but no competitor offers an entire suite.

The tools are available now individually or as a suite. Individual tools are approximately $5,000 each. Tools analyzing costs only are approximately $30,000. The entire NetworkVue toolset will run an organization upwards of $100,000, including a frequent-carrier tariff and networking hardware updates for the database. GRCI also offers outsourcing services based on the product. A Windows-based version is in the works, according to GRCI officials.