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Issue of February 2003 
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Great issue in January

Dear Sandeep,
I am a regular reader of your esteemed magazine and was glad to read the January 2003 issue. It was very enlightening to learn the trends in the opinion of different CIOs in India. There are a few issues in some of the articles which I strongly feel should be given due consideration. With reference to the article titled 'More options for WAN media' written by C.N. Ram, Head, Information Technology, HDFC Bank, international satellites can now also be used for providing VSAT connectivity in India. Leased lines are also emerging as an attractive proposition for Internet connectivity even after considering the QoS issues. These will further help Indian enterprises fulfill its communication needs. A few TRAI consultation papers can be viewed at www.trai.gov.in/consultation.htm. The article titled 'e-Security: The way ahead' written by Vishwajeet Deshmukh, Country Manager-SAARC, Network Associates explained a lot about IS audits and was brilliant. We cannot undermine the importance of BS7799. It's probably the best standard in Information Security Management. Thirteen companies from sectors like finance, manufacturing, and retail have developed this standard. But although the article mentioned all the components of IS audits, from firewalls to encryption, it missed out on the criticality of viruses. According to KPMG's Information Security Survey 2002, 22 percent of the companies surveyed found viruses as the most important security breach. They have estimated that around 68 average days were lost every year and average revenue lost was $ 162,000 every year. Overall, the magazine provided an amazing insight on the importance of Information Technology in a growing and competitive scenario. These articles are a candid glimpse of the things to come in the IT industry.

Regards
Manish Bhargava

Dear Manish,
Thank you for your interesting letter. I am very glad that you found the January 2003 issue rewarding. Your points of view are very inspiring and important to us. I hope our future issues will inspire you even more and we will hear from you.


Gap analysis

Dear Brian,
I am very impressed with your story on software licensing policies in the September 2002 issue of Network Magazine. I have a question regarding the preparation of a software contract with special reference to banking software. The question is about Gap Analysis. Should Gap Analysis (identifying exact needs of the bank vs. the ability of the software to meet such needs) be done after signing the contract or before the contract? If it is to be performed after the contract is signed, how can the documentation of the tailored functions (modules) be made binding in the contract? Especially since it is not a part of the vendor's standard documentation. If the Gap Analysis is to be performed before the contract, how can the payment be arranged or negotiated with the vendor? Is this because there is no commitment from the customer to make a purchase from the vendor? I am not sure if vendors may accept to do the gap analysis without being assured of the deal.

Regards
Ayubu H. Kamti,
IT Manager,
Tanzania Postal Bank
Dar Es Salaam
Tanzania

The article can be viewed at:
www.networkmagazineindia.com/200209/cover1.shtml

Dear Ayubu Kamti,
Thank you for appreciating my article and sending us a query. I had forwarded it to Manoj Kunkalienkar, Executive Director, ICICI Infotech. Here is his reply:

Thanks for the query. These are the stages in the software contract finalization process.

  • Request for Information: This is the first stage where a bank shortlists companies and products that meets its requirements.
  • Request for Proposal: In this stage the client will clearly indicate its requirements to the vendor by answering a detailed questionnaire. This questionnaire will help the vendor judge the 'Gap' between the available solution and the product offered. The vendor may also offer a week's free system study. Usually, at this stage, around 70-80 percent of the 'Gap' is clearly determined.
  • Purchase Order: This is the final stage when the client signs the contract. A detailed evaluation of the Gap is done at this stage. I hope this answers your query. Let me know if you need any more clarification.

OPTICAL NETWORK

Dear Minu,
Your article 'Meeting bandwidth needs' which featured Bharti Telenet, was very interesting and informative. It's encouraging to see that companies are relying on optical networks, because the reliability of such a network will directly translate to customer benefits. Can you please feature more case studies of companies that have deployed optical networks?

Regards
Sunil Chandra

Dear Sunil,
Thank you for appreciating the article. It's true that a stable and reliable service provider network will ultimately translate to better service and facilities for the customer. It is encouraging to see that you are interested to read more case studies on optical networking. I am sure that we will feature some more in later issues.


LATENCY IN VSAT

Dear Soutiman,
I read your article 'Connectivity: The VSAT way' and am very impressed with it since it is very informative. I seek your advice on some connectivity issues faced by my organization. My company, Sipco Paints in Saudi Arabia, is a part of one of the leading group of companies by the Muhaidib Group. We have 36 companies in the group, and have diversified in many business areas. And these companies are spread over in all the GCC countries. We are implementing Oracle E-Business Suite 11i for our business processes. And we intend to connect all our branches spread in the Middle East. I am responsible for the entire connectivity operations of our branches. After analyzing various solutions on the basis of cost, stability, and scalability, we chose VSAT and feel it can cater to our needs very well. We have installed VSAT terminals in all our branches and are connected. We have also established a VPN between our branches. Since the volume of transactions between our branches is very less now, we opted for very low bandwidth. We use 64 Kbps in the head office and 32 Kbps in all our branches. Now, we face the problem of latency. When we communicate with the VPN, it takes 2400-2800 milliseconds for send and reply. My peers feel that latency in VSAT is always high and cannot be reduced. But, according to your article, latency can be reduced to 270 milliseconds. We are very pressed for time and the project implementation is almost over, and we have to be online with all our branches with the Oracle application. Is there a solution for the latency issue?

Regards
Srikanth Mahalingam
Dear Srikanth Mahalingam,

Thank you for writing to me. I am glad the article has been of use to you. I have sent your queries to Joyjit Ghose at Comsat max. He has replied with the following:

Here are some basic clarifications:
1. The 'propagation delay' on a VSAT has always been 270 milliseconds. This is basically the time taken for the signal to reach from one point to the other.
2. Latency on the other hand is typically measured by considering the time taken by a data packet to travel across the network and the acknowledgment received. 'Ping' is perhaps the most well known tool used for this purpose. The differentiation between the two terms tends to blur.
3. Typical Ping times in a Mesh topology VSAT (point-to-point, single hop) is around 700-750 milliseconds, and in a Star topology (multi-point to point to multi-point, double hop) is around 1250-1300 milliseconds. This applies to a 32 byte packet on a Free Network. A Free Network is key, otherwise normally all systems would give 'ping' traffic the lowest priority, and indicate erroneous results.
4. I am not very sure about what the exact application or measurement criteria is in your case. I am also a bit confused about the 'VPN' which you are trying to establish. VSATs essentially provide you with a private network and you don't need a VPN. Maybe you are adding overheads which can be avoided.
5. If you are talking about 'response times' of your applications, it depends a lot on factors like architecture and number of users. It's difficult to comment on the reasons for the delay but 270ms cannot be achieved as a round trip delay, unless the satellite is nearer—or the speed of light increases!

 
     
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