Customization through a team approach.Newcomers bring service and business focus to IP network management.
Network management is no longer the sole domain of a handful of major vendors with extensive frameworks or platforms. During the past few years, a number of innovative firms have emerged to meet the specific needs of service providers (SPs) and enterprises seeking to manage IP networks and applications.
Typically, the newer companies specialize in one particular aspect of IP network management, so the service provider or enterprise must assemble a team of vendors to handle the complete task, often combining their software with a network management platform from one of the larger suppliers.
Micromuse and RiverSoft Corp., for instance, have become major players in the area of network fault management, whose role is to help IT managers understand network events and alarms, so they can assess and maximize the availability of the network infrastructure.
Likewise, OPNET OPNET Operations Network
OPNET Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team
OPNET Operational New Equipment Training
OPNET Optimized Network Evaluation Tool
OPNET SMDPS Phase III Operational Network Technologies has become a leader in network configuration management, which encompasses tools for network element configuration, network design and simulation, IP address management and network directory management.
Network accounting applications are network billing tools capable of calculating charges for use of public and private data networks based on quality-of-service policies and real-time network variables. Here, XACCT Technologies and Portal Software Portal Software was founded in 1985 as Portal Information Network, one of the first ISPs in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was founded by John Little. The company offered its own interface through modem access that featured Internet email. have become market and technology leaders.
At the same time, Trendium and Sirius Software Sirius Software was a publisher of Apple II and Atari computer games in the early 1980s. Founding and early history
The company was founded in the early 1980s by Jerry Jewell, and gained attention for its dramatically quick rise to prominence and its equally quick are bringing innovation to network performance tools for network service-level reporting, performance analysis, and network testing and simulation.
In response, the established network management vendors have modularized mod·u·lar·ized
Having or made up of modules: modularized housing. their platforms and incorporated open-standard interfaces and middleware to accommodate multivendor solutions. Hewlett-Packard Co. has gone one step further by acquiring a source code license for RiverSoft's Network Management Operating System operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. for inclusion in future HP OpenView HP OpenView was a Hewlett Packard product range consisting of an extensive portfolio of network and systems management products. In 2007 the entire HP OpenView portfolio was rebranded under the strengthened HP Software name. solutions. The new technology could help HP customers obtain more information from network devices, enabling them, for instance, to determine which applications are using particular switch ports and how well the applications are performing.
In a further indication of industry trends, HP says that OpenView can now integrate offerings from more than 200 partners, to provide a variety of services and management solutions.
As the center of gravity for network operations, fault management anchors all other infrastructure management strategies. The network Layer 2 and Layer 3 topology topology, branch of mathematics, formerly known as analysis situs, that studies patterns of geometric figures involving position and relative position without regard to size. that is often a feature of fault management is also useful for laying out the dependencies of devices configured in the infrastructure. By identifying which devices in a logical chain support a particular service, fault analysis becomes a business resource, as well as an efficiency tool.
Once devices are mapped into a service, priorities can be set based on the revenue generated by the service. The addition of billing information to the priorities used to qualify a fault further elevates root-cause analysis from "nice to have" to an indispensable management solution.
Several vendors have embraced this cross-domain focus on networks, systems and applications. Aprisma's Spectrum security service manager and application service manager, for instance, provide network managers, security specialists and systems administrators with a unified interface and specialized alerts. This consolidated view gives network operators a more inclusive understanding of a customer's service and makes assuring service levels across network, application and security domains possible. Likewise, HP's OpenView VantagePoint and Service Information Portal bring cross-domain performance reporting to its network Node (networking) network node - (node) An addressable device attached to a computer network. If the node is a computer it is more often called a "host". Manager platform.
Meanwhile, Lucent Technologies has revamped its network management offerings as an integrated software Separate software components or applications that have been combined into one package. See integrated software package. suite. Known as Navis iOperations, the suite is capable of managing network elements, provisioning services and assuring quality-of-service guarantees across circuit, packet, optical and mobile networks from a single platform. Navis iOperations combines three existing packages and two new ones into a single portfolio to provide a "single dashboard" view of network operations across multiple domains. The initial prototype release is scheduled for December, with general availability in mid-2002.
Though a relative newcomer to network fault management, Micromuse has become one of the leading firms. Micromuse developed its popular Netcool suite in 1994 to help one of the world's largest network service providers manage service levels and maintain high availability Also called "RAS" (reliability, availability, serviceability) or "fault resilient," it refers to a multiprocessing system that can quickly recover from a failure. There may be a minute or two of downtime while one system switches over to another, but processing will continue. of its voice, data and Internet services. Today, the company enjoys a 10.3% share of the fault-management market, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. IDC, having doubled its share during the past year.
Its Netcool/Omnibus application, which was designed specifically for service providers, collects fault and status data from a variety of network devices and management environments. In addition to capturing host names and IP addresses, it can enrich network events and faults to include other meaningful attributes, allowing events to be managed from business and operational perspectives.
In May, the San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden firm introduced a browser-based interface, called Netcool/Webtop, for remote access to real-time network status information residing in Netcool/Omnibus. Service providers' customers can use Netcool/ Webtop to monitor their service availability for determining compliance with service-level agreements (SLAs). In addition, service providers sharing network bandwidth with one another can use the application to share live infrastructure status data.
Another fast-growing newcomer, RiverSoft, also focuses on fault management. Its Fault Manager combines active object modeling with discovery, polling and root-cause analysis to speed the resolution of network problems. The London-and San Francisco-based company recently launched the third generation of its flagship IP management software with a Dynamic Discovery feature that discovers network changes as they occur, and adds the new network elements to the topology database without having to rediscover Re`dis`cov´er
v. t. 1. To discover again.
Verb 1. rediscover - discover again; "I rediscovered the books that I enjoyed as a child" the entire network.
Full discoveries are typically performed once a day, after business hours BUSINESS HOURS. The time of the day during which business is transacted. In respect to the time of presentment and demand of bills and notes, business hours generally range through the whole day down to the hours of rest in the evening, except when the paper is payable it a bank or by a . So, without this feature, network managers might operate for much of the day with outdated information, the company notes. Another new feature lets users group network devices according to the business service they collectively deliver, and apply different management rules to each group.
To differentiate themselves and create new revenue opportunities, service providers are experimenting with a multitude of new services, price plans and business models. To do this quickly and efficiently, these providers need customer- and business-centric management tools that are easy to modify and maintain, and can scale to support millions of users. Several startups and smaller companies are responding with a variety of configuration management, accounting and performance-management tools.
For instance, with its ServiceProvider (SP) Guru management software, OPNET Technologies of Bethesda, MD, allows service providers to reduce the risk of service-level violations by validating operational changes to network configurations and capacity allocations before they are committed. Using a powerful simulation engine, SP Guru provides a "virtual network environment" that replicates the infrastructure and behavior of a live network, including topology, protocols, traffic and configuration information. The companion IT Guru software provides similar capabilities for managing enterprise networks.
Intelligence embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. in the latest version of the software allows SP and IT Guru to "understand" the entire network, including routers, switches, protocols and servers, and the individual applications they support, making validating changes easier, as well as streamlining predictive operational planning and configuration troubleshooting.
SP Guru's NetDoctor feature automates the tedious process of identifying configuration problems that cause performance and availability degradation. A scriptable interface allows operators to tailor NetDoctor analyses to accommodate proprietary policies and to codify codify to arrange and label a system of laws. years of operational knowledge into a structured, repeatable framework.
Service providers would like to know, specifically, which services their customers want, who their high-value customers are, and which are the most profitable services. XACCT Technologies of Santa Clara Santa Clara, city, Cuba
Santa Clara (sän`tä klä`rä), city (1994 est. pop. 217,000), capital of Villa Clara prov., central Cuba. , CA, addresses these issues with its Network-to-Business (N2B N2B Not Too Bad (internet chat) ) platform. By providing a real-time linkage between the service provider's physical network and business applications, N2B allows the providers to gain a more complete understanding of the services running over their network, and to use the information to generate revenue.
At its core, the N2B platform employs the XACCTusage engine, which captures granular granular /gran·u·lar/ (gran´u-lar) made up of or marked by presence of granules or grains.
1. Composed or appearing to be composed of granules or grains.
2. usage data from all network and service elements in real time. The engine synthesizes the data based on business policies, and transforms it into business intelligence.
N2B utilizes a variety of device-specific and general-purpose software agents that capture, filter, aggregate, correlate and merge data from network elements across all network layers--from the physical to the application layer. XACCTusage creates multiple, detailed records, which can be stored in a database or delivered to a business support application, such as billing, performance analysis or churn management.
MORE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP
Portal Software's Infranet customer management and billing platform is designed to speed deployment of new services and to help service providers define optimal business models and price plans, and bill their users. Infranet is a standard, off-the-shelf platform built on an open architecture for integration with other business system components. It comes with a suite of prebuilt pre·built
Of, relating to, or constituting a structure or a portion of a structure that is constructed or assembled before being transported to its site of installation; prefabricated: a prebuilt home. modules for specific industry segments, including wireless, wireline, cable, ISP (1) See in-system programmable.
(2) (Internet Service Provider) An organization that provides access to the Internet. Connection to the user is provided via dial-up, ISDN, cable, DSL and T1/T3 lines. and Internet telephony Another term for IP telephony and VoIP. In the late 1990s, some people made a distinction between Internet Telephony and VoIP: Internet telephony referred to voice over the public Internet, while VoIP referred to voice over private IP networks. . The Cupertino, CA, firm claims that Infranet is licensed by more than three-quarters of the world's largest communications service providers A Communications Service Provider or CSP is a company that transports information electronically. The term encompasses public and private companies in the wireline, wireless, Internet, cable, satellite, and managed services businesses. .
The rapid growth in the number of service providers, service types and pricing structures has made interconnection and settlement agreements between service providers more complex. Portal addresses this challenge with its Infranet Interconnect billing system, which rates and bills for event traffic among providers of fixed and mobile, voice and data services.
Service providers looking to generate new sources of revenue by offering different services based on variable levels of service quality and performance can utilize Trendium's ServicePATH solution to assure service quality, in real time, from point-of-sale through service activation and beyond. ServicePATH employs an infrastructure framework with plug-in applications that layer services over IP, ATM, frame relay A high-speed packet switching protocol used in wide area networks (WANs). Providing a granular service of up to DS3 speed (45 Mbps), it has become popular for LAN to LAN connections across remote distances, and services are offered by most major carriers. and cable networks--and over data-center infrastructures. It integrates with the service provider's OSS Oss (ôs), city (1994 pop. 62,141), North Brabant prov., S Netherlands; chartered 1399. It is a significant industrial center. Manufactures include meat products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, and metalware. environment to manage and assure value-added services A value-added service (VAS) is a telecommunications industry term for non-core services or, in short, all services beyond standard voice calls and fax transmissions. over multiple infrastructure layers and across service domains.
According to the Sunrise, FL, firm, ServicePATH's policy-based service assurance capabilities allow service providers to automatically correlate customer, service and infrastructure information to aid business decisions. Service providers can also manage and resolve service issues as they arise, with a priority based on individual customer commitments.
Sirius Software of Munich, Germany, combines its EOS Eos (ē`ŏs), in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of dawn; daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia. Every morning she arose early and preceded her brother Helios into the heavens. (Enterprise Object System) platform with prepackaged pre·pack·age
tr.v. pre·pack·aged, pre·pack·ag·ing, pre·pack·ag·es
To wrap or package (a product) before marketing.
Adj. 1. service monitors that check individual elements in the service delivery process, so that service providers can manage service delivery in its entirety, end-to-end, from both a customer and business impact perspective. An early warning system alerts operators to critical trends in availability, performance and service quality, so they can begin root-cause analysis immediately. Sirius recently opened a U.S. office in Ashburn, VA.
Edwards manages communications and network consulting for IDC, a global IT market research and consulting firm Noun 1. consulting firm - a firm of experts providing professional advice to an organization for a fee
business firm, firm, house - the members of a business organization that owns or operates one or more establishments; "he worked for a headquartered in Framingham, MA. Comments for publication should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.