> Cover Story
a Network Management Solution
market is flooded with Network Management Solutions and
selecting the most suitable one can be tricky. But here
are a few guidelines to follow and some features to look
keep up with the changing business needs from networks,
and to help organizations in managing their increasingly
complex and critical network systems, automation of network
management has become a must
networks and the Internet are three things taken for granted
in the world of business. In fact, more business is transacted
over networks today and companies have become entirely dependent
on their heterogeneous network for business continuity.
But the same driving forces that make networks so useful
for business the Internet, e-commerce applications; the
convergence of data, voice, and video are also making networks
more complex and hence, difficult to manage. Automation
of network management is imperative if networks are to keep
up with changing business requirements, and it can help
organizations manage their increasingly complex and critical
network systems. This automation is done using a Network
Management Solution (NMS).
There are a plethora of NMS solutions available from various
vendors and each one offers various features. Here are some
features to look out for while considering an NMS:
Scalability - The solution should be scalable and should
be able to address current/future needs.
Graphical user interface - A user interface which can
be started from anywhere and viewed from anywhere.
Centralized control - Organizations want to quickly
find and fix problems and respond to changes rapidly
from a central location
Standards based - Solution should support maximum number
of standards based technologies.
Distributed scalable architecture - One that can manage
complexity of networks.
Flexibility - Easy customization as per user needs.
An NMS can resolve many network-related problems. Here are
a few instances.
Security: As networks get more complicated, security
becomes a critical issue. An NMS can protect your network
from security breaches, hacker attacks and corporate espionage.
Network device failure: NMS can proactively monitor
networks links and send notifications for link failures
and threshold violations.
Resource Allocation: Allocation of resources to meet
fluctuations in needs, prioritising the network, application
and traffic on a dynamic basis.
Planning: NMS link utilization reports help in capacity
planning of environmental parameters like CPU utilization
for network devices like routers, switches.
Health Monitor: NMS displays information about the
status of a device, including buffers, CPU load, memory
available, and protocols and interfaces being used.
Heterogeneity breeds complexity: Rapidly growing
networks with heterogeneous platforms create issues of interoperability
and connectivity. Deploying an NMS to manage this is a big
Knowledge of the network: NMS helps in tracking network
elements quickly and efficiently. It can track new elements
that are added every now and then in the network.
Measuring the Link availability: NMS generates link
availability reports, which help in identifying bottlenecks,
and in network planning.
Offline Network Analysis: NMS helps in collecting
historical network data for offline analysis of performance
trends and traffic patterns.
Lower WAN costs: NMS enables WAN users to be segmented
into workgroups, which also aids in security. By limiting
traffic to business-related applications and to authorized
users, you'll reduce bandwidth usage and save on expensive
Now that you have an overall picture of NMS, lets talk about
some of the players or vendors in this segment.
Enterasys offers an NMS solution called Netsight. This product
basically helps in managing the Enterasys range of networking
products. In addition, Enterasys also promotes Spectrum,
the multi-vendor NMS from Aprisma. One feature of the Enterasys
product includes the ability to identify fault areas in
the network and thereby report to the network manager through
an alarm. The other features include:
Virtual workgroups based on business demands
Decision-enabled connectivity for smarter management
Ease of network administration
802.1Q standards-based management
TNG is Computer Associates' family of integrated infrastructure
management solutions, and it ensures the health and performance
of all aspects of eBusiness infrastructure, including systems,
networks, databases, Web resources, applications, and end-user
devices. Through the use of a flexible and enhanced architecture
and leading-edge technology such as advanced intelligence
and visualization, Unicenter delivers Internet-caliber scalability
and administration in a modular, easy-to-use design that
grows with your needs across this increasingly heterogeneous
Anand Sankaran, Head-Sales and Marketing, Wipro Infotech
says, "CA's NMS provides powerful control of core IT
resources that make or break your business responsiveness.
These products consist of modular network and systems management
solutions that deploy quickly and incorporate changing technologies
from wireless to Voice-over-IP (VoIP)".
Cisco provides solutions that are mainly targeted at the
wide-area and local-area operations of enterprise networks.
The three major solutions are:
LAN Management Solution: Provides operationally focused
applications for configuration, fault monitoring, and troubleshooting
campus networks. It enables network administrators to effectively
manage their LAN and campus networks.
Routed WAN Management Solution: Provides a collection
of powerful enterprise management applications to configure,
administer, monitor, and troubleshoot routed wide-area networks,
thereby dramatically reducing their complexity.
The VPN/Security Management Solution: These solutions
manage and monitor service-level agreements, optimizes VPN
performance and security administration.
The CiscoWorks2000 IP Telephony Management Solution is a
comprehensive suite of management applications
that ensure the readiness and manageability of converged
HP's OpenView provides a complete portfolio of management
solutions that help IT staff take full control of distributed
IT resources across the enterprise. These solutions include:
Network management solutions that help manage networks by
providing a clear view of its components, including hardware,
applications, and databases.
Systems management solutions that effectively monitor and
control the entire computing environment, including hardware
and systems management .
Availability management solutions that help maximize system
performance by providing tools for measuring both real-time
and historical system performance.
Performance management solutions that monitor the performance
of critical client/server applications from a user perspective,
and allow managers to compare service level objectives with
actual application performance.
Storage management solutions that offer automatic device
discovery, topology maps, device management, storage virtualization,
storage capacity management, performance monitoring and
IBM's Tivoli network management solution helps you in keeping
your network devices (routers, hubs, bridges, PCs, and workstations)
up and running. One component of this NMS is Netview.
NetView displays network topologies, discovers TCP/IP networks,
correlates and manages events and SNMP traps, monitors network
health, and gathers performance data. Tivoli NetView meets
the needs of managers of large networks by providing the
scalability and flexibility to manage mission-critical environments.
Tivoli NetView allows network administrators to centralize
the management of network hardware devices and servers by
gathering key network information
The ZENworks product line balances the need to control user
and IT staff efficiencies, resources, and management costs
with the need to confidently extend and personalize business
processes to employees, customers and partners. Directory-enabled
and policy-based, ZENworks products provide high levels
of automation, personalization, security and control for
an end-to-end management solution that enhances users' quality
of experience in an increasingly competitive and opportunistic
Nortel offers an NMS suite called Preside. Preside's domain-specific
network and service management solutions are standards-based,
scalable and carrier-grade, enabling efficient, optimized
networks. Some of the features include:
Improved return on technology: Preside enables efficient,
optimized networks through scalable, carrier-grade, and
Faster time to service: Preside helps overcome the
complex network obstacles that keep you from getting new
services to market quickly.
The Convergent Network Management Center (CNMC) is a remote
network management service available to corporates. This
is a total managed service that has been designed to provide
proactive monitoring and ongoing network analysis for corporate
networks over the Internet. Convergent is offering a twenty-four
hour a day, seven days a week, proactive network management
service from its CNMC. Services include:
Identify Network Performance Issues
Design Network Performance Enhancements
Implement Network Performance Enhancements
Some of the other companies offering remote network management
services include Bangalore Labs, HCL Comnet and WiproNet.
Mahesh Rathod can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org