Aprisma expands Spectrum

In November, Aprisma Management Technologies Inc. will break its flagship Spectrum network management package into three targeted releases and add features that will help customers track and find the cause of network problems more quickly.

Although the company would not disclose specific product details, beta version users say the package will feature improved event correlation and root-cause analysis capabilities, as well as the ability to share data with third-party applications using Spectrum’s central database and management console. Spectrum is network management software that monitors the availability and performance of networks; applications and systems, and helps users detect potential outages or network downtime.

Aprisma says the next release of Spectrum will come in three flavours – Spectrum for emerging enterprise, Spectrum for global 2000, and Spectrum service provider – for small firms, large enterprise companies, and service providers, respectively.

The company says it developed the separate versions to address the specific needs of different users. For example, small to midsize users will not have to purchase or implement the entire Spectrum framework, which can be costly with prices ranging from US$25,000 to $150,000, depending on the size of the network. The company would only say that the service provider version is more scalable to manage larger environments.

Aprisma follows competitors Computer Associates International Inc. with Unicenter and Hewlett-Packard Co. with OpenView, which this summer separately announced modular versions of their management software.

Giga Information Group Inc. analyst Jean-Pierre Garbani says the large network management vendors are now breaking their “framework” software down into smaller pieces that can be more easily integrated into a user’s heterogeneous environment.

“Enterprise users will be able to enjoy a less monolithic type of implementation.,” Garbani says. “And the big framework vendors will have to provide products better than the point products that are cheaper to buy and easier to deploy. Enterprise users can take advantage of that.”

While details from Aprisma were not forthcoming, enterprise users who will be beta-testing the package told of some key enhancements to the release. Some new features will include upgraded event correlation, which Kimberly Kloskey, senior WAN data network engineer at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, says will help her quickly determine the root cause of problems in the network.

For example, she says Spectrum will help her identify when seemingly unrelated events lead to a network brownout. She can then configure the software to take corrective action when those events happen again.

“When we can pinpoint those events, we’ll know before the help desk when the network isn’t performing well, and we can tell them to prepare for it,” Kloskey says.

“In a lot of cases, we can get it repaired before people even know it’s not working,” she says.

Katherine Stroud, network administrator at Bloomington Hospital in Bloomington, Ind., says she is most anticipating being able to share data between Spectrum and other third-party applications when she upgrades in November from Spectrum 6.01 to the large enterprise release.

“Right now, we have several consoles for our help desk, performance and network reports. With the next release, I’ll be able to set up a central database that shares the information and one console to gain access,” Stroud says.

She’s also looking forward to enhancements in the software’s auto-discovery features that will automatically locate and identify network devices and deliver an updated topology map.

On the road to IPO

In other news, Aprisma last month took the first step in becoming a publicly traded company when it completed its Form 10 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Aprisma was the infrastructure management software business of Cabletron Systems Inc. before it split into four separate companies last year.

In August, Cabletron shut down its business and spun off Enterasys Networks Inc., a maker of enterprise hardware, and Riverstone Networks Inc., which makes service provider hardware. Aprisma became a subsidiary of Enterasys.

Aprisma has applied for its shares of common stock to be traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol APRM.

Aprisma can be reached at http://www.aprisma.com.