ComNet a launch pad for net management wares

Network management vendors used ComNet 2001 to launch everything from security monitoring to improved network problem-tracking tools aimed at helping users bolster existing management systems.

Among the roll-outs, Aprisma Management Technologies Inc. debuted a new security management product that will let users monitor their disparate security devices from one location. Spectrum Security Manager (SSM) is a stand-alone software product that when used with the Spectrum management platform, correlates security alarms and alerts with network performance data.

SSM components monitor security devices, such as firewalls, intrusion-detection systems, operating systems, applications, antivirus software and public-key infrastructure. The various alarms for the security devices are delivered to one console where a network manager can view them along with other performance and management information Spectrum collects from the network, systems and applications.

Tying security into network management software is a fairly new trend, but one that will benefit users, said Enterprise Management Associates director Dennis Drogseth. He said typically IT staff has to monitor network activity and network security separately. With SSM, users can see how and where security breaches are affecting the overall network. And the data collected on network devices and security alerts can be viewed from one console, reducing the number of people sitting and watching monitors for alerts.

“Instead of buying a bunch of routers, network managers will be focusing on how to better control what they already have. Products [such as SSM] will help manage existing infrastructure,” Drogseth said. At least that’s what Carlo Lalomia, CTO at Intellispace Inc., hopes. A Spectrum user since early 1997, Lalomia said his company is looking to bring SSM into its network management and security strategy, but didn’t find much beyond Aprisma’s SSM.

“There’s really not any other products that go out of their way to be a manager of managers for security,” Lalomia said. SSM will help Intellispace IT staff identify security threats, such as ping floods, and react immediately by finding the IP address of the hacker or automatically shutting down the router, Lalomia said. Among the benefits in terms of staffing, Lalomia said SSM will eliminate the need to hire an expert for each security device. He will be able to put one person in one location and feel confident his network security is being adequately monitored.

Not only Aprisma made product announcements at ComNet. Micromuse unveiled an upgraded version of its network monitoring product. Netcool/ Visionary 2.0 looks into network devices and tells network managers where problems are and how to fix them, sometimes reducing the mean time to repair by 60 per cent, the company said. The product polls network devices frequently for information. It collects data over time, uses Micromuse’s MicroCorrelation engine to analyze the data and can detect a problem within five minutes, the company said.

Some new features in Version 2.0 include:

    User-created rules: allows users to define rules for analysis of collected Management Information Base data for technologies not covered by existing rule sets.EdgeCorrelation: patent-pending technology that could eliminate false alarmsAutomated reconfiguration: enables the product to recognize changes in the configuration of a monitored device and adjust SNMP polling and data correlation accordingly.

Compuware Corp. introduced two new products it acquired from its purchase of Optimal Networks in July 2000. The key to the release is the integration with Compuware’s EcoSystems tool set. Application Vantage 1.5 and Application Expert 2.5 premiered as Compuware products at ComNet. Enhancements to Application Vantage will let customers distribute agents more freely, and Application Expert will integrate with Compuware’s EcePredictor to provide better analysis for capacity planning with real data captured from an existing network.

Meanwhile, Concord Communications announced a version of its eHealth network, systems and application management platform geared toward service providers. EHealth SPV includes added support for DSL and MPLS.

For more information, see Aprisma on the Web at; Micromuse at; Concord at; and Compuware at www.compuware