SilverBack device looks to cut through logging

SilverBack Technologies Inc. last month unveiled enhancements to its flagship network management product that gather more information from Cisco Systems Inc. gear, scan networks for vulnerabilities and sift through device logs to help managers more quickly spot problem-causing events.

InfoCare 3.5, a network appliance with embedded management software, includes features the company says can save time for network managers responsible for tracking thousands of events per managed device. Specifically, InfoCare’s Event Log Monitoring provides IT staff with a means of tracking events on network devices such as routers, switches, firewalls and servers, without having to place an agent on the device.

For example, SilverBack will configure InfoCare to request logs from devices on a scheduled basis or only when an abnormality occurs.

Version 3.5 also will narrow down the sources of problems for network managers, says Paul Caskey, a network analyst with University of Texas Systems. Caskey started working with the upgraded InfoCare as a beta user about two months ago.

“Some of our event logs can grow to hold about 25,000 messages. And rather than having to look at the thousands of messages, we can have InfoCare flag any errors. It’s a big time-saver for us,” Caskey says. The added support for Cisco IOS also saves time for Caskey’s staff. While past versions of InfoCare read standard Management Information Base data, Version 3.5 can read native Cisco MIBs, reporting on CPU and memory utilization metrics on Cisco switches and routers.

Caskey runs the software in parallel with Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Gold network management software, and he integrated traps from a NetBotz environmental monitor into the InfoCare product. He says the SilverBack team worked with him to bring that specific NetBotz data into InfoCare.

A customer installs an InfoCare appliance in his network. The appliance comes preconfigured with network management, security and performance-tracking software, among other tools. It is connected to the SilverBack network operations centre, from which it receives software updates, maintenance and management through a VPN connection. Users manage their networks and view performance reports via a Web-based portal.

This version of the software also features a new Microsoft Windows-based platform. InfoCare still is available on its original Linux platform, but SilverBack President John Igoe says the Windows version can pull more Windows-specific management data from customer networks.

“Customers wanted the ability to monitor and manage Windows applications without using agents. It’s easier for us to get that information if we’re on a Windows system,” Igoe says.

Other new features include out-of-the-box integration with Compaq Insight Manager, Dell OpenManage, Novell Managewise and Concord Empire Agents.

InfoCare 3.5 costs between US$215 and US$235 per managed device per year depending on network configuration. InfoCare is available directly from SilverBack and through a global network of more than 30 service providers. The company’s Web address is