Managed Objects Offers Blanket Protection

With a mix of alerting and analysis features, Managed Objects extends its flagship product to offer customers a complete Formula for network management.

The El Segundo, Calif., company improved upon its infrastructure management software by adding a data repository, easy user interface and real-time and historical analysis functions in Formula Version 2, which is due out by year-end. According to the company, Formula extracts and consolidates data from disparate management systems, helping net administrators address daily problems and analyze network trends and future needs.

The Formula software engine is installed on a server in the customer’s network; it can run on any server platform that supports a Java Virtual Machine, including Windows NT, Solaris, AIX and HP-UX. Formula’s software agents are placed on other servers in the network that have different management platforms running on them, including Tivoli’s NetView, HP’s OpenView and Computer Associates’ Unicenter TNG. The agents report the activity of all the separate management platforms through portals connected back to the Formula software sitting on the designated server. This allows net managers to view all the activity of the network from one location and in one common presentation, the company said, adding that the client side of the software runs from any browser, which allows for customization.

Thomas Saine, technical vice-president of network engineering at Weblink Wireless in Dallas, Tex., said Formula lets his less experienced IT staff man the data centre without having to be an expert in every management platform.

Because of the 24-7 environment Weblink Wireless maintains as a wireless data company, Saine’s staff works in shifts and his department sees a lot of turnover in IT positions. With Formula delivering network alerts and management information to a central location, with one type of presentation, Saine is able to train new hires quickly.

“Formula is like a blanket that overlays all our other net management systems,” Saine said. “It gives us a common look and feel for the entire network. The employees become productive much quicker because there is only one interface.” He said Formula allows him to pre-assign levels of severity to each alarm and presents those alarms with a graphical display that is easy to read.

In addition to the daily staffing problems the software solves, Formula also lets Saine track network activity back to the true source of problems. Sometimes those reports have helped Saine improve the company’s business partnerships with vendors.

“The trend analyses on certain pieces of equipment have helped us better manage our vendors,” he said. “If anything is affecting our service, we can see it here.” Saine said with Formula running on top of its network, Weblink Wireless has been able to go back and look at alarm traces, which has allowed him to refine the training process of new hires and do a better job of correcting problems.

Formula Version 2 is available now in beta, and the company said it will be fully available by year-end. Pricing depends on the number of licenses and typically starts at US$100,000.

Managed Objects also announced its plans to release

e-Quations, stand-alone software intended to apply the company’s infrastructure management model to e-businesses.

Company president and CEO Siki Giunta said e-Quations will address the problems of business-to-business marketplaces. Like Formula, e-Quations will watch over all the elements of the business-to-business environment the network includes. She said often in systems management, the blame for downtime or abnormal behaviour comes back to the application. But e-Quations will point users to the underlying infrastructure that may be the cause of network problems.

“When people pay money for their subscription to an e-marketplace and they don’t see any return on investment, they are going to want to know why,” Giunta said. “Most business-to-business net market(s) have all the pieces and parts, but they don’t have a management layer right now.”

Managed Objects is currently seeking beta users for its e-Quations software, and Giunta expects to release the product by the end of the second quarter next year.

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