It is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary improvement for Tivoli’s new NetView 6.0 network monitoring and diagnostic tool, according to Richard Ptak, vice-president of systems and applications management for the Hurwitz Group in Framingham, Mass.

“I think it’s more progress along the path they’ve been following for a while,” he said, referring specifically to the three major new features on board NetView, all of which are designed to make the user experience easier. “It’s not earth shattering. It makes the product easier to use and more effective in use.”

Foremost among the new applications is Tivoli’s new Java-based Web console, which allows network administrators to access Tivoli NetView data, including node status, object collections, events and real-time diagnostics, from anywhere on the network. According to Tivoli, the scalable design of the new Web client enables ten times as many operators as before to access a single Tivoli NetView server.

“What NetView has been concentrating its efforts on has been improving its usability factor, its user interface and its ability to anticipate and provide support for the real network user, the network manager – someone who’s using it everyday and trying to resolve (network) problems,” Ptak said, noting Tivoli’s NetView is in fierce competition with two other leaders in the network management tool space: Computer Associates and Hewlett Packard.

Ptak was particularly impressed with Tivoli’s responsiveness to customer feedback, as evidenced on two other features included in the new NetView: Router Fault Isolation (RFI) capability and Location Sensitive Topology.

The former feature is designed to quickly zero in on a faulty router when a problem occurs in a managed network.

“If a router goes, everything downstream from that can be indicated as being a failure,” Ptak described. “And what NetView does is suppress that event storm and only tell you information about that specific (faulty) router.”

Tivoli said the RFI will replace time-consuming and error prone manual customization with an automatic solution.

According to Tivoli, NetView’s new Location Sensitive Topology allows network administrators to guide the map layout of the network. The goal is to enable an automated creation of topological views that reflect the administrators’ intuitive understanding of the network, incorporating geographic, hierarchical, and priority information about the network directly into the topological view.

Tivoli added NetView’s open architecture, which will allow network administrators to integrate topology data from other element managers and manage a variety of network resources from one central console.

Although network management tools can be used for any business, Ptak said the majority of users are medium to large businesses.

NetView 6.0 is available now, but costs are dependent on network size and complexity.

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