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The last few years have seen every business become more dependent on its network linkages, both internal and to the world outside, than ever before. In today’s hectic, ‘always on’ world, if network performance degrades or should connectivity fail then business and money is lost. Network management is an area that can no longer be either ignored or left to those possessing the rare, and often dark, skills to administer sophisticated networks without appropriate support tools.
Surprisingly, network management tools have existed for a long time, at least in IT terms, although their usage has been limited. The initial management tools consisted simply of systems able to monitor a limited range of network devices and provide simple analytics on usage and availability. Over the years such tools matured to provide the ability to monitor an increasing range of network devices and to deliver marginally more sophisticated analytical capabilities, sometimes combined with reporting tools and some trend analysis.
Today, things are maturing even further with network management tools delivering more than just monitoring and reporting. Now, with tools such as Eye of the Storm (EYE) Version 4.0 from Entuity Inc., network management, root cause analysis and active administration are finally becoming a reality.
Indeed, EYE version 4.0 focuses on three main areas, namely: fault and availability monitoring, inventory and resource discovery, and active performance management. However, rather than just treating these as technical capabilities to be monitored and administered, EYE combines these in a more ‘business centric’ fashion and seeks to deliver tools that address asset optimisation, network service level management and is rapidly moving towards linking network usage with business service requirements.
The company has taken a very pragmatic approach to network management and has simplified the technology so that organisations can utilise its software very quickly, allowing benefits to be achieved very rapidly after deployment. Indeed, EYE can discover the network topology quickly, map discovered network assets to business applications and allow proactive management to be realised very rapidly.
EYE can function as the centre point of an integrated network management strategy or as an essential component within an established systems management infrastructure utilising Entuity’s established Open Modelling Framework. EYE also includes integration with Cisco Systems’ CallManager VoIP management solution and incorporates support for IBM’s BladeCenter.
It is easy to recognise the central role that network administration will hold as flexible, business-linked IT solutions become conventional. Indeed, it can be argued that only the ability to exploit all of the information available in systems management and network administration tools, such as EYE, will create the final link between Business and IT. Such will form the launch pad for all strategic decisions going forward to the business of tomorrow.
The complex networks of today (and almost all networks today are complex) need to be managed with more than a human eye.