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Network and Voice Management Software

Date:
By: Peter Williams

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We cannot overstate the importance of an integrated toolset
for seamlessly managing and supporting the whole enterprise
network and voice infrastructure. Problems occur, so the best
tools need to: a) very rapidly pinpoint and correct existing
faults and degraded performance, b) prevent problems
occurring in the first place where possible, and c) handle
network changes easily and automatically to minimize risks to
live operation. To reduce management complexity, the ideal
software set will also be easy to implement, update and use.

These are the factors providing the basis for Bloor’s software
evaluation criteria for reviewing four leading companies—CA,
EMC, HP and IBM. We provide an overview of their strategies
and technologies for network (fault and performance)
management and voice management in major enterprises, and
compare these companies’ strategic directions, technology
strengths and overall completeness. Here is a summary of our
main findings:

Overall: All four companies provide very capable solutions for
managing enterprise networks but varying degrees of
capability for voice networks. In our view CA’s Network and
Voice Management (NVM) solution rates highest overall in
enterprise network and voice management. IBM matches CA in
terms of completeness with HP behind primarily because of its
lack of VoIP. CA’s NVM suite rates highest for technology
through its relative stability, broad functionality and a clear
lead in integrated VoIP functionality. IBM and CA offer wide
distributed and mainframe network support, with HP and EMC
strong across distributed networks.

Strategy: Our top-down view, of necessity, goes wider than
network and voice management into IT service and systems
management strategies. All four vendors have well-defined
strategies which seek to extend their systems management
reach into the network and voice space and also provide a
significant business/application context for service
management. Overall IBM rates slightly ahead of HP and CA
through its well-grounded strategy which centers on ITIL best
practice and increasing automation throughout its product
stack.

Technology: Despite strong competition, we believe CA’s NVM
provides the best enterprise network and voice management
technology overall. Its network performance, fault and VoIP
management are well integrated with strong root cause
analysis and SLA tracking. CA was first to add integrated VoIP
management, and maintains its lead despite EMC and IBM now
adding VoIP capabilities.

Completeness: CA and IBM come together just ahead of HP. CA
scores highest for its end-to-end view, boosted by wellintegrated
VoIP management. IBM’s strengths include: global
reach, quality of customer support and depth of knowledge
through its global services consultancy. CA and HP also have a
wide global presence while EMC is behind but closing the gap;
for instance, it recently purchased specialist consultancy
Business Edge. IBM has new, unproven VoIP software, EMC’s
VoIP capability is partly through an OEM deal and HP lacks a
complete VoIP offering.

The main criticism in terms of fitness for purpose is offering
complexity and the consequent steep learning curve to gain
full benefit; this applies especially to IBM and HP, although
HP’s NNMi 8.0 is addressing ease-of-use while IBM is working
hard to ease installation.

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