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Coming to ComNet

Compuware and Concord lead parade of management wares.

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In a reversal of recent trends, management software vendors at ComNet 2000 will tie together their various point tools, giving IT managers a simpler way to carry out many management tasks.

Compuware will reveal its strategy for integrating the network modeling software it acquired from CACI International into its own performance monitoring tools. The $1.9 billion company built its reputation on database and mainframe management software, and the new products are helping expand Compuware's reach in networks.

Concord Communications, which owns the biggest share of the network reporting software market, will demonstrate eHealth, software that will include a global view of data in the company's network, applications, services and systems management products.

A third company making noise is Lightspeed Systems, a small 15-year-old company that is set to deliver a package of network traffic management tools for Windows NT.

These developments reflect a turn away from specialized management products, says Dennis Drogseth, director of Enterprise Management Associates. "There is a trend toward uniting management software into more intelligent clusters," he says.

Management platforms that incorporate many different functions have been around for a long time. But in recent years, IT managers have sought smaller-scale products that specialize in one function. Now the pendulum seems to be swinging back to multifunction software.

Compuware says it will use data from its EcoScope monitoring software to continuously update the network models generated by CACI's software. In the past, network managers would load network data into the CACI software and use the models to determine what problems might crop up. With the upcoming integration, when the models indicate that congestion problems may be imminent, the software will generate an alert.

"If Compuware can swing it, it would definitely be worthwhile" trying out the combined software, says Joe Wrzosek, network analyst at 3M, which already uses CACI software. But he remains skeptical about how accurate the predictions would be.

Compuware will rename CACI's Application Profiler and Application Predictor; the new names have not been announced. The work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

Separately, Concord this week will announce its plans for eHealth, which will unite four categories of management tools under one framework. Concord acquired some of the tools last year along with Empire Technologies.

There are four components of eHealth. Application Health consists mainly of Empire SystemEdge software, and it notifies network managers of application failures. Service Health couples SystemEdge and software licensed from FirstSense to measure response times experienced by users. System Health is also based on SystemEdge, and it examines CPU and memory utilization on servers to check for potential problems. The last component, Network Health, is Concord's reporting tool for showing network performance over time.

"These components do go together today, but it's not as pretty as we would like it to be," says Jack Blaeser, CEO of Concord. "We'll be looking to integrate those four solutions into one seamless solution over the next several quarters."

Over the next year, Concord will look to integrate real-time monitoring and event correlation capabilities into its product set as well.

Lightspeed will announce a set of products for e-business applications based on NT. The products include Traffic Control for e-business, QoS Control for e-business, Server Control for e-business and Desktop Control.

Traffic Control performs several functions for managing traffic going to an NT server farm. The abilities include load balancing among the servers, providing security via a firewall and collecting traffic statistics. QoS Control can prioritize different packets, based on policies. Server Control monitors applications on the servers themselves, and can automatically restart the applications or reboot the server if problems occur. Pricing was not available.

RELATED LINKS

Compuware to buy CACI's network-planning tool group
Network World Fusion, 11/04/99.

Management vendors target e-businesses
Network World, 12/13/99.

What's behind the recent wave of mergers in network management?
Network World Fusion Focus on Network/Systems Management, 11/29/99.

Compuware's announcement of CACI acquisition

Concord's Network Health 4.5 - and how network reporting is turning a corner
Network World Fusion Focus on Network/Systems Management, 10/04/99.

Concord pack diagnoses application health
Network World, 08/23/99.

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