How we tested network-management devices

We evaluated each product's ability to discover, manage, administer, monitor, report on, diagnose, troubleshoot, reset, reconfigure and secure our network devices, applications, servers and clients. Virtually all our testing took place across WAN links (T-1, T-3 and Frame Relay fractional T-1).

The ability to resolve a problem automatically was a plus. We tested the sending of SNMP alerts as well as the processing of incoming alerts. We produced reports to show device and computer status information, network-use trends, security breaches, availability and uptime information, network baseline information and graphical maps of the network. We also tested any special features a product offered.

The test-bed network consisted of six Fast Ethernet subnet domains routed by Cisco routers.

Our lab's various computing platforms included Windows NT/2000/2003/ME/XP/Vista, Solaris, Red Hat Linux and Macintosh System 8.

The relational databases on the network were Oracle 8i, Sybase Adaptive Server 12.5 and Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

A Compaq ProLiant ML570 computer with four 900 MHz CPUs, 2GB RAM and 135GB hard disks, running Windows 2003 Advanced Server, was our test platform for all the products' server components, while a Dell Latitude D505 running Windows XP SP2 was our monitoring client.

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