HP OpenView

Of the myriad of OpenView modules offered by HP, Network Node Manager is the key monitoring and managing component.

Network Node Manager's discovery feature took note of not only network devices, applications and servers but also virtual network services, such as VPNs.

Network Node Manager uses Management Information Base (MIB) data from several sources, including routers, switches, bridges and repeaters, to reset devices or inquire about their health. It captures some Layer 2 data, such as connections and node addresses, but for the most part it maps easier-to-relate-to Layer 3 details. The impressive list of predefined MIBs includes use and error percentages, total packets by category, retransmits, Cisco memory use and full-duplex utilization percentage.

Network Node Manager collects network health data, stores it in a relational database, analyzes the stored device-status and event data, and reports results in useful charts and graphs. The system's root-cause problem analysis, dubbed Advanced Intelligent Diagnosis for Networks, was especially helpful for zeroing in on a specific device that was causing an outage or performance problem. When we substantially increased traffic or disconnected WAN links, its path-analysis capability was similarly helpful in pinpointing problems and performance degradations involving network pathways and linkages.

HP Operations Manager thumbnail: Click to enlarge

Network Node Manager's automatic baseline feature took just a day to become familiar with our network. It set alarm thresholds by analyzing collected device status and event data, thus giving it the ability to more realistically detect exceptions, faults and errors. After Network Node Manager created a baseline for our network, we manually added a few of our own thresholds. Network Node Manager generated prompt and highly informational alarms, via pager or e-mail, to notify us when the thresholds were exceeded.

Network Node Manager has a distributed architecture that scales well to handle larger and more complex network environments. Network Node Manager even monitors itself to make sure it's running normally. Network Node Manager has native Windows and Web-based versions of its user interface.

OpenView Operations Manager integrates with Network Node Manager to provide a central console for event management, performance monitoring and automated alert processing. OpenView Operations Manager has a high-level Visual Basic Scriptlike language for customers who want to tailor its processing. OpenView Operations Manager gave us additional dashboards beyond what Network Node Manager displayed, and it can show consolidated views of data from different OpenView modules.

The predesigned reports from HP highlighted items such as performance, alarms, availability and inventory trends. Many reports contrasted current and historical data, which helped us spot emerging problems, while other reports showed network utilization, top talkers and listeners, and inbound and outbound errors.

A Ping Response Time and Ping Retry report showed us response times and the number of retries, to help measure latency across our network. The RMON Segment Utilization report revealed network bandwidth use, and a Frame Relay report tracked congestion rates to show bottlenecks. Reports also showed summary and detailed device availability, device inventory data, alarm histories and multiple-device reboot events.

OpenView Internet Services tracks Web-based transaction services. We used it to monitor e-commerce transactions and SOAP-based Web services transactions. For each Web site, it noted availability and response-time details, and Internet Services alerted us when the service-level agreement (SLA) parameters we set up were exceeded.

Alerts took the form of pager calls, e-mail notices and SNMP traps. To fix problems automatically, we could tell the module to execute a command in response to an alert. OpenView Internet Services has a productive dashboard-metaphor user interface with tree-based navigation, SLA health indicators and a helpful troubleshooting and analysis tool.

HP OpenView documentation is only online. Despite its complexity, the software was easy to install and use.

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