AlterPoint adds intelligence, automation

Company upgrades flagship device configuration management software.

AlterPoint this week made available a new version of its software that helps enterprise network managers manage configurations across multi-vendor gear. The company added more features to detect changes, automate remediation and ensure devices remain compliant with regulatory standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley.

AlterPoint enhanced DeviceAuthority Suite 3.5 with more intelligence about network gear and equipped the software with the ability to translate vendor-specific language into a neutral format that enables the data to be correlated regardless of the type of gear. For example, data collected from Cisco routers can be stacked up directly against data from Nortel and 3Com routers as well.

The company also added a configuration syntax checking feature that will alert a network administrator of a configuration problem during the actual configuration process.

"It could be called a line spell checker of sorts," says Ryan Shopp, senior director of products management and product strategy at AlterPoint. "The software will tell the administrator that a configuration command is missing a letter or part of the command, which could potentially put the device in danger. Because some would say a majority of configuration errors are the fault of human operators, we are trying to reduce that number by proactively alerting during the configuration process."

AlterPoint also increased the automation capabilities in the software, Shopp says. In the past, DeviceAuthority could notify the network staff of a change. Now in Version 3.5, the software will take automated action to remediate any issues caused by the change. Shopp says it's AlterPoint's way of keeping up with customer demand for more adaptive networking features.

"Network administrators can tell the software, 'If you see a certain type of configuration change, don't just notify me,  change it back,'" he says. "There are more and more instances that don't require any human intervention."

Enhanced security features in Version 3.5 enabled through the integration with leading authentication systems such as CiscoSecure ACS, TACACS+ and RADIUS, will let network administrators access network devices through the use of usernames and passwords, which the company says provides more control and improves network security.

Other new features include out-of-the-box Sarbanes-Oxley reporting, which Shopp explains, provides templates that can detect and gather the information needed to adequately report on and control devices in line with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

AlterPoint's DeviceAuthority Suite includes a server, a set of adapters and an Open Database Connectivity-compliant database. It has two application components, the Audit Module for inventory reporting and the Update Module, which automates mass configuration changes across any range of devices. The suite supports more than 1,000 network devices from 25 manufacturers and audits in real time any change made to any of those devices.

Network administrators install the software on a server and kick off a device discovery process, which will report back hardware and software configuration data from every device to be managed. Network administrators can then set policies and rules the software can be set to automatically to enforce based on device configurations and network changes that could impact the configurations.

AlterPoint, which also announced this week that it raised $12 million in its third round of funding, competes with the likes of Intelliden (which acquired fellow competitor Gold Wire Technology), Rendition Networks (which was picked up last year by server automation vendor Opsware), Opnet and Voyence.

DeviceAuthority Suite 3.5 is now available. Prices for the DeviceAuthority Suite (includes DeviceAuthority Server, DeviceAuthority Audit Module and DeviceAuthority Update Module) start at $19,950 for 100 devices, while the DeviceAuthority Audit Module (includes DeviceAuthority Server) starts at $5,000 for 50 devices, and the DeviceAuthority Update Module starts at $7,500 for 50 devices.


Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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