Vendors look to pool management data

Network administrators soon will have two new options to help them make better use of the data collected by their multiple management tools.

Network administrators soon will have two new options to help them make better use of the data collected by their multiple management tools.

The products, Edge Technologies' enPortal 4.0 and Singlestep Technologies' Unity, pull data from third-party products, present it in one Web-based view and store it for network performance analysis.

EnPortal 4.0 is based on portal technology, but Edge says the software is more than a window into other tools.

Dennis Drogseth, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates, says the software also can automate workflow, normalize and correlate events, and take action based on user-defined rules.

And while management vendors such as Micromuse, Computer Associates and BMC Software purport to do the same with their portal products, Edge CEO Laurence Chang says enPortal has an edge in that it's vendor-agnostic.

"EnPortal is neutral, so it can help users build relationships between the tools and the events they generate without programming," he says. The software resides on a dedicated server and requests data from management tools in their native language. It then normalizes the data into one common language so events can be correlated more easily.

Start-up Singlestep also plans to address a management data need: integration. The company will unveil its Unity application, which also pulls data from management tools. The software stores all the information in a data warehouse, from which users can generate trend and historical reports. Unity provides visualization tools that let users relate events and model applications by dragging and dropping graphical icons and drawing connections between them.

Both products promise to help network managers improve their IT operations processes and workflow. Drogseth says the products complement each other, but they might become more competitive with each other and with software from companies such as Managed Objects.

"EnPortal can allow management and workflow actions through the portal, and Unity gives IT staff an easy way to integrate domain knowledge," Drogseth says. "They're not doing the same thing, but they're both making software that can help users consolidate and integrate - and essentially get more from - their management investments."

EnPortal 4.0 is available now for about $150,000. Unity is scheduled to be available by early next month and will be priced starting at about $75,000.

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