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What NCCM can do for you

Sep 20, 20043 mins
Data Center

* Benefits of network change and configuration management software

Enterprise Management Associates is weeks away from introducing a report on network change and configuration management. The report has evolved over the last three years of conversations with NCCM vendors and their customers. We now recognize that the NCCM market is finally beginning to take wing, as buying cycles shorten and benefits become increasingly clear.

What is NCCM and why should you care? Most of the vendors in this market provide the following:

* Change and configuration control across multiple vendors, allowing time-automated change updates with consistent centralized policies.

* Correlated audits of how, when, where and by whom changes were done – which can help in troubleshooting problems, enhancing security, and complying with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA.

* Integrated and centralized access control in support of security and compliance.

* Single-keystroke rollback for individual devices or components of a network, or the entire network – including support for disaster recovery.

* Integration (at least potentially, users are more often thinking about this than doing this) for fault management with systems such as HP Network Node Manager, Tivoli, BMC, SMARTS or Aprisma. EMA estimates that more than 60% of availability and performance issues are actually caused by configuration errors.

Other benefits, which are less pervasive across the market but which are supported by some vendors, are: service provisioning, operational and business workflow, staging and design, and infrastructure optimization. Given the breadth of this functionality, it’s safe to say that the very name for the market – network change and configuration management – should be viewed as a somewhat dull placeholder for something a little more intriguing, but hopefully just as descriptive. We are open to your thoughts on that.

The vendors mentioned in our report, in alphabetical order, are AlterPoint, Aprisma, Dorado Software, Emprisa, Intelliden, OPNET, Rendition, Tripwire and Voyence. I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that Network World has developed a very useful tool in its Network Configuration Management Buyer’s Guide, in which many of these vendors are also mentioned:

It’s still not too late to get your views heard in this report, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this market. Have you had experiences with any of these vendors? Are they positive or negative? While EMA is bullish about benefits and ROI – we are still open to your comments and reflections. Please e-mail me at

We look forward to hearing from you.