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AlterPoint product reflects progress in configuration mgmt.

Jan 19, 20043 mins
Data Center

* AlterPoint introduces DeviceAuthority Suite for configuration management

AlterPoint DeviceAuthority Suite, announced this month, shows that smart IT buyers are beginning to awaken to the value and power of strong configuration management across a wide number of devices.

Software for multi-vendor network configuration – as compared with brand-specific products provided by network hardware vendors – has emerged over the last three to four years as an area of considerable innovation. An array of companies have entered the market, such as AlterPoint, Aprisma, Ecora, Goldwire, Intelliden, Opnet, Rendition, Tripwire and Voyence.

AlterPoint’s release of DeviceAuthority Suite offers significant enhancements in change management (DeviceAuthority Update Module), as well as improvements in reporting, device outreach and integration (DeviceAuthority Audit Module).

Historically, AlterPoint’s most visible strength has been easy, flexible deployment across a broad array of brands and modules. It currently supports 20 brands and 340 combinations of models and operating system types – from routers, to LAN and WAN switches, to load balancers, to firewalls, to wireless access points, to VPN concentrators. DeviceAuthority Suite also has easily extensible support to other device types through a mediation layer and tool kit so that network engineers rather than Java programmers can add new devices.

Some of DeviceAuthority Suite’s other important features include:

* Its Audit Module can recognize changes to devices not directly managed through its own interface by accessing event messages from SNMP traps, Syslogs, TACACS+/RADIUS authentication and OpenView Network Node Manager. This not only allows organizations to leverage DeviceAuthority access control and updates incrementally while auditing the broader infrastructure – but it’s also important for devices, such as firewalls, where most administrators are not likely to give up their pre-existing, device-specific interface.

* DeviceAuthority has relatively rich integration with Network Node Manager – importing events and correlating them, and then exporting them back, if desired, as correlated input into NNM. This capability, inherent in DeviceAuthority’s architecture, can be extended to brands, and so far beta customers are integrating BMC’s Remedy and Tivoli’s NetView.

* A flexible workspace within DeviceAuthority’s new Update Module, called Integrated Network Environment (INE), takes a strongly pragmatic approach to enabling network engineers (in this case) to work with more fluid and efficient processes. It brings together tools – such as telnet, ping, and traceroute – to access and diagnose devices. For creating efficiencies in configuration and patch updates, INE also allows an engineer to build a library of scripts (50 are available out of the box) that are captured from interaction with network devices. This is through another capability – “AutoScriptor” – that can output into Perl, TCL/Expect and JavaScript format. AutoScriptor also provides guidance on syntax – so that any coding errors are automatically flagged when new scripts are written. Finally, INE can also leverage templates within the Update Module that define and help to automate and validate changes made to the infrastructure.

Pricing for the DeviceAuthority Audit Module, which includes the server, is $5,000 for 50 devices. The Update Module, which requires the Audit Module, is $7,500. It is one bellwether of progress in this increasingly important marketplace, and well worth a look for enterprises seeking cost-effective, multi-vendor configuration management and control.