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Magnum gives Tivoli network mgmt. edge

Jan 20, 20034 mins
Asset Management Software

* How the Magnum partnership helps Tivoli

Tivoli is not well known for its initiatives in network management, and three or four years ago this lack of attention may have made sense. Tivoli was clearly focused on systems management and IBM data centers. The focus of NetView several years ago seemed to be unclear, even though NetView remained relatively pervasive throughout the industry.

However, one of the best-kept secrets in the industry is that Tivoli’s network management software – as part of its broader service management direction – is resurgent, well focused, and increasingly compelling.

It is an area of significant investment and activity for Tivoli, a fact that is perhaps best dramatized by last year’s announcement that Tivoli would OEM root-cause analysis and performance management capabilities from Magnum Technologies. Since the announcement last April, the integrated product set has been accepted by users and has matured in design and focus. It is added evidence that Tivoli’s may now be one of the more enlightened network management strategies in the industry, especially for businesses seeking infrastructure-wide control to deliver services.

Magnum Technologies is a small Minnesota-based company. Its Coordinator (the IBM Tivoli Switch Analyzer) for root-cause analysis, Cap-Trend for performance management, and DiagnoseIT for advanced troubleshooting of Cisco devices were all pleasing users prior to Tivoli’s announcement. Their strengths include facile deployment and administration, good support for systems and network devices, and synchronized topology information between products to support initial fault/performance integration. Magnum products were designed to leverage the polling and some topology capabilities from NetView – as well as OpenView, prior to the Tivoli announcement.

The Switch Analyzer builds a strong Layer 2 topology for NetView, correlating with Layer 3 topology information from NetView to provide insights into both physical and logical network connectivity. It also provides a root-cause analysis engine with strong and proven out-of-the-box functionality. Cap-Trend is also available from Tivoli, under the same name.

Tivoli in parallel is developing a cohesive, modular (Tivoli sometimes calls it “layered”) approach to managing IT services across a broad infrastructure. The Magnum technologies are a perfect fit, providing high levels of automation that can be deployed in NOC environments or integrated into a holistic view of network, systems and applications as they apply to business services.

The new approach already guarantees a common look and feel across the Tivoli product suite, but it also offers a lot more. For instance, Switch Analyzer can support NetView for purely network-centric operations, or it can integrate with the Tivoli Event Console (TEC), where a view of the broader infrastructure is achieved with other products, such as Transaction Performance Manager or help-desk products from Network Associates or Peregrine.

Switch Analyzer and NetView could also leverage their own data warehouses for large NOCs requiring more advanced trending and analysis. Conversely, they could feed a data warehouse, supporting systems and applications through other Tivoli products. Or they could do both – users could choose to harness a distributed data warehouse model targeted at domain-specific operations that then feeds a large, central data repository.

While these designs obviously favor larger, rather than smaller, enterprises and service providers, Tivoli’s emphasis on modularity enables flexibility. Moreover, Tivoli is wise to automate intelligence “lower down” to minimize administrative overhead where complex infrastructure and business views (through Tivoli Business Systems Manager) come together. History has shown time and again that a focus on managing to the business and the service cannot be achieved without significant investments in automation underneath. Tivoli’s investments in a company branded around “zero administration” make perfect sense.

Pricing for the Tivoli Switch Analyzer is $10 to $20 per managed port, based on the size of the configuration. Cap-Trend ranges from $4 to $15 per managed port.