Network Management - 2009 And Still Being Reinvented

I don’t want to admit to how long I’ve been looking at network management products for.

I could say, ever since the days when you started computers up with a winding handle but, of course, that’s the future not the past. Best part of 10 years ago I tried to start an industry body with the illustrious acronym – NGNMF – Next Generation Network Management Forum; had an inaugural meeting that was well attended by all who found SNMP offensive and useless, and went precisely nowhere thereafter. A bit like SNMP itself really…

So it was with both relish (rather than pickle) and no surprise whatsoever, that I spoke with a UK start-up this week, Cyclone Technology, whose netPrefect product is another attempt to solve the enterprise-wide issue of network management, coming from an “SNMP is a load of old b******s” standpoint. Phil Baxter, yer man behind netPrefect, sees the product as slotting in at the layer between the OpenView/Tivoli/CA top level – i.e. the products that cost $$$$ to draw a nice picture of the network and alert you to all the stuff you already know about and hide the stuff you really want to know about – and the products that dig in a little deeper and more specifically, such as the config change management and related problems that the likes of NewNetTechnologies deal with, which I’ve covered in this blog previously.

For me, a product such as netPrefect, which, among other things, carries out predictive trend analysis, in-band and out-of-band monitoring, remote access, and customisable threshold alerts and reporting should, given a basic discovery tool, be capable of replacing those mammoth SNMP managers of managers it – like all others – has to support.

It’s not just wishful thinking… Back to NewNetTechnologies – the company has had a couple of very large customers (unless the likes of National Grid don’t fit the description) throw out CiscoWorks in favour of NNT’s Change Tracker product, simply ‘cos it does exactly what it says on the tin, promptly and cost-effectively. Which kinds of sums up what’s needed in IT in 2009?

So, we’ll be keeping an eye on the netPrefect product – hopefully I’ll be getting my hands on it to test and position accordingly – and others, to see if we can finally bring NGNM (forget the Forum) home to roost…

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