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5.2. NMS Suites

We use the term "suite" to mean a software package that bundles multiple applications into one convenient product. In this section, we discuss NMS software, which is one of the more important pieces of the network-management picture. Without it, the agent software in the previous section is virtually useless. NMS products allow you to have a total network view of your servers, routers, switches, etc. In most cases, this view is a graphical representation of your network, with lots of neat labels and icons. These packages are very configurable and work in almost any network environment. With this freedom, however, often comes a big price tag and a confusing setup process. Some of the products focus more on the network side of management (i.e., devices such as routers, hubs, and switches). Others go a step beyond this and allow you to customize server and workstation agents to integrate nicely into your NMSs. Keep in mind that the bigger packages are for larger, more complicated networks and require extensive training. Be sure to take some time to research the packages before purchasing; if at all possible, get trial versions. The rest of this section lists some of the more common NMS packages.

HP OpenView ITOhttp://www.openview.hp.com

Platforms

Solaris, HP-UX, Windows NT/2000

Pros

If you're a Fortune 500 company looking to implement OpenView on steroids, ITO is your product. It is very user-centered. Maps, events, and more can be displayed or hidden based on a user's profile. The event system is more like a ticket center. A wealth of third-party "smart plug-ins" are available.

Cons

Price can be very high. Made for serious enterprise companies. Not many people can properly implement this without training or outside consulting help.

BMChttp://www.bmc.com

Platforms

Many platforms, including Unix and Windows NT

Pros

BMC has developed knowledge bases for managing most aspects of the enterprise, including networks, databases, and servers.

Cons

The knowledge modules are useful, but proprietary. The cost tends to be on the high side. Does not use SNMP as its native language.

Computer Associates Unicenter TNG Frameworkhttp://www.cai.com

Platforms

Unix, Windows NT/2000

Pros

Can help you manage your entire IT business -- everything from traditional network management to your Oracle database system.

Cons

This is another heavyweight management system that can take substantial time, resources, and money to implement.

OpenRiverhttp://www.riversoft.com

Platforms

Solaris

Pros

RiverSoft, the company behind OpenRiver, boasts that their NMS provides "interventionless network management." They also provide true layer 2 and 3 network discovery. Despite the product's impressive abilities, it is priced very reasonably.

Cons

Currently available only for Solaris (although RiverSoft is planning a Windows NT release).



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