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5.3. Element Managers (Vendor-Specific Management)

These software packages are geared toward a certain type of vendor or function; for example, an element manager might be a product that focuses on managing a modem rack. Before purchasing such a package, take a good look at your present environment, how it's likely to grow, and what vendors you are currently using or are likely to use in the future. Because many of these products are vendor-specific, it's easy to buy something that turns out to be less useful than you expect. For example, CiscoView (part of the CiscoWorks suite) is a great piece of software; it does lots of fancy things, such as showing you the backs of your routers. However, if you purchase a number of Nortel devices a few months after installing this product, it won't be able to give you a unified view of your network. Some packages do allow you to manage their competitor's equipment; for example, an element manager that monitors switches may be able to handle switches from competing vendors. Before buying any of these products, research where your network is headed, and be sure to ask hard questions about the products' capabilities. The remainder of this section lists some of the available element managers.

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