Under Lucent, INS creates management 'portal'

Lucent's recent acquisition of International Network Services (INS) hasn't slowed the combined company, which has released software to give IT managers a unified and customisable view into their networks, applications and business transactions.

Just weeks after the acquisition was finalised, Lucent has released Version 7.0 of INS' VitalSuite performance management software, adding a "portal" capability. The suite allows an IT manager to customise a Web-based interface so it presents the key information the manager wants to see. The information could include the response time of particular applications or business transactions, or more technical data about link utilisation.

"The trending is what really caught my eye," says Tom Fitzmaurice, program manager at Convergent Communications. The company uses the software's ability to examine current data trends and extrapolate what future performance might be.

Before INS was acquired by Lucent, the former was already bringing together several products in VitalSuite -- performance monitoring software for networks, applications and business transactions.

The new portal capability puts a consistent front end onto those components that run on Windows NT servers.

Data is collected from servers to provide one view, which can be accessed via a Web browser. The new version also can generate precanned reports.

Change is underway

Things are already changing for INS, now that it is part of Lucent, says Tom Hogan, a senior marketing consultant at Lucent who has been with INS through the transition. He claims prospective customers take the products more seriously because the software is now coming from Lucent, a much more well-established company.

"It helps to have the red circle on our business cards," Hogan says, referring to Lucent's logo. The INS organisation hopes to take advantage of Lucent's large sales force to sell more copies of VitalSuite. Lucent, for its part, sees the product as one way of getting deeper into enterprise data networks.

Part of the portal's function is to give a different view to different members of an organisation. For instance, an executive may take a very high-level view, looking at the overall health of LAN or WAN connections. For that purpose, the company has created a "quality index," a figure that takes into account factors such as number of errors, congestion and utilisation to give a rough idea of how healthy the connections are.

IT managers also can use the product to highlight specific factors, looking at the worst hit in utilisation, for instance.

VitalSuite 7.0 is shipping today. Pricing depends on the number of devices being managed, and it starts at $US44,000.

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