CA adds smarts to network performance mgmt. software

Enterprise network managers often bemoan the fact that while the tools they use to monitor network devices collect volumes of information, it can be difficult to make sense of it and time-consuming to compile and present the data clearly to upper management.

CA next week says it hopes to help solve that problem with a version of the eHealth network performance management software it acquired last year through its Concord Communications buyout . The latest release, eHealth 6.0, couples network performance data collection and analysis with a robust reporting engine, CA says. The company embedded a reporting front-end, based on Cognos technology, that can be used to customize reports and better exploit the data collected by the software, company officials say.

"The purpose of this release is to help customers more efficiently and effectively communicate network performance to their constituents," says Michael Marks, vice president of product marketing in CA's network management group.

EHealth 6.0 installs on a dedicated server (HP-UX, Sun Solaris or Windows 2003, for instance) and uses SNMP to collect data from managed network devices. The software has algorithms built in to help customers more easily analyze the data collected, CA says. To manage system-level performance, such as application response time on servers, eHealth uses both Concord's SystemEdge agents as well as CA's Unicenter NSM (Network and Systems Management) agent software.

The eHealth Report Center in this release also enables IT managers to pose "what-if" scenarios and answer questions around adding capacity, users or applications to a network. The software also can be configured to automatically generate reports around service-level agreement compliance for line-of-business managers or IT departments operating as internal service providers.

In addition to reporting, CA has pumped up eHealth with embedded workflows and an API that allows data collected by eHealth to be easily shared with other CA and third-party management applications. CA has been integrating its Unicenter software products with Concord's eHealth and Aprisma's Spectrum network fault management software since completing the acquisition of Concord last year. Concord had acquired Aprisma just before CA purchased Concord.

"By automating the exchange of information, we make IT shops more efficient and lower the chance of error by manually sharing data and also allow the infrastructure to be more responsive," Marks says.

EHealth is priced at about $50,000 for a base offering, which includes an Oracle database, the Cognos reporting front-end and a set of standard report templates, which can be customized for technology or business managers. EHealth 6.0 is expected to be available on Monday.

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