Micromuse Offers Cross-Service Provider Management

SAN FRANCISCO (03/17/2000) - Fault and service-level management software vendor Micromuse Inc. is to release Netcool/ServiceStream, a management tool to facilitate the sharing of performance information across service providers.

A new member of Micromuse's Netcool range of management tools, ServiceStream will form part of the San Francisco-based company's e-business strategy due to be unveiled at the Internet Commerce Expo in Boston on March 28, according to Adrian Rowland, Micromuse's director of Internet vertical marketing.

The other pieces of the strategy concern public endorsements of Netcool by some of Micromuse's more than 500 customers as well as the availability of a variety of customized e-business product offerings based on the Netcool suite, Rowland said in a phone interview today.

"ServiceStream is based on the industry's need to move towards cross-service provider management," Rowland said. "Historically, service providers have been very sensitive about the information they collect, now they're realizing it's useful to share it."

"There's definitely an aspect of business information and statistics that do need to be shared, at one time that was looked at as EDI (electronic data interchange), and that will go on," said Elisabeth Rainge, program manager with International Data Corp. (IDC), based in Framingham, Massachusetts, speaking in a phone interview today.

Aimed largely at the service provider market, ServiceStream will enable service providers and e-business companies who use Netcool to take a less passive role in terms of viewing service-level management data, Rowland said.

Previously, if such customers wanted to look at the service performance of a partner, they had to go to a Web site and then had no way of incorporating and comparing that data with the performance information that they had collected themselves or received from third parties. "We can collect all events together into a unified view" with ServiceStream via a live link to the Internet, allowing more proactive monitoring, Rowland said.

The connection out to the Net is protected by Micromuse's Netcool/Firewall software and the different Netcool client gateways act as filter mechanisms, only passing on the performance data that the service provider is prepared to share with its customers. For instance, the data a customer might be keen to see could include the performance level of its ISPs (Internet service providers), load balancing statistics between different ISPs and HTTP (hypertext transport protocol) monitoring.

If a problem occurs, the software will help pinpoint where the fault may lie, for instance, if it's a service outage from an ISP or an overloading of systems by an e-business company. E-business firms that offer services through an ISP, such as streaming media companies, are likely to latch onto ServiceStream as a way to see how their ISP is performing, Rowland said.

"The requirements of a voice network or data network provider or outsourcer are a lot like e-commerce, if the system's down, it's too late," IDC's Rainge said.

"Micromuse is very good at identifying the problems before the system goes down."

With ServiceStream, Micromuse is effectively repackaging a subset of its existing technology, using the company's ObjectServer database and different Netcool client gateways, Rowland said. Several of the vendor's service providers have already been using this product configuration, so Micromuse decided to turn the configuration into a packaged piece of software, he added.

"Micromuse is very, very well aware of what it takes to manage service operations, telecoms or outsourcing, it's taking its own technology and picking out the best bits for e-business," IDC's Rainge said.

ServiceStream will be shipping towards the end of this quarter, Micromuse's Rowland said. The product's pricing has yet to be determined, but will probably be in the range of US$12,500 for the basic software, with additional charges per client, he added.

Micromuse, based in San Francisco, California, can be reached at +1-415-538-9090 or via the Internet at http://www.micromuse.com/.

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