Edge aims to Tame Management Duties

FRAMINGHAM (04/21/2000) - Companies looking to create a single management console for their networks may want to consider new portal software from Edge Technologies.

The Fairfax, Virginia, network management software firm is expected to announce the rollout of enPortal at the upcoming NetWorld+Interop 2000 in Las Vegas.

This product will take data and technology from disparate network management vendors and consolidate the information on one customizable graphical user interface that can be accessed via a Web browser.

Users will be able to perform tasks such as troubleshooting problems and ensuring quality-of-service levels are being enforced without having to jump through multiple screens, Edge says.

A unique view

With enPortal, unique views of the network can be crafted for individual users, depending on the information they need. The portal can monitor the network in real time by geographic topology, business process or applications, Edge says.

The portal can also integrate data from different management products, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView or Concord Communication Inc.'s Network Health tools, and report that data to IS staff.

EnPortal will have a workflow engine feature to automate standard procedures.

For instance, if a particular router needs to be configured in a special way, the step-by-step process of doing it is recorded in enPortal's database. Any employee needing to configure that router will then have an automated set of steps to take, which will save training time for IS staff.

The competition

Edge is not alone in the net management portal arena, says John McConnell, principal at McConnell Associates, a consultancy in Boulder, Colorado. At least one other company, Manage.Com in San Jose, has been offering portal products for the past year, he says. However, the workflow engine sets Edge apart, and if delivered effectively would be highly valuable to users, he says.

This is a product that could result in productivity gains for large enterprise networks, says Michael Lanier, chief information officer of Rhythms NetConnections, a provider of broadband connections. Lanier is in the process of beta-testing enPortal in his Denver network. He believes his users will be able to combine network management processes and views in ways never before possible.

EnPortal will be available next month for Windows NT initially, and later for HP-UX and Solaris. Pricing starts at $55,000.

Edge Technologies: www.edge-technologies. com

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