HP improves Network Node Manager

Hewlett-Packard Co. this week introduced two versions of its flagship network management software. Both offer users better reporting and more ways of slicing and dicing data, while one adds Layer 2 discovery and improved root-cause analysis.

As part of a software rollout at its annual HP Software Forum in Seattle this week, HP unveiled OpenView Network Node Manager (NNM) 6.3 and 6.3.1, which both include nine new ways of viewing data in real time. The releases also include support for HP Application Server (HP Bluestone) and HP OpenView Reporter reports.

Network Node Manager is the cornerstone of OpenView. It runs on Unix and Windows NT workstations and discovers all of the devices on a LAN using Simple Network Management Protocol. OpenView includes add-on capabilities that allow network managers to monitor specific applications.

The two versions contain almost all the same core features, but they do have one difference. NNM 6.3 is not currently available as a stand-alone product; it ships with OpenView's Extended Topology add-on, which HP licensed in November 2000 to add Layer 2 discovery to NNM. NNM 6.3.1 does not include the Extended Topology 1.5 add-on that is based on source code from RiverSoft's Network Management Operating System (NMOS), HP says it made the add-on a requirement in NNM 6.3 to speed its development in OpenView products.

With the NMOS technology, NNM can discover Layer 2 elements and collect the switches' board and port information as well as port aggregation. The technology gives users a deeper view into their managed nodes, HP says. And despite reports last week of Micromuse buying RiverSoft and incorporating the NMOS source code into its flagship fault management product, Netcool, HP says its plans for NMOS will not change.

"We licensed the source code, and we retain the rights to that regardless of RiverSoft's status," Patty Azzarello told about 1,700 attendees at the show. "And I think because we've had it for some time now, it's safe to say we're ahead of Micromuse in terms of incorporating it into product."

The dynamic views included with the two releases let IT administrators view their managed nodes in a variety of formats. NNM users can create filters to view only the data related to performance problems, HP says. The dynamic views let users customize how they view the data and relationships represented by NNM. The views range from visualizing physical elements, to tracking NNM over the Internet, to monitoring virtual LANs and Open Shortest Path First connections.

The company also says the new releases of NNM reduce the number of events pouring in from OpenView by 45 percent. The reduction will help network managers pinpoint the true sources of problems more quickly, says Jeff Conrad, development lead for HP OpenView NNM.

Conrad says HP is working on a version of NNM to support IPv6, but the company hasn't received enough feedback to begin work to include support for SNMPv3 in future releases.