EMC Utility Dissects, Monitors MPLS VPNs

EMC adds greater granularity of discovery, display and diagnostics for Multiprotocol Label Switching-based VPNs in a pair of Smarts MPLS Manager releases

EMC Corp. this week will seek to convince network services providers that it understands their key problems when it launches the next generations of its acquired Smarts MPLS Manager.

In its first Smarts product debut since acquiring management software provider System Management Arts Inc. earlier this year, the Hopkinton, Mass., company will add greater granularity of discovery, display and diagnostics for Multiprotocol Label Switching-based VPNs in a pair of Smarts MPLS Manager releases.

As big NSPs increasingly rely on MPLS for their next-generation converged core network to provide more advanced services over a single physical infrastructure, they are finding limited visibility into whats happening on the MPLS logical network and few tools available to automate troubleshooting.

"Manual problem determination means long lead time to repair," said EMC Smarts spokesperson Dave Walters in White Plains, N.Y.

Although other companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Concord Communications Inc. provide some visibility into MPLS, "Smarts is really focused on it as a unique transmission environment," said Dennis Drogseth, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., in Portsmouth, N.H. "Smarts can discover VPNs across an MPLS network. Im not aware of anyone else that provides that level of granularity."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read about what analysts said about EMCs Smarts buy.

The EMC Smarts MPLS Manager applies the patented Smarts code-book correlation to root-cause analysis of problems associated with MPLS. "We depend on its root-cause analysis. Its helped our mean time to repair considerably," said Doug Reed, senior computer scientist at BT Infonet, in El Segundo, Calif.

Smarts MPLS Manager 1.1 adds the ability to link to Cisco Systems Inc.s MPLS provisioning system, IP Solution Center.

The linkage allows network operators to better understand and fix IP failures that affect MPLS-based services, and it gives operators an "independent mechanism to verify that the Cisco provisioning system actually rolled out everything that is supposed to be there," said Walters. "There are places where this reconciliation is of great value."

Version 1.1, available now, also adds support for more Juniper Networks Inc. devices, including the ERX and M- and T-series machines, and for Junipers Virtual Routers—multiple instances of a router in a single Juniper chassis.

Smarts MPLS Manager 1.2, due in August, adds the ability to understand the health of a VPN from an end-to-end perspective using a VPN remote ping mechanism.

The mechanism can be executed manually or it can be scheduled, and it alerts operators when a customer edge router is affected by an MPLS network failure. Version 1.2 also adds support for managing and monitoring Layer 2 VPN services.

Smarts MPLS Manager 1.1 pricing starts at $50,000.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.