Easing Network Management

New software from Alcatel SA and startup SmartPipes Inc. aims to make network management smoother.

Alcatel SA and startup SmartPipes Inc. on Monday launched new network management software to help automate the setting of network policies for such applications as voice over IP and virtual private networks.

Alcatel launched new applications and features within its OmniVista 2000 network management software, available this month. The Paris-based company is offering a tool called PolicyView with "One Touch QoS" that would allow network managers to set quality-of-service policies across multiple Alcatel switches at once, rather than individually, for such applications as VoIP. The company also is offering for its newest switches a Web-based management interface, called WebView.

SmartPipes is expanding its suite of policy-based management tools for VPNs with its Remote Policy Management software line, launched at Burton Groups Catalyst conference in San Francisco. Available now, the tools allow for the management of such remote desktop client software as VPNs and dialers so the software stays updated and conforms to business use policies, officials said.

The new tools also facilitate orchestration of multiple desktop applications to enforce such policies as stopping Web browsing while connected to a corporate network via a VPN, said Ray Bell, chief technology officer and co-founder of SmartPipes, in Redwood City, Calif.

For Willis Marti, associate director of computing and information services at Texas A&M University, the latest features in Alcatels OmniVista software are helping to make network management smoother. Specifically, the PolicyView with One Touch QoS application was a major reason the university selected OmniVista.

"We are able to manage the whole network as a network, rather than a collection of devices," Marti said. "(That is) saving us a lot of time by eliminating the need for switch-by-switch configurations."

Along with the "one touch" abilities, the application also has an expert mode so users can define QoS based on any combination of IP addresses, MAC addresses, well-known TCP/UDP port numbers and VLAN groups, Alcatel officials said.