Linmor Rolls Out Performance Appliance

Startup's low-cost Nebula device evolves from company's earlier network management software.

Startup Linmor Technologies Inc. will take on big-name network availability and performance management players such as Hewlett-Packard Co. this week when it releases its management appliance.

The Ottawa-based company is targeting users of HPs OpenView with its low-cost Nebula PM Appliance, which offers carrier-class network management, according to company officials.

The Nebula appliance, priced starting at $9,500, grew out of the companys original network management software, which is based largely on open source code, including Linux, SNMP standards, the Apache Web server and open-source database technology, officials said.

"We can deliver the lowest-cost solution through the appliance/open-source technology approach," said a Linmor spokesman.

Linmor further reduced the cost of operating the tool by simplifying navigation in the appliance compared with the earlier software release and by making it possible to expand a management domain by adding more appliances to an installation. The appliances automatically recognize one another and share management data.

One user working with the Linux software backed up the startups claims of carrier-scale capabilities. "The software is carrier class as far as scalability and capacity [are concerned]," said the user at a carrier, who asked not to be named. The tool scales better than OpenView and offers more features, the user added.

The Nebula PM Appliance uses SNMP to collect management data from the devices it can manage and provides Web-based reporting through an Apache Web server console.

The multithreaded software can collect data simultaneously from multiple sources, and its open-source DBMS operates as a data warehouse for historical performance reporting, trending and analysis.

"We use the system to do fault management, capacity management and performance management for five or six different [routers from a variety of vendors]," said the user.

Different networking elements can be grouped according to a particular service they are delivering, allowing operators to view the health of the service, he added.

The appliances perform auto-discovery of networking elements at Layers 1, 2 and 3. When multiple appliances are deployed in a network, they automatically pass management data across the appliances data repository with no human intervention required.

In its real-time management function, users can poll network hot spots to gather data.

The appliance is also integrated with Micromuse Inc.s NetCool/Omnibus fault manager.

"There is an integration within Nebula that transfers events to NetCool, and it has backward integration to let you look at statistics that characterize how bad the fault is," said the user.

Early beta customer shipments of the 1U (1.75-inch) device, built to manage up to 250 networking devices, begin next month. Customers who sign up for the beta product receive a 50 percent discount. The appliance is generally available now.