Smarts to Unveil Enhanced Management Tools

The company will roll out updated InCharge, SAM products at SuperComm networking show.

System Management Arts Inc. at the SuperComm networking exhibition next week will try to both move into and out of the network operations center with new releases of its InCharge availability management and Service Assurance Manager tools.

To appeal to NOC operators, the White Plains, N.Y., company carved a new InCharge ATM/Frame Relay Availability Manager out of its existing InCharge IP Availability Manager to provide consolidated management of Asynchronous Transfer Mode and Frame Relay WAN links.

The new tool extends the SNMP discovery capability of the InCharge IP tool to incorporate topology information generated by element management systems for ATM and Frame Relay equipment, and then combines both types of data into a single repository for troubleshooting faults.

The tool works with other InCharge fault isolation and troubleshooting tools to provide cross-domain correlation, allowing network engineers to perform integrated event processing and root cause analysis from a common repository.

That cross-domain management is something that Smarts users at outsourcer Computer Sciences Corp. are "banking on," according to Brad Slamp, senior manager of the Network Management Center, Americas, in Newark, Del. "It is essential to where were going. If youve got a frame relay or ATM layer and an IP layer, you need to do correlation between the two."

It can isolate faults in virtual circuits, ports, trunks and switch cards. It can also determine the impact of problems on other network segments and map network topologies across multiple network technologies. The tool, available now, supports ATM and Frame Relay switches from Cisco Systems Inc., Lucent Technologies Inc., Marconi Corp. plc and Nortel Networks Ltd.

In version 5.0 of its Service Assurance Manager suite, Smarts is looking to broaden the reach of its software beyond the NOC into upper IT management and business unit managers, and out to end user clients.

SAM 5.0 adds multiple new reporting options intended to give executives a 50,000 foot view of the performance of their IT systems and applications, give business unit managers a view into the performance of mission critical applications they rely on, and give service provider clients a web-based view into the status of their networks and systems.

The new Summary Views in SAM 5.0 enable users to "set up what each manager will see, and they can categorize views by different organizational units," said Charlie Rich, product line director for Smarts. "Within it you have meters that are specific—i.e., a simple bar chart that shows performance and business impact information for a particular business unit."

The release also includes a new Web portal that allows IT uses to provide access for internal users or external customers to see detailed and high-level system status information via a browser.

"Thatll be a hit with my customers," said CSCs Slamp. "It will get a lot of use in my shop for sharing summary-level statistics of operations directly with our accounts. When companies outsource to a service supplier, they dont want to give up their eyes into the operations to get a real time feel for how things are going. But its difficult to get a secure, real-time view with granular information. The Web views give me a way to do that securely in terms of the number of open incidents and severity level for any given customer," he said.

SAM 5.0 also adds a report manager module that gives summary and historical reports on the results of InCharges root cause analysis and business impact analysis. SAM 5.0 is due out in July