Alterpoint Reins in Human Error

Alterpoint ramps up a suite that addresses human-based network errors.

Alterpoint Inc. is ramping up network change and configuration management with the next generation of its DeviceAuthority Suite in an effort to combat the growing number of network failures being blamed on human error.

At this weeks Hewlett-Packard Co. Software Forum in Montreal, Alterpoint, of Austin, Texas, will debut the new tools along with new certification of DeviceAuthority for use with HPs OpenView Network Node Manager.

With some 60 percent of network failures attributed to human mistakes, more enterprises are recognizing the need to automate configuration management, although the market today is made up primarily of smaller players. Cisco Systems Inc. offers some tools for its own devices, but its CiscoWorks suite does not address other vendors devices, and it is not well-integrated, according to Neal Juern, IS engineer at Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP in San Antonio. Juern, who evaluated CiscoWorks, is beta testing the latest DeviceAuthority release.

DeviceAuthority Suite 3.0, made up of the DeviceAuthority Server, Audit Module and Update Module, automates configuration management for devices from 25 vendors. It discovers devices in the network; gathers configuration data on the devices; and normalizes vendor-specific data in a data model that details hardware, software, configuration and component relationships.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs review of Alterpoints DeviceAuthority Suite.

A new network intelligence model incorporates expert knowledge on infrastructure management. The latest release lets users create configuration policies, and it can notify administrators when devices fall out of compliance.

That compliance-checking capability is a "big leap forward," said Juern. "We can set a standard [configuration] on a device and say, If this device does not meet these criteria, it falls out of compliance. They use policies and rules to make sure devices stay within standard configuration policies."

The new DeviceAuthority Update Module automates firmware and software upgrades to streamline patch distribution to thousands of devices. "When a vendor like Cisco says there is a new vulnerability and you need to apply this patch—theyve automated that process," Juern said. It scales to manage up to 100,000 devices.

Version 3.0, due at the end of this month, runs on Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux, in addition to Microsoft Corp.s Windows. It is priced starting at $19,950 for 100 devices.

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