Andersen Tackles Management Services

Monthly subscription offering aimed at easing network monitoring; taps Entuity's Eye of the Storm

Arthur Andersen LLP last week quietly kicked off an MSP offering designed to let customers offload network monitoring and management responsibilities.

The new monthly subscription service, based on Entuity Inc.s Eye of the Storm network management software, is initially targeted at startups, midsize enterprises and click-and-mortar companies in Atlanta.

Andersen plans to extend the management service provider service to Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and New York later this year.

Dubbed the Infrastructure Resource Management Service, the service "will have nationwide reach, wherever we have consultants available on a quarterly or monthly basis," said Jay Thompson, a partner with Andersen, in Atlanta.

The service will include an initial on-site assessment of a clients infrastructure, with recommendations for possible modifications to take better advantage of the network monitoring and management service. The monitoring will be done via a VPN (virtual private network), and Andersen consultants will periodically meet with the clients IT managers to assess planned changes.

"If they dont have one, well put a VPN device on their site and provide a secure tunnel. Then we ID the addresses of the network components well be looking at and extract performance data," Thompson said.

"They are building a service that will allow us to detect network congestion and other problems," said Kelly Bissell, chief technology officer of MeritSpan Holdings Inc., in Atlanta, an early customer of the MSP service.

"When it comes to utilization of our overall network as well as [MeritSpans WAN connection], Ill be able to see whether my service provider is meeting our SLA [service-level agreement] and make sure Im getting what I paid for," Bissell said. "The active reporting will help me manage my network better."

Andersens service will provide both passive and active monitoring of the clients network, as well as alerts and historical trends reporting.

Bissell said he is not only pleased to be working with Andersen for its depth of skills in business processes, but also because it has pulled together an "extremely knowledgeable team of network gurus."

Andersen chose the Eye of the Storm software as the foundation for its service because of the tools predictive capabilities, according to company officials.

A feature called generalized indexing degradation helps to identify "situations that might lead to an outage," Thompson said.

Andersens service does not, however, include problem resolution when outages occur. Still, "They will give us intelligent data so I can make better business decisions and decisions on how we handle capacity, security and other issues," Bissell said.

Pricing for the service has not yet been set. Thompson estimated that it will be in the $3,000-per-month range.