CAs Spectrum Links Network Configuration, Fault Management

The monitoring tool aims to give users a better view into the health of their networks.

CA will put a new twist on an old network fault monitoring tool when it adds new features to its CA Spectrum.

With the added ability to monitor network device configuration changes, the June 25 release of Spectrum 8.1 makes it possible to more closely relate configuration changes to availability or performance problems in the network.

The Spectrum 8.1 release is in response to a change in the way enterprise IT approaches network management, said Tracy Corbo, an analyst with IDC.

"Because of things like failed VOIP [voice over IP] deployments, people really need to understand whats going on in the network," Corbo said. "Theyre realizing there are a lot of holes in what they thought they knew [about the network]. Now they realize they need a single console to pull things together and understand what performance issues are on a day-to-day basis. Understanding the whole picture is really important."

CA acquired Spectrum two years ago in its Concord Communications buyout. Spectrum is now the first network fault management product to combine change awareness with "our patented network fault management root cause analysis," said Dan Holmes, director of product management for CA Spectrum, in Portsmouth, N.H.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about CAs Concord Communications acquisition.

Spectrum 8.1 can identify when a device configuration has been changed and what the change was. "We can identify whether it was a configuration change to [quality-of-service parameters], security settings or [access control lists], and leverage that to identify the root cause of a network problem," Holmes said.

Configuration changes are frequently the source of availability or performance problems on a network.

Customers will benefit from the linkage by being able to troubleshoot problems faster using a single user interface. A network engineer "can view net topologies, click on an item and see the configuration history for the item and what changed," he said.

"Thats a good feature," said beta user James Wiedel, director of networking at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "You can get a notification that a configuration has changed thats out of policy. You do get some traps back that a change has occurred in a Cisco router [for example]."

In Spectrum 8.1, CA also is further extending the integration between itself and the eHealth network performance monitoring and reporting software. "It can identify deviation from normal behavior within the infrastructure. When it detects [the deviation], eHealth notifies Spectrum of that condition," Holmes said.

Spectrum 8.1 also integrates for the first time with CAs Wily Introscope application management software and with CAs Unicenter systems management software.

The latest release also boosts the number types of devices that Spectrum can automatically discover and integrate with its network topology map up to 800.

Spectrum 8.1 is available now.

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