HP, Packet Design Strike Deal

Under the multiyear deal, HP's OpenView NNM will get visibility into Layer 3 routing.

Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView NNM will get visibility into Layer 3 routing and the actual path packets traverse, thanks to a new OEM deal with Packet Design Inc.

Under the vendors multiyear pact, HP will license the software used in the Palo Alto, Calif., companys Route Explorer appliance. HP intends to use its own platform, based on Compaq ProLiant hardware, along with Packet Designs IP route analysis software, to offer an optional tool for use with its OpenView Network Node Manager.

By next spring, HP will offer the optional appliance integrated with NNM through its own software channels. HP will integrate the route analysis software with NNMs topology map, event system, polling engine and user interface, officials said.

The Packet Design software can dynamically track the paths taken between source and destination by monitoring routers in a network as they exchange route path information. It acts as a passive monitor of the route path information exchanged between routers running Open Shortest Path First, Intermediate System-Intermediate System and Border Gateway protocols.

It promises to help boost NNMs root-cause analysis capability, problem resolution and the productivity of network operators trouble-shooting problems in the logical networks.

Because the Route Explorer can tell OpenView which routes are available and which are not, operators can see which problems are most critical to prioritize problem resolution, officials said.

Still, HP may meet with more than a little resistance to an appliance-based approach to Layer 3 management, according to John Morency, an analyst at Momenta Research Inc., in Chelmsford, Mass.

"It boils down to the willingness of users to go with the appliance-based approach," Morency said. "For a 5,000- to 10,000-node network, how many boxes do you need, and does it scale across that network? Is it an implementation risk youre willing to take? Can you get a decent return on an investment like this? The folks I talk to are still in hunker-down mode and arent investing in new management technologies."

Packet Design officials said that among more sophisticated network operators, the technology is viewed as a must-have.