Tool Tracks Network Changes

The second release of Rendition Networks Inc.'s TrueControl network configuration tool focuses on greater extensibility and ease of administration.

The second release of Rendition Networks Inc.s TrueControl network configuration tool focuses on greater extensibility and ease of administration.

The software, which allows users to track and better control configuration changes in routers, switches, firewalls and load balancers in large, enterprise networks, can automatically detect when changes are made and notify appropriate network operators, officials said.

Released last week, TrueControl works across multiple vendors networking equipment and is intended to help reduce the repair times when outages occur.

Competitive offerings from AlterPoint Inc. rely on polling devices to determine whether a configuration change has been made. But with polling intervals as long as an hour, detection can take time and cost money, according to Raghav Kher, president and CEO of Rendition, in Redmond, Wash.

The instability of networks in a time of tight IT budgets is focusing attention on ways to reduce operational costs. Automation is a key mechanism to help reduce those costs, said Peter Christy, an analyst at NetsEdge Research Group, in Los Altos, Calif.

"The network as a whole is an unreliable system. Now whats important is that networks become better and cheaper to operate, and automation is a key element to making that happen," Christy said.

TrueControl serves as a repository of log information that includes comments from network engineers about why they made certain changes. When a change results in an outage, TrueControl can be used to return the network to an earlier, stable configuration, Kher said.

TrueControl Version 2.0 adds the ability to integrate with Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView Network Node Manager. TrueControl can be launched from within an OpenView console. Rendition is also planning to integrate with tools from NetIQ Corp., BMC Software Inc.s Remedy Action Request System and Computer Associates International Inc.s Unicenter.

Version 2.0 includes a software development kit for adding new drivers that allow users to attach other networking equipment not currently supported. The release is available now; prices start at $29,990 for 75 managed nodes.