Managing change on enterprise networks has always been a challenge, due to the difficulties of documentation, network complexity and unforeseen problems.
Tripwire ease change management through its Tripwire for Network Devices 3.0, a multivendor network configuration management software product that manages, monitors and reports changes to routers, switches, load balancers and firewalls.
The product seeks and documents any changes made on a network's infrastructure. That functionality has far-reaching implications for enterprise networks that face reduced support staff and increasing reliability demands. Simply put, the Tripwire software helps assure that the network remains in a known and trusted state.
FRANK J. OHLHORST
Tripwire for Network Devices is available for Windows and Sun Solaris. Test Center engineers installed the Windows version on a Pentium 4 system running Windows XP. It runs on Windows 2000 Server and Professional, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional. The Solaris version requires Solaris 7 or higher. Product hardware requirements are relatively light, requiring only a 1Ghz processor, 512 Mbytes of RAM and 200 Mbytes of hard-disk space. Those requirements will increase based upon the number of devices monitored.
Installation is straightforward and well-illustrated by the included documentation. Once the product is installed, administrators will have to set up device monitoring and will need to gather pertinent information about the attached devices, such as administration account information and network addresses.
The product is also intuitive to use. Tripwire's browser-based console is easy to navigate and offers the ability to drill down into technical configuration details.
The product's main strength lies in its ability to define baseline configurations for each monitored device. Administrators can define baseline configurations and then use them to monitor for configuration changes or to push a baseline configuration back down to devices. The product's integrated management database allows administrators to be assigned to specific devices or groups of devices to help with accountability issues. Several levels of access rights are available to define particular user rights.
Device monitoring can be scheduled or event-driven, with SNMP-based events as the primary catalyst for detecting changes. Scheduled checks can be defined to occur on the minute or as a weekly event. That fine-tuning allows more active devices to be checked frequently, while saving bandwidth on devices that need to be checked only occasionally. Administrators can be notified of baseline changes via the console, SNMP events, pager or e-mail.
The supported device list is extensive, with all of the major network device manufacturers, including Cisco, Alcatel, Extreme Networks, Foundry Networks, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia well represented.
The product is sold based on the number of devices being monitored, with entry-level pricing at $19,900 for 100 devices.
Tripwire offers a channel program that is divided into three tiers: Elite, Premier and Reseller. The individual levels are based on sales and support requirements, quarterly commitment levels, sales history and the number of staff that have been trained or certified on Tripwire products.
Elite partners have access to a dedicated account representative and marketing personnel, while Premier and Reseller partners receive support through distribution partners. A dedicated Web site provides sales and technical presentations, white papers, demos and product information. The company also provide marketing support, joint sales calls and on-site or online technical and sales training.
All things considered, Tripwire for Network Devices v 3.0 offers a real-world solution to problems that can cripple enterprise networks. The product helps networks to avoid problems and offers a speedy resolution if they do occur. Tripwire also brings accountability to busy networks, which should please those auditing networks for security and performance issues.
CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS
> TRIPWIRE FOR NETWORK DEVICES 3.0
DISTRIBUTORS: Comstor, Patriot Technologies, Westcon
Note: Vendors can earn up to five stars for technical merit and five for their channel program. If the average of these two scores is four stars or greater, the product earns CRN Test Center Recommended status.