Network Management In The Spotlight At Interop

network management

BMC Software on Tuesday announced several new products and enhancements to its Business Service Management (BSM) offerings. On Monday, Avocent continued its push beyond its core KVM switch line with the introduction of remote management of its DSView 3 IT infrastructure management platform by handheld device, plus tighter integration with HP OpenView, NetClarity, Uptime Devices and LANDesk Server Manager.

Also on Monday, San Francisco-based Splunk rolled out version 3.0 of its search engine for logs and IT data, while SolarWinds and Neon Software get the prize for most jam-packed announcement with the news that the former has acquired the latter, which in turn has released a brand new version of its LANsurveyor product.

BMC's new offering provides "much tighter integration and process maturity" for tools built around Performance Manager and other core BMC platforms, said CTO Tom Bishop.

New products released by the Houston, Texas-based enterprise management software provider include BMC Transaction Management Root Cause Analysis and BMC Performance Assurance/Performance Exception Detector, as well as CMDB support for Performance Manager and the new Performance Assurance platform.

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The offering also includes new releases of the vendor's Performance Manager, Transaction Management Application Response Time, Event Manager and Service Level Management solutions.

"We believe the ideal approach to managing IT is that it should be done from the perspective of the business. What organizations told us is that they simply didn't want a set of tools that made one side of the house better but didn't integrate with systems on the business side," said Bishop.

BMC elite partner Column Technologies, an infrastructure management consultant and solution provider headquartered in New York, values the vendor for its investment in the channel as much as for its technology, said Column principal Rob Yario.

"The key to BMC's appeal is that they provide long-term contracts, offer front-line support to develop service contracts and they're an innovative company coming out with good products. We do joint marketing events and joint sales calls. We can develop products on their platforms and sell them on their own or with BMC," said Yario.

BMC partners can apply for marketing funds from the vendor to match 2 percent to 3 percent of sales, Yario said, pointing to Column's annual Borgata Event in Atlantic City, N.J., as an example of how lavish such joint marketing efforts can be.

BMC also hoped to highlight additions made to its Partner Network Program over the past year, said Lori Cook, VP of worldwide professional services and channels.

She said BMC's sales and technology training programs for channel partners grew out of internal BMC training for new employees.

"We had created some sales assistance for our new badged BMC employees, but about 18 months ago we invited select partners to attend. Now those sessions are made up of about 75 percent partners and 25 percent badged BMC employees. They're all in the same room, it's the same training for the partners as it is for the internal staff," Cook said.

Erin Shvetzoff, a sales executive for BMC premier partner Meritide in Minneapolis, Minn., said her "personal sales more than doubled" after attending BMC Sales Foundation training last January in Houston.

"After Sales Foundation, I was able to articulate the business value more effectively. I could bring it to the next level beyond just discussing feature-slash-function," Shvetzoff said.

Other additions to BMC's Partner Network Program include a BSM-certification process similar to the original BMC certification, a more nimble hosted sales demo and the addition of an "Elite" tier to its partnerships which affords access to pre-beta versions of new products.

Avocent Increases Reach, Flexibility

When Avocent acquired LANDesk last September, the Huntsville, Ala.-based vendor added server management capabilities to its infrastructure management offering. At Interop, Avocent announced that LANDesk technology is now fully integrated with its DSView 3 management software platform for data centers.

In addition, DSView 3 functions can now be conducted via handheld devices, such as a Blackberry, allowing for greater flexibility in managing unplanned changes, said Avocent director of software product management Graham Holt.

"LANDesk's server manager allows you to automate lots of tasks, like patch management. It means you can keep systems up and running a lot easier. The handheld component really comes in because when you do major configuration changes, you'll sit down and probably use the server management tool to do that. But another category of changes are the unplanned ones. So when you have to deal with these unplanned changes, for example, resetting somebody's password, you can do it from a mobile location and avoid inefficiencies and downtime," Holt said.

The 'Google for Logs'

"First you digest the name, then you get past it, and you've got a great product," said Tevora Business Solutions VP of sales Joel Baldus, half-jokingly about log indexing specialist Splunk.

"It's fast, it's accurate and my customers understand me when I tell them it's 'Google for logs'," added Baldus, whose Irvine, Calif.-based company does considerable business with the payment card industry, where log management is a crucial part of compliance.

A limited version of Splunk is free to download at the vendor's Web site, while an enterprise version capable of indexing terabytes of IT data on a daily basis is sold, with roughly 20 percent going through the channel, said VP of sales Frank Swain.

"The channel for us is evolving and developing. We're 20 to 22 percent channel as of today, and that number's growing, quarter over quarter," Swain said.

The latest version of Splunk adds real-time graphical reporting, time-based viewing and scrolling, flexible event typing and expanded search language to the IT data indexing tool, said VP of marketing Patrick McGovern.

The upgrades have a fan in Baldus. "All the new dashboards that they're bringing up add value," he said. "We've got a very large credit card company that's got another product and they don't use it for anything. In the event that they go to court, all the logs are there, which is fine for compliance. But in the case of Splunk, you use it in real time to find and fix problems, plus the logs are there."

Also at Interop, Splunk announced a "comprehensive technology partnership" with Coradiant, makers of user performance management equipment.

Splunk said an integrated solution will bring user data from Coradiant's Real-User monitoring equipment into Splunk Server, enabling IT staff to more easily govern Web infrastructure by correlating user experience measurements with event information that's "buried in the IT infrastructure."

SolarWinds Adds Neon Software to Stable

With the acquisition of Neon Software, SolarWinds adds powerful network discovery, mapping and documentation tools to its Orion suite of Windows-based network monitoring, discovery and management software.

Before the technological integration process is completed, SolarWinds plans to roll Neon's latest version of LANSurveyor and other products into its channel program and distribution network with Tech Data, said Kenny Van Zandt, SolarWinds chief product strategist.

"Step one is to take the Neon products and give them broader exposure to our channel base," Van Zandt said.

Neon head Craig Isaacs is excited about the deal, particularly the relationship between SolarWinds and Tech Data.

"I'm personally projecting major sales growth because of it, because we can leverage the channel together and grow. The immediate advantage is that LANSurveyor will be available throughout the entire channel because everybody has an existing relationship with Tech Data," said Isaacs.

Which isn't to say that Neon won't be bringing some partners to the party as well.

"I'm kind of looking forward to adding SolarWinds' product to our SNMP service offering," said Neon partner Bruce Warner, owner of Operative Software Products in Los Angeles.

"We work with both large and SMB companies. Neon can get down to the small guys, 25 to 50 nodes. We're talking very basic systems management type processes. Neon does device management either up or down. A tool like LANSurveyor can map out from 25 to 1,000 devices for the same price," Warner said.