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8/27/2008
08:06 AM
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Configuration Tools Become Key Management Driver

Whats attached to your network? With user requirements constantly changing and an increased emphasis on mobility, the answer to that question is often elusive at small and medium enterprises. Consequently, these firms have been paying more attention to configuration management software.

Whats attached to your network? With user requirements constantly changing and an increased emphasis on mobility, the answer to that question is often elusive at small and medium enterprises. Consequently, these firms have been paying more attention to configuration management software.In fact, configuration management has become many IT departments top headache. Market research firm consultancy Enterprise Management Associates claims that 70 percent of application problems and network downtime are caused by configuration changes and errors. As these problems have become more pronounced network management vendors have been breaking down the barriers between configuration management and network management.

SolarWinds is the latest supplier to take on this task. The company announced that its Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM) version 5 is now integrated with its Orion Network Performance Monitor product. Network managers can control both applications via a Web interface. In addition, the configuration tool features real-time updates delivered using the applications built-in Syslog Server and SNMP Trap Server.

SolarWinds is one of the next generation network management suppliers. Traditional network and systems products from companies, such as CA, HP, and IBM, were expensive and required a number of network technicians to operate. SolarWinds has taken an open source approach to delivering its products, which have starting prices of a few thousand dollars. In addition, the vendor has concentrated on making its tools easy to use. The result is rising revenue, products used by 1 million network engineers, and plans to go public.

However, the company does face challenges. Even with its success, SolarWinds is small player: company revenue in 2007 was in the $60 million range. While many corporations talk about the need for better network and systems management tools, they often find it difficult to justify purchasing such tools. Recently, competition from established and other start-up companies has intensified. SolarWinds enhancement was designed to enhance its market position; time will tell if that is the case.

What tools do you use to manage your network? How much interest do you have in open source products? What would SolarWinds have to do to convince you to use its tools?

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