Management tool satisfies interoperability craving

Voyence claims its updated configuration management tool will whet the appetites of network admins hungry for interoperability because the tool works with gear from a variety of vendors.

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One vendor hopes its refreshed network configuration management recipe will please discriminating admins by giving them a generous helping of multivendor support.

Richardson, Texas-based Voyence Inc. today rolled out an update to its flagship VoyenceControl product.

The network management software automates complex and routine tasks such as adding devices and connections. It also enables more proactive capabilities, such as real-time auto discovery of network devices and topology information.

The new version, VoyenceControl 3.3, offers several new features, including a policy manager, product tutorial, integration with Cisco's CiscoWorks Resource Manager Essentials Web-based management tools, a global device search function to seek out certain devices on the network, an event manager to view activities transpiring on the network, a diagnostic tool to automate various commands and auto-populated configuration templates.

Michael Bunyard, vice president of worldwide marketing at Voyence, said the policy manager is v3.3's most compelling feature. He said it enables network administrators to create, edit, enforce and view policy results.

Bunyard said the flexibility of this version results from its multivendor approach. He said this product works with a variety of different vendors' networking equipment, including Cisco Systems Inc. routers, Nortel Networks Ltd. switches and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. firewalls.

He said this vendor-neutral software blankets and manages entire network infrastructures instead of running numerous vendor-specific software products for all the different brands and devices in the system.

In some cases, VoyenceControl enhances, rather than replaces, existing software. For example, the new CiscoWorks RME integration feature in v3.3 allows the application server to communicate with RME when exchanging data with Cisco devices. In this way, users have a central point of control and one data repository for all network devices with v3.3 while preserving its CiscoWorks RME investment.

Dennis Drogseth, vice president with Boulder, Colo.-based research firm Enterprise Management Associates, said the product will "hit a sweet spot for many in the enterprise market" because it is flexible, scalable and can be deployed easily.

According to Bunyard, VoyenceControl offers greater scalability because it runs on a three-tiered architecture comprised of network devices and servers pulling configurations and other data into a central application server.

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"This intelligent architecture is good for a large business with a distributed workforce," Bunyard said. "You can distribute your device servers locally within the network so they're locally processing data and efficiently sending information up to a centralized application server that's easy to manage."

Drogseth said v3.3, which is available now and starts at $19,995 for the first 100 devices, is best suited for large, complex environments, and therefore should be quite successful in the network management market's enterprise sector.

He said Voyence is already a leader in this market that, as a whole, is booming. AlterPoint Inc., Intelliden Corp. and Opsware Inc., with its recently acquired Rendition Networks assets, are Voyence's closest competitors, but according to Drogseth, it's an apples-and-oranges comparison as they all focus on different audiences and capabilities.

"The network management market is fairly new, but it's grown considerably," Drogseth added. "Across all the various vendors it has certainly seen 100% year-to-year growth."

However, he said, Voyence had differentiated itself by being a well-rounded vendor in this space.

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