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HPE NNMi upgrade provides management tools for virtualized networks

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's latest version of NNMi fills a need for better software tools to manage virtualized networks.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has upgraded its Network Node Manager software to monitor and manage networks that contain virtualized elements and physical devices -- a hybrid environment that administrators struggle to maintain.

HPE introduced this week NNMi 10.10 for virtualized networks. The upgrade adds support for virtualized functions, which large enterprises and cloud and communication service providers are deploying in their data centers. Network elements increasingly found on virtual machines (VMs) include load balancers, firewalls and VPN gateways.

NNMi provides administrators with a graphical user interface for viewing network devices. It also monitors their location and status and can analyze events associated with failures.

The NNMi upgrade supports network virtualization overlays, such as VMware NSX. The software tracks where VMs are running and identifies their hosts and Layer 2-3 connectivity.

The system also assists in fault tolerance, which is the procedure devices follow to avoid a loss in service when a component fails. Steps can include switching to a backup component.

Management tools lacking for virtualized networks

A large majority of companies adopting software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) find that current management systems do not fully support the new technologies, said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, based in Boulder, Colo. Those systems typically focus on availability and performance monitoring and troubleshooting for physical network devices.

"Many of these enterprises are either modifying their existing management systems or acquiring new tools," McGillicuddy said.

The update demonstrates that HPE has a roadmap for supporting SDN and NFV, McGillicuddy said. "I expect that the company will continue to make SDN and network virtualization enhancements to NNMi and other network management tools to address a wide range of new functional requirements."

In general, enterprises planning to deploy SDN and NFV need to have "in-depth conversations" with their management tool vendors to determine how they will support the latest networking advancements, advised McGillicuddy.

Other enhancements in NNMi 10.10 include productivity improvements to its user interface and support for more network nodes. The upgrade is available at no additional cost.

Companies that sell competing network management tools include CA Technologies, IBM and NetScout.

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