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Network management takes the floor at N+I

LAS VEGAS -- Times are tough out there, but the networking industry is doing its best to roll with the punches. Attendees at this week's Networld+Interop will not fail to notice that a large percentage of the exhibitors are touting network management solutions. If there is a theme for this year's show, it seems to be "Make the most of what you have."

Vendors like RiverSoft, NetReality and Trinagy are making a splash plugging products that help customers manage and inventory the network resources they may already own. This emphasis is long overdue, according to Prag Pruthi, CEO of Niksun Inc. "The biggest challenge we have is to look at the network and see what is wrong with it," he said. Niksun's software includes platforms for network performance management, security analysis and Web traffic analysis.

Analyst Tere Bracco, director of e-business infrastructure at Current Analysis, agreed. "Network management is a critical aspect of IT. Taking a proactive rather than reactive approach will save money in the long run."

Several vendors are taking the concept even further by integrating applications management into their software as well. Entuity Inc.'s Eye of the Storm software detects and monitors network devices, the servers connected to them and the applications running on those servers. President and co-founder Jeremy Tracy said there is a real need to manage IT as an enterprise service. "The whole thing is about understanding co-dependencies," he said. "When a switch fails, I need to know the impact on my applications and on my business."

BMC Software is taking a stab at the situation from the other end. Long known for its systems management software, BMC acquired Perform, SA, a network optimization software developer, in February. The deal allows BMC to extend its offerings from strict applications management to the network management space. The company is integrating Perform's network performance products, Dashboard and Visualis, into its Patrol systems management solutions. The new products are available as separate units that will work together with Patrol to provide total network and systems management from the application perspective, said BMC vice president Andrew Burger.

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