Visionael has unveiled a new version of its flagship inventory-based network resource management offering. Although it's a small niche company in a field with very large rivals like Amdocs and Telcordia, Visionael is attempting to differentiate itself by focusing on the auto-discovery of network objects, and its latest offering is intended to help its customers avoid the slow process of manual discovery of those same objects. The Palo Alto, Calif., company claims it can offer ROI in under a year.
Software like Visionael's is intended to be complementary to service assurance products from the likes of Micromuse. The idea is that enterprises, service providers, government agencies and other customers need a way to discover and inventory the objects on their networks. Visionael estimates that many customers' measurements of what is on their networks are off by as much as 30-50%.
Technology Visionael's flagship offering, Visionael 6, costs between $225,000 for auto-discovery of up to 375,000 objects and $800,000 for unlimited objects. The idea is essentially that the software, which is installed on Sun or Hewlett-Packard servers in the network operations center or datacenter, is designed to help the company's customers automatically discover and inventory objects on their networks. According to Jeff Cotrupe, Visionael's senior product marketing manager, many companies' measurements of what is on their networks are off by as much as 30-50%, largely because of a lack of any single way to look at the many different kinds of objects –files, ports, cables and more –that are attached.
Visionael 6 is designed to give a real-time view of the inventory of a network by collecting data and reconciling that data back into the system. Visionael recently partnered with Intelligen to add that company's configuration management tools to the mix. Together, the companies' technology allows customers to not only inventory what's on the network, but also to check the current configuration of those elements, and see what has changed.
In order to give customers access to a wide variety of information, Visionael 6 is designed for automatic, off-the-shelf integration with fault management products from Micromuse, Riversoft and Hewlett-Packard. In combination, customers can take a deep look at their network and discover the condition of any object, and if something's wrong, figure out what it is.
All told, Visionael thinks its biggest value is its software's ability to help its customers avoid buying excess network capacity through the accurate measurement of what's on the network already. If customers think they have significantly more on the network than they really do, they can reduce their available capacity, cutting costs and getting closer to ROI on Visionael's software.
According to Cotrupe, Visionael's biggest competitive differentiator is its software's ability to automatically discover hundreds of thousands of network objects. He explains that the company's chief competitors –Granite, Cramer and MetaSolv –all provide network resource management data by taking data feeds from connected systems, rather than proactively discovering them.
Another Visionael selling point is its software's ability to provide real-time views of network inventory and conditions, while its competitors' are set up to gather data and present results over time. Thus, Visionael says its network resource management software gives the most accurate and the most timely information about what's on its customers' networks. Further, Visionael hopes its product will appeal to customers –especially enterprises –with newer networks, while its competitors focus on large network legacy deployments and wireless networks.