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BMC upgrade takes process management to the network

An agreement between BMC and Packeteer will help businesses deal with the arduous task of tying network traffic and applications to business processes.

BMC Software Inc. has announced an updated version of its network monitoring product, and an alliance with WAN optimization vendor Packeteer Inc. BMC's enhanced product is designed to help businesses that rely on their networks for survival to better link network performance to business processes.

BMC's updated Patrol DashBoard Version 6.7 will allow companies to view integrated information from Packeteer's appliances about network application performance. That will help businesses gain a more full understanding of how the network is functioning and what end users experience, said Gerry Roy, a senior manager with BMC.

In addition, the updated DashBoard is designed to help businesses better align network devices and application performance to business priorities. That way, an organization can better understand how a poorly performing router or slowed SAP traffic is affecting an end user or an accounting process, Roy said.

The partnership agreement helps the Houston-based network management vendor's products to do a better job of meeting increasingly high network performance expectations, said Stephen Elliot, a senior analyst with the Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm International Data Corp. Businesses want to know more about application performance on their networks and are hungry to tie that data to business processes, he said.

It was just that kind of application performance monitoring that drew Egg plc to the product. Egg is a Derby, U.K.-based online bank with about 4,000 employees in three locations. WAN and application performance are both key to the company's survival, since its customers only interface with the organization through the Internet, said Neil Sloan, a network engineer with Egg.

Monitoring firewalls and switches are top priorities for Egg. With the new product, Sloan said he can integrate device performance with application traffic monitoring for a better picture of how the network is functioning.

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But when it comes to linking business processes to network functions, Sloan said he does not have the time to begin the complex procedure of identifying which network devices and applications are tied to which business process.

"It is a lot of work to get the benefits," he said.

Elliot agreed that while many businesses would like to have better knowledge of how their networks relate to business processes, many organizations simply do not have the time and manpower to be that proactive.

BMC is one of the first major network management vendors to announce a partnership such as this. But other much larger network monitoring vendors are moving in a similar direction, Elliot said. IBM is close to a similar partnership with Cisco Systems Inc., and other network monitoring vendors are likely to follow suit, he said.

"If the market is really heading toward on-demand or utility computing, no one vendor is going to do it all," Elliot said.

BMC will demo the product upgrade at the Networld+Interop conference in Las Vegas next week.

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