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Relicore improves network mapping

Relicore has updated its network configuration management software with new real-time mapping capabilities and compatibility with HP OpenView.

Relicore Inc. next week will announce upgrades to its configuration management software, as well as compatibility with Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView software that will help businesses better understand dynamic networks and tie network infrastructures to business processes.

The Burlington, Mass.-based vendor on Tuesday will release Clarity 3.5, an updated version of its configuration management software.

Using agents placed on the network, Clarity tracks device configurations and changes in network traffic. It uses that information to create real-time maps of network devices and traffic flow.

"Manual efforts to document the network environment are not successful in live, running operations. They get out of date quickly," said Blair Wheeler, vice president of marketing at Relicore. "Our product maps business processes to IT infrastructure and keeps the picture up to date."

Companies have long struggled to maintain accurate maps of their networks, which are used to understand how changes affect application traffic, and to improve troubleshooting, said Jasmine Noel, principal analyst at the Boston-based research firm, Ptak, Noel &Associates.

Systems management products, such as HP's OpenView, have allowed network managers to get a view into the network, Noel said, but historically they have not helped in distinguishing the important from the insignificant.

In addition, networks are dynamic, and every change affects how traffic moves through the network, Noel said.

"Some large enterprises have thousands of moves, adds and changes every week," she said. "When you can track this in real time, you have a better idea of what is going on in your infrastructure."

Clarity 3.5 helps to enable that by allowing comparisons between network devices to help businesses troubleshoot. The new product also tracks who makes configuration changes and what was altered. In addition, it can track connections between servers.

The new product now supports enterprise versions of Linux, Microsoft Windows 2003 and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris 9. In addition to integrating with OpenView, Wheelersaid the product will eventually integrate with other popular network management tools.

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Allmerica Financial Corp., in Worcester, Mass., began using the previous version of Clarity six months ago. Dave Carlson, vice president of service delivery for infrastructure at Allmerica, said he found Clarity while searching for a product to help him better plan and track changes to his network.

A particular problem was managing changes in the company's 26 Web and messaging servers. They need to be exact clones of each other, and he was having trouble managing the changes in that environment.

Clarity was able to provide real-time reports on any differences between the multiple servers, Carlson said.

"We can monitor changes at the operating system level," Carlson said. "We can tell who made the changes, when and what they did. It is immensely valuable."

He also hopes to deploy the new product across the organization's network so he can monitor whether or not any network changes have been made.

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