HP enhances net management offering

Hewlett-Packard Co. last month announced an enterprise network tool that enables network managers to accurately gauge the health and performance of local- or wide-area networks from anywhere in the world via the Internet.

The product, HP OpenView NetMetrix Performance Center, is the centerpiece of the company's next-generation network performance management tools and primarily is geared toward supporting midtier enterprises and remote management of large enterprises.

The current version is being offered on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT with plans to offer a Unix version by November and then a version supporting Linux.

The Performance Center provides network managers with one view of a network, whether it be a LAN, WAN or Asynchronous Transfer Mode network. More important, the product has been designed with an auto-discovery feature that enables it to be installed and operating in five minutes or less, according to HP. In addition, network managers can view detailed information on the health and performance of the network - including historical data - from remote locations using a World Wide Web-enabled Java graphical user interface.

Anita Manwami, general manager of HP's NetMetrix Division, said "the network has become the business" and the Performance Center "ensures that the network becomes a strategic business advantage." For example, network managers can rely on data from the Performance Center to gauge whether they are getting the best performance for their money out of their leased network lines, she said.

The Performance Center's ability to monitor network health in real time, trouble-shoot potential problem areas and distill that information into detailed reports are key features in helping IT managers keep their networks running, Manwami said. "It enables managers to take proactive measures before their entire business comes to a halt," she said.

The Performance Center also integrates directly with HP's Network Node Manager, which provides managers with detailed information on all devices connected to the network and enables them to drill down and view device-specific performance information, Manwami said.

Dennis Drogseth, director of Enterprise Management Associates, said NetMetrix is an exciting development in network intelligence and would fit well in the medium-to-large government enterprise space.

"It offers a tremendous richness of information," Drogseth said, adding that the product comes with a fair amount of industrial-strength capabilities behind it. "It allows you to create a really broad information repository...that can be shared by a tremendous number of applications," he said.

The NetMetrix model offers "a core intelligence system from which you can build applications that can share intelligence" about the network, Drogseth said.

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