Tavve net mgmt. tools extend remote reach

By Jeff Caruso, Network World |  Operating Systems

MORRISVILLE, N.C. -- To help network managers peer beyond their firewalls, Tavve Software this week will unveil a probe that collects management information from remote sites and sends it back to a central point.

At NetWorld+Interop '99 Atlanta, Tavve will announce tsc/eProbe, software that monitors a company's Web servers or other devices located at remote offices and transmits the data to a central management station. That station will run Tavve's existing management software, in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard OpenView or Tivoli NetView.

The company is planning to sell the probe as a hardware/software package in the form of a PC running Linux. The PC would connect to a network via a 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet card.

This configuration appeals to Jim Gross, manager of the telecommunications department at Lockheed Martin. Already a Tavve customer, the company has many remote sites but doesn't have network management experts at those sites.

"If we had multiple OpenView platforms across the network, we'd need to have somebody to baby-sit them on-site," Gross says.

Alternatively, Gross would like to be able to ship the new probe to remote sites, where someone without a lot of network knowledge could just plug in the power and the network connections. Then the probe could send management data to the network managers remotely.

The probe is a good idea for companies facing scalability issues, says Valerie O'Connell, director of enterprise management at Aberdeen Group, a consulting firm.

"There's not going to be a chicken in every pot -- an eProbe at every destination," she says. But the probe's low cost and simplicity will make it appealing to some large companies.

The probe polls network devices using SNMP, and it uses ping to check the response times of different devices.

The probe could reside inside a firewall at a remote site. It could filter out redundant traps, sending critical messages back through the firewall and across the Internet to a management station at a central site.

The management station, using Tavve's tsc/EventWatch, which correlates events, will help network managers locate where a failure is occurring.

The probes get around the problem of duplicate IP addresses, says Michael Tschirret, director of marketing and product management at Tavve. With multiple remote sites, it's possible to have the same IP addresses exist at different sites, he says. This can be confusing when probes at different sites report back and refer to the IP address. But each probe tags messages differently, Tschirret says.

The tsc/eProbe is expected to be bundled with Red Hat Linux 6.0, running on a Pentium II processor at more than 350 MHz.

The probe is scheduled to ship by year-end. The hardware/software package will cost about $7,500.

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