CARY, N.C. -- Software vendor Atipa saw an opportunity and grabbed it by taking an open source network management project, adopting it as its own and developing software for sale to midsize and enterprise networks.
OpenNMS.org, which Atipa acquired two weeks ago, is an open source software consortium developing a network management tool for enterprise networks. Dubbed Bluebird, the product will begin testing before year-end and ship in the second quarter of next year.
Bluebird is the first of several software products Atipa will develop for network, system and application management. Residing on any open-source server, Bluebird discovers network devices such as routers, switches and servers, and maps them using SNMP and other proprietary management protocols that vendors such as Cisco use. Common Information Model monitoring will be included in future releases.
Once network devices have been mapped, Bluebird lets system administrators set policies and service-level agreements for monitoring and troubleshooting networks. The software can also generate alerts to pagers, trouble ticket packages, event forwarding systems or third-party applications, such as messaging. Bluebird is a Java-based application and can monitor any device that exists on an IP network.
In addition, Bluebird includes six polling modules that make sure Web, e-mail, Domain Name System, FTP, SNMP and diagnostic Internet Control Message Protocol services are running properly.
The founders of Atipa and PlatformWorks knew the only way they could compete with established management giants, such as Tivoli, Computer Associates, Aprisma and Hewlett-Packard, was by giving Bluebird away as open source software and relying on added services such as installation and configuration and support for sustenance.
Users of open source software understand that benefit too.
"We want to move to open source for network management of our production network at NCSU," says Dennis Kekas, director of the Networking Technology Institute at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. "You get a lot more flexibility with open source to do things more affordably [than with other packages.] Because Bluebird is open source, you get a lot of help developing applications and the software is free. Practically, you need the support [Atipa provides] and there is a premium for the service."
Most network management products in the open source community consist of sets of noncommercial utilities such as the Multi-Router Traffic Grapher or Scotty, which address only one component of the problem.