FRAMINGHAM (09/19/2003) - Systems Management Arts Inc. this week announced two software products; one that the company says will help corporate users manage voice-over-IP applications, and the other designed to ensure applications are running smoothly across enterprise networks.
SMARTS says its InCharge IP Telephony Solution, which includes several of the company's software products and works with Cisco Systems Inc.'s CiscoWorks IP Telephony Environment Monitor (ITEM) suite, can give customers a consolidated view of voice applications running over data networks. CiscoWorks ITEM is a collection of management applications that help watch over Cisco IP telephony gear and IP telephony applications.
Because of differences in voice and data applications, network managers need to track performance metrics such as latency, packet loss and jitter. For example, packets supporting a data application can arrive out of order because they will be assimilated properly at the end of the transmission, where voice packets need to arrive in order and quickly because network delay will affect the quality of the call.
"VoIP is just another application on your IP network, but one with specialized monitoring and root-cause analysis needs. That is what SMARTS is trying to provide," says Jasmine Noel, principal at JNoel Associates.
Once loaded onto a server, the InCharge software begins an auto-discovery process, seeking Management Information Base information, SNMP event data, system log data or data from network devices, systems and applications. The software can gather information about managed elements from Cisco, HP, Nortel, Oracle and others. It searches for "symptoms" of problems.
The SMARTS IP Telephony Solution monitors network elements that could affect voice quality. The software tracks applications, gateways, network cards and power supplies for network faults and performance degradations. SMARTS also can integrate performance metrics collected from Cisco's ITEM software and monitors the voice elements Cisco provides, such as the gateways and switches supporting the voice traffic.
Finding network problems
SMARTS also introduced InCharge Application Connectivity Monitor, which the company says can show if a network problem is causing an application performance issue.
"Every vendor that has management products installed on a particular element" is trying to upgrade its product to provide more than just element management, Noel says. SMARTS, along with competitors Aprisma Management Technologies Inc., BMC Software Inc. and Micromuse Inc., is looking to address application management and help enterprise companies improve service levels.
The software automatically can discover and analyze connectivity of any standard or proprietary TCP-based application or service. It also can check the status of connectivity on services that use FTP, HTTP, Network News Transfer Protocol, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and SQL.
Pricing for InCharge IP Telephone Solution starts at $50,000. Pricing for InCharge Application Connectivity Monitor starts at $20,000.