Network Monitoring

Reprinted with permission from Telecom Trends, August 2005

Copyright 2005, Pinestream Communications, Inc.

Uplogix was formed in Fall 2003 “to provide automated network support solutions for enterprises seeking to reduce the cost and complexity of managing their networks.” The company raised $3.6 million in Series A financing from Fayez Sarofim & Co. as well as experienced senior executives from energy, financial services, telecom, and the U.S. government. Uplogix has 12 employees and plans to grow 50% by end of year.

Uplogix argues that people are still required to perform most ongoing network maintenance and support work, resulting in network management remaining a labor-intensive and expensive operation. Uplogix provides automated network support solutions that lower operational costs by reducing the time spent on labor-intensive network maintenance and recovery. Uplogix’ solutions automate manual, error-prone support tasks by providing intelligent problem diagnosis, transparent fault resolution and proactive maintenance within the network infrastructure.

Today’s traditional in-band tools, while rich in data collection, monitoring and reporting, are designed to run over the network utilizing commonly available protocols, which provides limited value when network connectivity is interrupted or lost. Meanwhile, existing out-of-band technologies, like terminal and console servers, provide local access via serial connectivity to network devices but lack robust management capabilities, such as automated maintenance and ¬recovery.

The Uplogix Intelligent Out-of-Band (IOOB) management architecture combines the power and remote control of console-based administration with the device-aware intelligence of centralized, software-based systems. IOOB features a device-specific interaction engine that enables real-time execution of hundreds of support functions across thousands of networking devices in multi-vendor ¬environments.

IOOB removes network dependencies by being co-located and directly connected to devices to deliver localized automation and management services, regardless of the state of the network or device. With the ability to operate in-band and out-of-band, its solutions provide reliable, consistent management capabilities regardless of the state of the network.

The Envoy network management solution, Uplogix’ flagship product, is designed to reduce the dependence on network administrators to physically maintain, troubleshoot, and configure distributed network devices. Envoy co-locates with routers, switches, and firewalls to overcome traditional remote support barriers, and delivers IOOB architecture capabilities that complement and integrate with existing in-band, ¬network monitoring systems.

Envoy is a 24/7 virtual network administrator that, according to Uplogix, addresses 95% of the issues that regularly cause service outages and degradations in distributed network environments such as configuration errors, device failures and telecom faults. Uplogix argues that the automation capabilities provided by Envoy help to reduce the time and expense spent on manual network maintenance by 50% and network tech support by 25%. Envoy can prevent, automatically resolve or improve the mean-time-to-recover (MTTR) from 95% of the most common network service disruptions, and on average reduce network outages by 25%.

Envoy can accelerate the MTTR from a network outage or disruption by recognizing the problem, identifying the source, determining a solution, and executing the solution. Today, three of these four steps require the physical assistance of IT support. By automating each of these stages, Envoy shortens MTTR dramatically. For example, 20% of network problems can be solved via an automatic reboot. Envoy can identify a problem, cycle through an extensive list of recovery options, and ultimately execute a ¬reboot autonomously.

The Envoy Management Station (EMS) is the centralized portal for managing multiple Envoys. Working via EMS, network operations staff gain console access to all Envoys, as well as centralized administration to schedule and coordinate all Envoy maintenance and management operations. A single EMS is capable of managing up to 1000 Envoys.

Uplogix’ solution automates hundreds of network support functions including time-consuming, manual processes and a range of recovery procedures. Envoy capabilities include automated diagnosis & recovery, automated maintenance, management archives, SurgicalRollback™, secure and compliant remote management, and seamless integration whether in-band or out-of-band.

A survey of Fortune 1000 companies conducted by the Yankee Group found that 50% of respondents reported unauthorized changes were made in the past 12 months. And of the unauthorized changes reported, the network staff could not account for 47% of the changes. Envoy also provides a secure platform for remote management and ensures compliance with internal management practices. Envoy provides the capabilities to authenticate, authorize, and audit all network operations. In addition, Envoy can identify and respond to security attacks from both known and unknown sources, without sacrificing network performance and availability.

According to the Yankee Group, over 75% of network management resources today are consumed by basic support and recovery operations. Uplogix argues that its solution can address 95% of the service outages that affect branch office networks. Many existing tools are limited to simply monitoring the state and health of a network. Envoy can manage the network, rather than just collect and report data.

Uplogix believes its biggest competitor is simply people – either in-house or outsourced network support staff. By automating network support operations, Uplogix can drastically cut the costs of traditional network support and maintenance operations. In addition, by automating manual, error-prone processes, Uplogix solutions help to eliminate outages caused by human error, the leading source of network problems.

Uplogix is planning a product launch for the Fall at which time they will be announcing an upgraded version of the current product and customers. The company is focusing on core industries including energy, financial services and retail.

 




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"There are innovations in the marketplace that are beginning to pave the way for centralized control in a decentralized world. One of the most striking is Uplogix’ new Envoy management appliance with its unique mix of out-of-band management, in-band monitoring and configuration control for network devices at the edge."

— Dennis Drogseth,
Vice President of Research, Enterprise Management Associates