Ready for VoIP: Network Management Architectures: Codima Technologies

Part 10: Codima offers a complete suite of management tools suitable for both organizations and roving consultants.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Feb 7, 2008
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Our last few tutorials considered some of the challenges of managing VoIP networking infrastructures, and looked at some of the general categories of tools and systems that could assist with this challenge.

To briefly review, these included products for cable and infrastructure testing, network and performance monitoring Part 8, protocol analysis, remote diagnostics and enterprise management (Part 9).

We now embark on a review of commercially available solutions to that challenge, looking at one company's products each week, beginning with Codima Technologies.

Founded in 2003, Codima Technologies is a privately held, venture-capital-backed company that delivers beginning-to-end VoIP management tools to large organizations, system integrators, and service providers—plus small and medium businesses (SMBs). The company is led by an experienced team—each with 15–25 years in the marketplace—and is certified as both a Microsoft Partner and an Avaya DevConnect Gold Partner. Codima has offices in London, Philadelphia, Johannesburg, Stockholm, Sydney, and Tokyo.

autoVoIP interface
Figure 1. (Click for larger image)

The company's flagship product, the Codima Toolbox 5.0, was announced in October 2007, and includes a versatile set of tools and modules. The system is designed to help organizations take VoIP networks to the "next level" of performance, and is capable of managing that infrastructure from initial testing through daily operation.

The products provide network management functions in four key areas: service level management and service diagnostics, network inventory and documentation, automated topology maps, and real-time analysis and performance monitoring. Each of the Codima products is designed to be highly visual and intuitive to use—so that non-experts can access the major functions—while still retaining the in-depth capabilities that more technical net managers will require.

Consultancy Kit interface
Figure 2. (Click for larger image)

The Codima Toolbox includes six subsystems that can be installed as stand-alone products, or combined into a comprehensive network management architecture.

The autoVoIP component is designed for VoIP network management from pre-assessment through post-deployment, as a multi-function tool to monitor and troubleshoot VoIP networks in real time. This system uses passive analysis to produce live views and service level agreement graphs. It can gather quality of service (QoS) parameters, including delay, lost packets and jitter, and automatically calculate Mean Opinion Score (MOS) and R values (see Figure 1).

Traffic Sumulator interface
Figure 3. (Click for larger image)

The autoVoIP Consultancy Kit was created for service engineers and consultants that need a portable tool to manage others' VoIP networks. This subsystem monitors, displays, and analyzes VoIP networks, and can troubleshoot any infrastructure in real time. The product can support up to 500 SIP telephones, with integrated Frame Flow and Real Time Protocol (RTP) analysis (see Figure 2).

autoMap interface
Figure 4. (Click for larger image)

The autoVoIP Traffic Simulator is designed to assure satisfactory VoIP service prior to network installation. This subsystem will simulate traffic and stress test all types of VoIP networks, and then measure the quality of service that is achievable over time at different points on the network. In addition, the Traffic Blaster function can stress test the network to identify network limitations by monitoring the impact on the QoS, as the loading of both non-VoIP and VoIP traffic is increased (see Figure 3).

autoAsset interface
Figure 5. (Click for larger image)

The autoMap product automatically produces topology drawings directly with Microsoft Office Visio, and discovers and reports on the software and devices that are installed on any network. This solution provides a visual representation of the network topology, with the ability to save this information to a web server and viewed as a web page. A multi-site autoMap scheduler automates the discovery runs across multiple sites, allowing users to schedule topology updates from a central point, with each remote location having its own MySQL database (see Figure 4).

autoAnalyzer Consultancy Kit interface
Figure 6. (Click for larger image)

The autoAsset product is a dynamic multivendor inventory tool that can discover and report on an organization's networking assets. The autoAsset system operates from the Layer 2 device out to the installed software on the edge device, producing a highly accurate discovery of the connected components. This subsystem can also be combined with autoMap (see Figure 5).

The autoAnalyzer Consultancy Kit is designed for real-time network monitoring and troubleshooting on an enterprise-wide basis. The subsystem provides both passive statistical and protocol analysis of monitored frames, plus active analysis using information obtained from browsing using the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). In addition, it can act as an SNMP agent, thus extending the capabilities of an existing SNMP-based enterprise network management system (see Figure 6).

Further details on the Codima architecture and products can be found at www.codimatech.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors' network management architectures.


Author's Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E., is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

Article courtesy of EnterpriseVoIPplanet.com

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