Ready for VoIP: Network Management Architectures: AdventNet

VQManager, a subset of AdventNet's ManageEngine, monitors big VoIP deployments, including service provider networks.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Aug 8, 2008
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AdventNet, Inc., headquartered in Pleasanton, California, is a privately held software company with a broad portfolio of products and web services.

AdventNet product offerings span a number of vertical disciplines, including network, systems, and enterprise security management under the brand of ManageEngine, security, collaboration and office productivity, and web test automation tools.

AdventNet and its global network of partners provide solutions to multiple market segments including: OEMs, global enterprises, government, education, small and medium-sized businesses, and a growing base of management service providers.

AdventNet has regional offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Japan and China, supporting customers that include AT&T, AOL Time Warner, Bank of America, Coca Cola, Fidelity Investments, Intel, Lehman Brothers, Lockheed Martin, McDonalds, the New York Times, Pfizer, Time Warner Cable, Wells Fargo, and the United States Army and Navy.

The ManageEngine suite includes over 20 network and systems management products for network and server monitoring, VoIP monitoring, WAN traffic analysis, WLAN monitoring, firewall log analysis, change and configuration management, application monitoring, password and security management, plus IT Asset management and an IT Service Desk.

For VoIP networks, the ManageEngine VQManager product is a software-only, web-based, real-time Quality of Service (QoS) tool that can monitor any device or user agent that support the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the Real Time Protocol/Real Time Control Protocol (RTP/RTCP), or Cisco Systems' Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP). The system runs on a hardware platform with a Pentium III PC running on Windows 2000/XP, RedHat Linux 7.2/8.0, Mandrakelinux 10.1, or Mandriva Linux 2006.

VQManager is targeted at the VoIP monitoring needs of enterprise businesses, as well as small and growing service providers, and is intended for the post-deployment VoIP market. The system monitors VoIP QoS metrics in real-time, including jitter, latency, and packet loss, and produces detailed reports, self-configurable alerts, and in-depth fault probing-all from a single web interface. In addition, VQManager supports the processing of a number of vendors' call detail records, including those from Asterisk, Cisco Systems, PortaOne, ShoreTel, Swyx, and Tekelec.

The system incorporates a packet capture application that monitors VoIP packets across the network on a continuous basis. It analyzes and decodes VoIP traffic, and collects important call statistics and QoS information, which it stores in a MySQL database. By capturing the actual traffic traversing the network, VQManager is able to provide real-time information on important QoS parameters, such as packet loss, delay, and jitter values-as well as Mean Opinion Score (MOS) values for individual calls and for individual participants in a call. A web-based user interface provides for remote access to the monitored results using a Javascript-enabled web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater, or Firefox 1.5 or greater (see Figure 1).

Complete visibility of call traffic, from call initiation to data transfer to call completion, is provided through call flow ladder diagrams that illustrate the protocol interactions between communicating endpoints (see Figure 2). Further drill-down showing individual raw packet information allows for packet-level troubleshooting of VoIP issues, call details, and CODEC details (see Figure 3).

VQManager can generate network alarms, based upon user-defined parameters with varying levels of severity. These include: QoS factors, such as jitter and packet loss; too many consecutive incomplete calls; excessive call setup times, high average answer delay times; the average length of a call (either high or low); high voice bandwidth utilization, protocol errors derived from SIP processing; too many disconnects, or the volume of calls.

Alarms can be configured for different levels of severity (Warning/Major/Critical) by defining multiple thresholds for each alarm triggering condition. Notifications come in the form of Operator alerts, e-mails and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) trap messages (see Figure 4).

The system also includes broad reporting capabilities that are handled by built-in reporting profiles and customized reporting options. Network administrators can create customized and scheduled reports to focus on targeted problem areas-such as a daily call report of the poor quality calls from the CEO's phone.

Daily call summaries are categorized into successful and unsuccessful calls, with further segregation of calls based on the quality experienced. Daily, weekly and monthly trends of VoIP call quality and bandwidth utilization are plotted to provide inputs for further capacity additions (see Figure 5).

Detailed reports are also provided for each endpoint in the network, with QoS and call traffic data being split-up into outgoing calls and incoming calls, which facilitate the troubleshooting of user-specific complaints.

Further details on the AdventNet ManageEngine architecture and products can be found at www.manageengine.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 Enterprise VoIP Planet, © 2008 DigiNet Corporation, All Rights Reserved

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