Ready for VoIP: Network Management Architectures: NetIQ
NetIQ is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and is a provider of comprehensive systems and security management solutions that help enterprises maximize IT service delivery and efficiency. NetIQ is an Attachmate business, and has offices in Seattle, Washington, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and over 80 other worldwide locations.
Attachmate is a privately owned company with approximately 1,200 employees that generate around $400 million in annual revenue, and develop products in a number of different communications specialties. These include: terminal emulation for connections to IBM, HP, UNIX, Unisys and other hosts; legacy integration, which allows the reuse of legacy applications in service-oriented architectures; PC lifecycle management, with comprehensive tools to deploy and track operating systems, software, and hardware assets; X Server, that connects Windows users to graphical and character-based applications on UNIX, Linux, IBM, and OpenVMS hosts, plus Systems and Security Management—an expertise that was acquired through the purchase of NetIQ.
With more than 12,000 customers worldwide, NetIQ's solutions help IT organizations deliver critical business services, mitigate operational risk, and document policy compliance. While NetIQ caters to the enterprise market, it also serves the carrier and MSP segments within the VoIP industry. The company's portfolio of network management solutions include products that support Run Book Automation/IT Process Automation, VoIP Lifecycle Management, Systems Management, Security Management, Configuration Management and Change Control.
NetIQ's VoIP management solutions include four products: Vivanet Assessor, AppManager for VoIP, Vivinet Diagnosics, and VoIP Security Solution.
The Vivanet Assessor helps the network manager quickly determine how well VoIP will work on a network prior to deployment. The product
- evaluates and reports on the network's ability to support VoIP requirements
- collects network metrics to provide an accurate prediction of call quality
- builds a network inventory of routers, switches and WAN links
- performs an assessment of device configuration gathered during the network inventory
- highlights limitations of current network devices
- and improves planning with predictive modeling, using "what if" analysis.
Vivinet Assessor is designed to perform extensive testing of a data network to ensure its capability for supporting voice traffic. In addition to performing an inventory of the equipment, the product will highlight configuration issues (for instance, with QoS settings).
The AppManager for VoIP product is designed as a comprehensive solution for ensuring the availability of VoIP quality of service, and measuring and reporting on success metrics and service levels. The system allows a number of VoIP applications, including IP phones, call servers, voice mail, and IP contact center applications (plus the underlying network infrastructure) to be managed from a single, integrated console.
Application modules have been developed that include support for Nortel IP telephony and contact center, Cisco Systems IP telephony, call data analysis, phone quality, and voicemail, VoIP quality, plus unified messaging environments, like Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and HP Insight Manager (see Figure 1). AppManager for VoIP measures the end users Quality of Experience (QoE), providing a MOS score or an R-Value. When call quality drops below the set threshold, AppManager for VoIP automates troubleshooting with Vivinet Diagnostics to uncover the Quality of Service (QoS) issues on a data network leading to faster time to resolution.
The Vivinet Diagnosics product analyzes the network path between the calling and called party, while gathering detailed performance data about the routers, switches, links, and voice gateways. This allows the system to indentify the cause of network performance problems, and quickly pinpoint the likely cause. Diagnostic reports are available that include CPU utilization, delay, jitter, insufficient bandwidth, and network congestion (see Figure 2). The AppManager, Vivinet Diagnostics and Vivinet Assessor all support SNMP v1, v2 and v3, and RMON interfaces to assess, monitor and diagnose problems on an enterprise data network supporting voice traffic.
The VoIP Security Solution protects the VoIP infrastructure from both internal and external threats without sacrificing performance and availability. The product collects security events in real time to detect threats to the VoIP environment, analyzes call usage patterns to spot abuse, and also logs security events for auditing and forensic analysis (see Figure 3).
NetIQ claims to offer the only complete management solution for the VoIP lifecycle—Assess, Alert, Troubleshoot, and Report. Beginning with a comprehensive assessment with Vivinet Assessor, users can quickly provide an executive summary report with a go/no go recommendation for deployment as well as a detailed report for the IT administration to determine what updates are required for the network to properly support converged data and voice. AppManager for VoIP provides active monitoring and management of the VoIP deployment and subsequent metrics on call quality and routing, service availability and voice mail. Vivinet Diagnostics integrates with both Vivinet Assessor and AppManager for VoIP, quickly providing details for reduced call quality reducing the time to resolve these issues. This complete lifecycle approach offers customers seamless management and monitoring of their VoIP deployment.
Further details on the NetIQ architecture and products can be found at http://netiq.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors' network management architectures.
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