Healthy VoIP Nets�Part LV�Network Management Architectures: Integrated Research PROGNOSIS
This comprehensive, big-deployment solution is architected around a central server plus remote agents.
Integrated Research, Ltd., headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is focused on the development, sales, and marketing of their PROGNOSIS performance monitoring software to organizations around the globe.
Founded in 1988, and publicly listed on the ASX in 2000, Integrated Research has a twenty-year heritage of providing performance monitoring and diagnostics software solutions for business-critical computing environments for Hewlett Packard NonStop, Windows, UNIX, and Linux servers.
The company has over 140 employees located in its offices in the USA, UK, Germany, and Australia. It services its customers in more than 50 countries through these direct sales offices and via a global, channel-driven distribution network.
Customers include such firms as Citicorp, the London Stock Exchange, Wells Fargo, AT&T Wireless, CableVision, Deutsche Telecom, the Mayo Clinic, Exxon Mobile, Hertz Corporation, and Northrup Grumman.
Total revenue for the Australian financial year to June 30, 2008 was $AU37.4 million, ($US33.5 million) an increase of 3 percent over the prior year.
In 2000, Integrated Research built on its experience in the server marketplace, and enhanced its PROGNOSIS system to support VoIP networks. The first implementation was in support of large-scale Cisco IP telephony networks, and with the addition of support for Avaya and Nortel IP telephony platforms, PROGNOSIS now has a strong base to address its target markets of large enterprises with more than 2,500 endpoints, large service providers (first and second tier) and multi-vendor resellers and system integrators.
The PROGNOSIS architecture includes a managing node installed on a Windows server, plus remote agents installed on the telephony servers, or direct data links to the IP PBX that are used to retrieve the management information.
The system includes:
- IP Telephony Assessor: a network assessment tool designed to determine how the network will handle VoIP, before any investments are made on network upgrades or pilot deployments. The IP Telephony Assessor simulates VoIP traffic across the network, helps ascertain what changes need to be made, provides call quality measurements, and reports using mean-opinion scores (MOS), thus detailing the networks readiness to support VoIP traffic. This product is also useful after the initial VoIP deployment, acting as a capacity-planning tool to verify voice and data performance on an ongoing basis. The Telephony Assessor is available as a stand-alone product or as an integrated module with the IP Telephony Manager.
- IP Telephony Manager: designed to deliver a single, unified view across Cisco, Avaya, and Nortel IP telephony environments, with the capacity to manage hundreds of IP PBXs and hundreds of thousands of phones. The system provides both real-time and historical voice quality information, which can uncover patterns of unacceptable service down to a particular group of phones, regions, route patterns, and times of day. For more in-depth troubleshooting, the software can evaluate the MOS in real time over the duration of a call, and send an alert if the voice quality falls below acceptable limits. Capacity requirements can also be determined, with real-time and comprehensive reports on incoming and outgoing calls, call loading by route pattern, trunk group and gateway.
- IP Telephony Management Reporter: an add-on reporting solution that offers a wide range of reports regarding the PBX call load (busy-hour call attempts, busy-hour call completions, and call failure rates); device configuration and registration; calling patterns by location, voice quality patterns and problems; gateway and trunk utilization and availability; PBX hardware utilization, and call failure patterns. The reports can be formatted as either an executive overview or an in-depth operational status, and can be automatically generated at predefined intervals or invoked on demand.
- IP Telephony Express: a pre-configured solution for Cisco CallManager Express and Unity Express deployments and designed for a non-technical person. Its capabilities include tracking phone and device availability, identifying poorly performing components, sending alerts of service level breaches, managing provisioning and capacity planning, and other functions.
- PROGNOSIS for SRST: supports Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony implementations, with fall-back management support for Cisco IP phones attached to a Cisco router on the local network. If Cisco IP phones lose contact with primary, secondary, and tertiary Cisco CallManagers, they establish a connection to a local Cisco SRST router to sustain the call-processing capability necessary to place and receive calls. The PROGNOSIS system alerts when the WAN link to the CallManager at the central site goes down, or when connectivity to the CallManager is lost, and then monitors the performance of the phones and SRST routers until the WAN link is restored, or until the phones can once again register with the centralized CallManager.
In addition, the PROGNOSIS system integrates with organizations management frameworks, business processes, team structures, and toolkits, and according to its developers, has over 1.5 million phones under management, including 7 of the 10 largest Cisco deployments.
Further details on the Integrated Research PROGNOSIS architecture and products can be found at http://www.prognosis.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors network management architectures.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2008 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved
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.