Healthy VoIP Nets�Part LVI�Network Management Architectures: CA, Inc.
Software giant CA offers a comprehensive voice-oriented product, along with two more generalized network management systems.
CA, Inc., headquartered in Islandia, New York, has built a solid reputation in the software business since its founding in the 1970s as Computer Associates International, Inc.
The company can also boast of a number of significant industry milestones, including
- the introduction of Unicenter, a systems management solution (1985)
- the first software company to reach $1 billion in annual revenues (1989)
- the first company to debut a full line of products supporting Windows NT (1995)
- the first company to partner with both Netscape and Microsoft at the same time (1998)
- the first enterprise developer to achieve ISO 9002 Global Certification (2001)
- and the announcement of the Enterprise IT Management (EITM), its vision for simplified IT management solutions (2005)
CA is a global company with approximately 13,700 employees in the United States, and 150 offices in more than 45 countries worldwide. The company claims to serve more than 99 percent of Fortune 1000 companies, as well as government entities, educational institutions, and thousands of other companies in diverse industries worldwide.
CA has developed a fully integrated solution for network performance management; network service, fault and configuration management, and TDM/IP telephony management. The architecture is multi-vendor (Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel), multi-technology (IP and TDM), and multi-application (PBX and voice messaging). The solution includes three key product offerings: CA eHealth for Voice, CA eHealth Network Performance Manager, and CA SPECTRUM Network Fault Manager.
CA eHealth for Voice is an integral component of CA's Network and Voice Management portfolio, which in turn, is a key part of CA's broader Enterprise IT Management Initiative (EITM).
The eHealth for Voice product is a performance management solution that combines data collection across the voice network, including monitoring, alerting, reporting and trending capabilities. The system can manage legacy, hybrid, or IP-based telephone systems from a single console, and supports Avaya, Nortel, and Cisco voice products.
The system is designed to identify degradation of service issues, including maintenance warnings and trunk or port capacity thresholds, plus other service-affecting issues for PBX, IP PBX, voice, or unified messaging platforms.
Call quality information is collected from the call and messaging systems, and reported in terms of impairments such as packet loss, delay, and jitter, and then rolled into MOS scores for ease of administration.
These statistics are collected from a number of sources, including call detail records and call management records, plus configuration and system information. The system includes broad reporting capabilities, with capacity reports that can be generated on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Reports include call volume and user statistics; service availability from call and messaging systems; the number of calls by day, including attempted but not completed calls; network volume showing the total voice and data traffic; MOS distribution by daybreaking down calls by call qualityplus voice quality impairments by daydesigned to identify the cause of low voice quality. Notifications can be sent via SNMP Trap, e-mail, or wireless messages.
CA eHealth Network Performance Manager provides a comprehensive, vendor-independent system to pinpoint areas of network performance degradation, supporting Windows, Solaris, and HPUX platforms. The system includes live performance reporting, monitoring, and analysisincluding proactive analysis down to 30-second intervals, plus support for Cisco NetFlow V9 Collectors.
Of note: The system provides support for hosts running IPv6, as well as hosts running dual stack IPv4/IPv6 architectures. Proactive monitoring is enhanced with the addition of algorithms that calculate Time over Threshold (ToT), a measurement which is able to distinguish between transient violations and persistent, systemic problems. In other words, "to identify when something is too wrong too long".
CA SPECTRUM was originally developed by the former Cabletron Systems, as a network management platform that competed with Hewlett Packard's OpenView and IBM's NetView in the LAN/WAN management arena. Cabletron was reorganized in 2000, with the network management technology going first to Aprisma Management Technologies, subsequently acquired by Concord Communications, and finally by CA in 2005.
The SPECTRUM product line was highly regarded in the industry, and is now a key element in the CA portfolio. In brief, SPECTRUM is a network fault management system that provides proactive management of the networking infrastructure in four ways: root cause analysis, impact analysis, event correlation, and service level management.
SPECTRUM supports Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks, including LANs and WANs with wired, wireless, and virtual infrastructuresas well as the technologies and IP services that those networks provide. As an example, the Network Fault Manager software module provides automated service, fault, and configuration management across diverse, multi-technology networks, with reporting capabilities that include IT asset, availability, event and alarmas well as performance metrics, with out-of-the-box support for more than 800 device types.
Further details on the CA architecture and products can be found at www.ca.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.