Healthy VoIP Nets�Part XLII�Network Management Architectures: IBM
Big Blue offers VoIP monitoring/management tools for medium-size enterprises, carriers, and everyone in between.
IBM Corporation, headquartered in Armonk, New York, ranks among the few companies that has created computing and communications innovations for over a century.
Incorporated in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (C-T-R), the firm's predecessors can be traced to the 1880s with inventions such as time clock to record a worker's arrival and departure time on paper tape, and the punched card system that was used to tabulate census data.
Thomas J. Watson, Sr., a former executive at National Cash Register Company, joined C-T-R in 1914 and famously insisted on "well-groomed, dark-suited salesmen," and a company focus on "large-scale, custom-built tabulating solutions for large businesses".
His son, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., transformed the company from maker of tabulating equipment and typewriters into a pioneer of the computing industry, introducing the System/360 mainframe in 1964.
Today, that focus has broadened extensively, with products that range from laptops to those large mainframe systems, and a company that serves both consumers and small to large businesses. IBM employs over 386,000 people worldwide, and, during 2007, recorded $98.6 Billion in revenue.
To enhance their support of the Token-Ring networking technology, IBM introduced NetView/PC in 1986, which expanded the network management capabilities of IBM's Systems Network Architecture.
IBM's network management support work was further enhanced in 1996 with the merger of IBM and Tivoli Systems, Inc., a leading provider of systems management software for distributed client/server networks. IBM's acquisition of Tivoli extended its network management capabilities beyond the mainframe to multi-platform, distributed systems. These initiatives were further strengthened with IBM's 2006 acquisition of Micromuse, Inc., and its Netcool line of enterprise network management solutions.
The Tivoli software solutions provided integrated visibility, control, and automation across multiple business and technology assets, thus maximizing those assets in support of network operations. These products address a wide variety of network management challenges, including:
- Asset Management: providing a comprehensive view of all asset types across the enterprise, including production, facilities, transportation, and IT.
- Service Management: allowing organizations to more effectively and efficiently deliver IT services including process and operational management products and best practices consulting services.
- Server, Network and Device Management: enabling an end-to-end view of the IT infrastructure for resource allocation, monitoring, and provisioning.
- Storage Management: addressing the needs for available and reliable information.
- Security Management: supporting the critical e-business challenges of automated identity management and security event management.
- Mainframe Management: monitoring the health and applications for IBM z/OS and OS/390 systems.
Another critical area that is supported by the Tivoli suite of software is the Netcool Software for Service Providers, which provides real-time performance and service management for service providers. IBM claims that over 1,000 service providers, including all of the top 20, rely on this network management solution. This package supports telecommunications, wireless, cable, and Internet service providers in meeting both their current and future service delivery challenges.
Of special interest is the Carrier VoIP Service Management solution, which is designed to support all layers in the network and all links across itfrom the core network to the customer's premisesthus effectively managing VoIP services and maintaining a high Quality of Experience (QoE) for the customer.
|Figure 1 | The Netcool interface|
The system monitors key performance and quality indicators in real time, for metrics including usage (busy-hour call attempts, minutes of use, and call destinations); VoIP quality (MOS), call clarity index, and speech activity); call signaling (call completion rate, grade of service, and post-dial delay); service quality (availability, echo delay, and post-dial delay); and subscribers (average revenue per user, state of service events, and open tickets), as shown in Figure 1.
A second Tivoli solution, the Netcool Enterprise VoIP Manager, consolidates the management of VoIP applications, servers, and the underlying networking infrastructure, from PBXs to gateways. This system is designed to meet the requirements of both medium and large enterprisesas well as managed service providers.
This offering is packaged with the Tivoli Netcool OMNIbus and Tivoli Monitoring products, and enables network managers to extend their current monitoring capabilities to the management of VoIP technologies. This solution can scale to support enterprise environments of up to 100,000 IP endpoints, and provides out-of-the-box support for both Cisco and Nortel VoIP environments.
For Cisco environments, the Enterprise VoIP Manager supports Cisco Call Manager and Cisco Unity, plus edge routers, gateways, and gatekeepers. For Nortel environments, the product supports communication servers, business communication managers, media gateways, remote gateways, and signaling servers.
The system includes real-time displays with multiple charts that show network utilization, capacity, availability, and performance metrics, plus customizable historical reports. It is designed to operate with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Microsoft Windows Server, or Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating systems.
Further details on the IBM architecture and products can be found at 'http://www-306.ibm.com/software/tivoli/solutions/voip/" style="text-decoration:none">http://www-306.ibm.com/software/tivoli/solutions/voip/. 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.