Healthy VoIP Nets�Part XXI�Network Management Architectures: Jumpnode Systems, LLC

Through the use of an on-premise appliance and remote, centralized software, Jumpnode brings enterprise-class management to SMBs.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Apr 15, 2008
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Jumpnode Systems, LLC, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was founded in 2004 to provide web-centric network management to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs).

Jumpnode's president, Irfan Khan, founded the company after his experience as a networking consultant. He discovered that SMBs were often faced with the same levels of network complexity as much larger businesses, but didn’t have access to the same caliber of network management tools.

So Jumpnode was born out of the desire to simplify network management and make it accessible to an underserved market, through the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. (With the SaaS model, a software developer (sometimes called an Application Service Provider, or ASP) hosts a web-centric application for their customers, rather than having those customers pay for the software outright.) Jumpnode presently serves SMBs, MSPs (Managed Service Providers), and a variety of vertical applications, monitoring everything from standard IT infrastructure to VoIP, industrial equipment, environmental controls, medical devices, and more.

Jumpnode is a powerful, secure network monitoring and remote access system that integrates the simplicity of an on-site plug-in appliance with the low-cost, on-demand availability of a hosted software application. This innovative web-based architecture makes real-time status and remote network access available to an unlimited number of users, without cumbersome software clients or complicated VPNs.


Jumpnode appliance
Figure 1 | The Jumpnode Appliance
Click to see full-size image

In fact, the Jumpnode management console, (which the firm calls the Network Management Dashboard) requires only a web browser and Internet access. The advantage of this system is that is installs quickly, with no server or application software to buy, configure, or maintain. It can securely monitor servers, routers, printers, and other network devices over the web, and alert the network manager to any problem areas, even if the network is down.

The Jumpnode Appliance (see Figure 1) monitors, compresses, encrypts, and transmits performance data from within the network that it is monitoring. It is designed for plug-and-play installation, and must simply be connected to the network and powered up to begin discovering the networked devices.

The Appliance can talk with virtually any network device, and extract the information that is needed to manage the enterprise. In addition, since it is a standalone device, it can objectively measure network bandwidth, latency, or any other standard TCP metric. The system also supports the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), and provides the capability for the network manager to write custom measurement routines.

The Appliance communicates with the Jumpnode data center where the hosted application resides, using any of three data channels: the Internet, cellular or analog telephone connections.

The data center then communicates with the Network Management Dashboard (see Figure 2) from any Internet connection, to graphically display key network metrics and operational conditions. The Appliance has a built-in modem, so alarms can reach the data center even when the monitored network is down. The data center then trigger alerts that are sent via email or pager, with the system automatically escalating that alert to a designated backup person if the network manager is not available.

Jumpnode claims that their solution is the only web-based network management solution with a compact hardware appliance that provides for both easy installation and true out-of-band reporting. The system also provides secure remote access to your remote networked devices over the Internet, without a VPN or cumbersome client software, making it easy to troubleshoot and fix problems independent of location.


Jumpnode dashboard
Figure 2 | The Jumpnode Dashboard
Click to see full-size image

When a remote access connection to a particular device is required to address a problem, Jumpnode sets up remote access via a proxy without requiring an external IP address. The system acts as a secure gateway without changes to that network’s firewall, and establishes the encrypted tunnel between the Network Management Dashboard and the remote device under test. The secure tunnel encapsulates these management sessions over the public Internet, without any special software.

The Jumpnode system monitoring capabilities are quite extensive, and include Application checks (DHCP, FTP, HTTP/HTTPS, etc.); Network checks (AppleTalk, PING, BOOTP, SNMP, etc.); Cisco VoIP checks (Call Manager, MGCP, SCCP, etc.); Windows Agent checks (CPU Load, Disk Usage, Event Log); VoIP checks (MGCP Gateway Control, SIP Services, etc.); Database checks (MySQL, Oracle, Sybase, etc.); Mail checks (POP, SMTP, etc.), plus the ability to write custom checks supporting TCP, UDP and SNMP-based applications.

The system is priced per Appliance, and based upon the number of monitored network devices, not a “per-seat” software charge.

Further details on the Jumpnode Systems architecture and products can be found at http://www.jumpnode.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ network management architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2008 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved


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.

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