CrossNodes Briefing: Framework Management

It is time for network managers to take more control, and a few software vendors are addressing the task of managing the framework. Here you will learn about this breed of products which are designed to give IT Managers an edge in the battle to stay ahead of the curve.

 By Gerald Williams
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Businesses demand flexible computing power in the 21st century. IT managers must implement new systems and advance existing hardware and software that provide a manageable, secure, and scalable framework for their companies. Further, they need to develop a framework that they can change easily and quickly. Vendors are now developing framework management software designed to give IT managers an edge in the battle to stay ahead of the curve.

Obviously, the nature of supporting corporate systems changed. IT managers used to carefully plan each upgrade. Now they need to anticipate future applications that will keep their companies competitive. That does not mean that they no longer need to provide careful needs assessment and to develop solid convergence and upgrade policies. Rather, IT companies require the same careful planning in less time.

This comes at a time where the cost of supporting each workstation continues to climb. The cost of networking, workstations, and applications software is dropping, but each change requires people to support the systems, install the software and upgrades to existing software, and configure the network. Users complicate the task as they introduce applications that the company may not support. In essence, this creates a custom workstation for each workstation, introducing potential conflicts to the overall network, and it makes the job of supporting workers more difficult.

Taking Control
It is time for IT managers to take more control, and a few software vendors are addressing the task of managing the framework. Generally, these products are integrated suites of software that provide a selection of services, including inventory management, compliance verification, application software monitoring, automated software distribution, remote management access, and diagnostics.

  • Inventory Management -- Maintaining an accurate inventory of hardware and software represents one of the most challenging tasks in managing an infrastructure. IT managers know that a manual inventory becomes inaccurate before they can complete it. Framework management packages can automatically survey the network, identify the attached devices, and determine what software exists on each workstation. This capability can save time and money by helping the IT manager track workstation upgrades and the addition of unauthorized applications.
  • Compliance Verification -- Using a framework manager, IT departments can flag any hardware or software installation that falls outside of the company's standards. This allows the IT manager to prevent the introduction of devices and software that may conflict with the existing framework. Without compliance verification, users can add software that creates a conflict with existing software, and the IT department must assign scarce resources to troubleshoot the problem.
  • Application Monitoring -- Some framework managers allow IT managers to assess how well he software and network operates. Initially, this allows managers to determine if there are conflicts or bottlenecks and allows the IT department to anticipate problems with the network. In turn, this permits proactive planning and delivers better service to the users.

This article was originally published on Oct 22, 2001
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