Ready for VoIP: Network Management Architectures: Jumpnode Systems, LLC

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.

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