Today's focus: Intelliden's Associative Networking explained

By Dennis Drogseth

Enterprise Management Associates has been tracking network
change and configuration management, or NCCM, for several years
now. The better products now do far more than just change and
configuration, though - they directly support issues of policy
and compliance, service provisioning, service assurance and in
some cases operational automation.

The leading vendors in this market - such as AlterPoint,
Intelliden, Opsware (with its acquisition of Rendition) and
Voyence - have all withstood several years of tough competition
and all provide good products with strong R&D and impressive
return on investment.

Today I'd like to focus on Intelliden, which has evolved from
the OSS environment to support government and enterprise
customers with rich capabilities for operational automation and
powerful, in-depth device modeling. Last year, Intelliden
acquired Goldwire Technologies, which brings strengths in
security and access control. Intelliden's R-Series can give IT
buyers with complex networks a leg up well beyond automating
change, to enhance processes for better operational efficiencies
and enforce policies to support both security and
business-alignment priorities. Because of the multi-dimensional
nature of the offering, Intelliden uses the term "Associative
Networking" to position R-Series.

Associative Networking is a statement about the
interrelationships among the networked infrastructure, the
services it supports, the customers of those services, and the
various professionals and organizations that make up both IT or
OSS and counterparts in business operations. Associative
Networking is a software-centric approach to encapsulating these
interdependencies with high levels of reliability and

Intelliden does this primarily by combining three core
technologies: object-based modeling, support for policies, and
workflow capabilities. Of these, the object modeling reflects
the most profound investment in the R-Series products. The goal
of object modeling is to capture human expertise directly in
software through "model-based automation." Intelliden develops
its modeling by parsing the command syntax of a device, and then
the device commands into XML.

In this way, Intelliden captures the command structure of the
device, and through a mixture of class types and associations
the R-Series can relate device commands with configuration
options for vendor, type, model and operating system. Intelliden
supports a variety of network- and security-related devices,
including but not limited to those from 3Com, Alcatel, Avaya,
CheckPoint, Cisco, Dell, Enterasys, Extreme, Foundry, F5, HP,
Juniper, Lucent and Nortel.

Building from the core of its object modeling, Intelliden has a
topological awareness of the environment and uses extensible
APIs to link service definitions with specific network
interfaces through the Intelliden Resource Manager. These
topologies can be viewed from multiple perspectives, including:

* Service-level definitions and requirements.
* Logical device connectivity.
* Organizational owners..
* Device models, types and vendors
* Other process-specific organizational requirements that can be

For troubleshooting, the R-Series can document when and how
changes occur, and forward alerts when policies are violated to
third-party fault management products such as Tivoli, OpenView,
Micromuse, EMC-SMARTS, and BMC/Remedy.

R-Series supports policies targeted at security/compliance,
operational process management, and business alignment. In the
operational arena, for instance, read/write details for a
specific action can be assigned by role. Intelliden's R-Series
also supports DEN-ng (Directory-Enabled Networks-new generation)
as a standards base for unifying processes within IT/OSS and
between IT/OSS and its customers.

Workflow completes this triad of automation, with support for
such specific tasks as the submission of units of work,
approvals, validation, and the actual implementation of changes,
along with reporting and notification.

Intelliden's R-Series should be on a short list when an IT or
OSS organization is prepared to invest in defining and
automating processes in the context of network change and
configuration management. The R-Series' capabilities for
automating operations based on capturing domain expertise in

software are industry-leading. However, the investment should
not be viewed as trivial, with most sales in six figures and
some in seven figures. The R-Series and Intelliden can
nevertheless be powerful allies in not only helping to automate
change and configuration management, but also in helping IT/OSS
organizations to evolve processes and improve business


HP's software group feels heat
Network World, 04/25/05

Microsoft unveils management road map
Network World, 04/25/05

Copyright Network World, Inc., 2005

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Copyright 2008 Art Beckman. All rights reserved.

Last Modified: March 9, 2008