Brocade adds fabric monitoring service

Posted on January 01, 2009

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BY KEVIN KOMIEGA

Brocade has revamped an acquired network monitoring technol-ogy to offer customers a more comprehensive remote monitoring, alerting, and reporting service for data center fabrics. The Network Monitoring Service (NMS) provides real-time information about the health and status of fabrics to help boost network efficiency, availability, and uptime. NMSalso generates reports with information and rules-based business intelligence for im-proved planning, application availability,and resource utilization.

NMS collects and analyzes a variety of performance, utilization, and throughput data. The service sends alerts to administrators concerning networking issues, bottlenecks, or potential system outages in an effort to avoid outages.

Brocade’s NMS is based on a service originally offered by Computer Network Technology (CNT), which was acquired by McData in 2005. Brocade subsequently bought McData in 2006 and is now expanding the service.

“When we bought McData, they had an existing monitoring business for extension devices that was entrenched with Fortune 100 customers,” says Mike Schmitt, director of network monitoring solutions for Brocade Global Services. “However, it was focused just on SAN extension devices. Our customers want these types of monitoring services on a data center fabric level, with an end-to-end view.”

The current NMS is essentially a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that uses basic SNMP trap monitoring to monitor fabrics. Schmitt says Brocade is in the process of fleshing out NMS to achieve the ultimate goal of sustaining application uptime.

New features include expanded monitoring and reporting from extension devices into the data center across all Brocade products and some third-party products, policy-based monitoring, event correlation, “yellow light” alerts, and fault determination for faster problem resolution.

Brocade has released a roadmap for the NMS that shows several upgrades planned for this year. For example, the service will be expanded to include monitoring for third-party devices, and integration with Brocade’s Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) andSAN Health management tools. The result should be end-to-end data center monitoring and reporting using flow-based management by the end of the year.

“This is about more than monitoring speeds and feeds,” says Schmitt. “Being able to provide a yellow alert in advance of a potential problem is much more important than letting administrators know that a problem hasalready occurred.”

NMS is targeted at large enterprises, and is packaged in Basic, Premium and Premium-Plus tiers of service, each with its own set of monitoring and reporting options.

Pricing has not been disclosed, but NMS is sold on an annual, per-device basis. Schmitt says that an example would be $10,000 per year to monitor a Brocade DCX Backbone switch.


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