SAS Claims Second Datamation Award

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It was a tight race to the finish, but SAS Institute's IT Service Level Management product squeaked ahead of its closest competitor to capture the first place finish in Datamation's 2005 Product of the Year category for Network and Systems Management Software.

Giving the winner a run for its money was SystemAnalyzer from eIQnetworks Inc., with a close second-place finish. Coradiant, Inc. claimed the third-place slot with its TrueSight Real Transaction Monitor.

Other finalists were AutoProf's Policy Maker; Network Instruments, LLC's Observer, and Ecora Software Corp. with its Ecora Patch Manager 3.2.

The most recent component of the company's SAS IT Management Solutions, SAS IT Service Level Management, provides users with a hierarchical framework for measuring and monitoring the performance of IT services. According to SAS, the product helps companies differentiate in-house services from those of commercial vendors. It also provides a yardstick to measure and improve the quality of IT service delivery.

Stephen Elliot, a research director at IDC, an industry analyst firm based in Framingham, Mass., says interest in service level management is increasing as IT operations become more business-centric and operate as a service provider rather than a cost center. ''Most companies are striving towards this concept,'' he says.

''There also is a big push within IT operations groups to drive the integration between infrastructure management tools to improve cost efficiency and enable more automation,'' he adds.

Recognition of SAS IT Service Level Management by Datamation readers may go hand-in-hand with what some industry watchers see as a growing interest in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), used worldwide as a blueprint for best practices for IT service level management.

According to SAS, IT Service Level Management is designed to help businesses ensure alignment of the IT organization with overall business objectives. The product integrates with ITIL best practices and allows implementation of methodologies for: creating service level catalogs; documenting line-of-business and corporate IT service contracts and agreements; delivering statistically rich service level objective measurement and reporting; developing a standardized auditable, service-level management data warehouse; and performing advanced fault management.

Network security issues are always on the forefront when it comes to network and management systems. It's no surprise then that SystemAnalyzer from eIQnetworks received great support from Datamation readers.

According to the company, SystemAnalyzer is a browser-based, centralized event management solution designed to improve security, performance and reduce the downtime of distributed servers and workstations. The product collects, normalizes, aggregates and correlates security, systems, and application log data from enterprise-wide, distributed Windows, Unix and Linux hosts.

''A lot of network managers are looking for early warning systems for security threats,'' says IDC's Elliot.

With an increase in regulatory compliance requirements, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA), to name several, there's more pressure to manage network security. Many recent regulatory requirements are forcing businesses to look beyond protecting the perimeter of the network to, instead, monitor data that originates within the company.

''Historically, monitoring tools did a poor job, but there's a growing expectation among businesses that they get more visibility of network threats,'' says Elliot.

According to eIQnetworks, SystemAnalyzer can help companies meet regulatory requirements by delivering required reports. Other product benefits include: cross-platform system event management; centralized performance monitoring; management for mission critical applications; risk management; and advanced security violation and warning.

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