The dynamic duo

The line between network management and systems management is going, going...


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Traditionally, network management has been distinct from systems management. Managing a network involves the accounting of access to resources, configuration management, fault and performance management, and security management. Managing systems was a matter of managing the data and its associated applications.

Cahners In-Stat Group's Stephen Elliot

Not any more, though.

In a recent study of 250 IT managers, Cahners In-Stat Group discovered that the line between network management and systems management is blurring. At many corporate sites, the number of computers continues to increase, and there has been an explosion of departmental computing enabled by near-universal linkages via networking. Today's systems-management tools can provide centralized management from a single console, automate software distribution, and understand when and where desktop failures occur.

We are adopting the phrase "dynamic management" to describe and explain this phenomenon: Dynamic-management applications identify user behavior; actively manage the relationship between the user, the network, and applications; and translate the information to a business process.

Dynamic applications will correlate and collect information to form a business perspective of management. Imagine managing e-commerce and desktop applications while--through the same management application--viewing who is using bandwidth and with what.

At the center of this new model are standards such as WBEM (Web-based enterprise management) and SNMP, simple network management protocol. Surrounding these standards are enterprise software packages with an array of APIs designed to give the user solid entrance across the enterprise, across hardware platforms, and across all the applications and databases that run the company. The transition has already begun with new products from BMC, HP, Computer Associates, Tivoli, and many more with long experience in these fields. It's time for IT executives to give serious thought to the new power these tools possess. //

Stephen Elliot is senior analyst, network and systems management, for Cahners In-Stat Group in Newton, Mass. For further information, direct your Web browser to http://www.instat.com.

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