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Itheon extends into Service Management

Itheon has come up with its next generation of software products for managing the availability of systems, network, storage and services. The new solution, to be called the iAM (Itheon Availability Manager) Suite. Steve Barrie discusses iAM's capabilities in this IT-Director.com column.


Market Analysis

Itheon extends into Service Management
After a period of rapid evolution, Itheon has come up with its next generation of software products for managing the availability of systems, network, storage and services. The new solution, to be called the iAM (Itheon Availability Manager) Suite, brings together all the capabilities of the RoboMon products with those of Itheon's corporate partner, CircleX, and comes with a really practical approach to service management.

The iAM Suite has three major capabilities. At the heart of the solution is the traditional availability management solution that has been the mainstay of Itheon's past activities. This is a highly intuitive rules-based engine that supports the development of monitors for key devices, processes and applications in the server environment. There are integrated facilities that enable network traffic and storage solutions to be included into the managed environment.

The rules, also known as Triggers, describe what has to be monitored, how often and then how to react when events take place. Within all of this is total flexibility so that the measurement process and the actions can be completely user-defined. The event handling is sophisticated but not complicated. Triggers are able to discern whether an event is first or subsequent occurrence. They will count repeats and it will recognise the complementary event that indicates that the initial situation has been resolved. It is this flexibility that allows Itheon Availability Manager to be used in any situation where the information is available in an electronic format. It provides a facility for the automated diagnosis and resolution of operational problems.

The other two capabilities that come with the iAM Suite are a Quality of Service (QoS) function and then a service level reporting layer. The QoS features are designed to provide a view of the end-user experience and provide information about response times. IAM's make use of network monitors that watch the traffic as it passes around the infrastructure. This is able to piece together business transactions and to measure the time taken for them to pass around parts of the network. From this it is possible to measure end-to-end response times as well as times for each hop. This will tell an organization if it is getting the service it needs and also provide diagnostics to identify where any problems lie.

The service level reporting comes through TotalView. This is a very intuitive interface that allows an organization to build any view it needs to understand the management events information being provided. It uses the same philosophy that was used through the RoboMon products - define what you need to know. Thus, there is no complicated autodiscovery but the user simply describes the view.

Each business service is defined in terms of the technology that is used to support its functions. The same item can be a part of multiple services and there is support for class management though the use of all the usual copy and paste and drag and drop capabilities. Anybody that can use Windows Explorer can use TotalView. The interface will also allow the development of Triggers so that the whole management environment can be pieced together very efficiently from a single tool.

The end result is a collection of Web-based views of the managed environment that supports different roles within the business. The views provide access to event information along with drill-down, graphs and reports to assist with problem diagnosis.

While it is not a large-scale enterprise management solution along the lines of some of the better-known names, the philosophy of managing only what is needed and the tools that provide both flexibility and ease of use ensure that the iAM Suite will fit into any management solution.

Although it is perfectly capable of operating within the enterprise and has many large names on its customer list, Itheon is not out to compete with the big management infrastructure solutions. Technically, it is more likely to be seen as a solution that will complement these products because its flexibility allows it to be used to fill the gaps in management capabilities wherever they occur. It is priced, accordingly, so that it will not break the budget either as a complementary solution in the enterprise or as the main solution for the SME.

Importance evidence of this comes from recent successes within the MSP market. Such service providers have a clear need for enterprise-level management but are able to utilise the flexibility and the secure remote access features of the Itheon solution to deliver high quality management with fast time to value.


Copyright 2003. Originally published by IT-Director.com, reprinted with permission. IT-Director.com provides IT decision makers with free daily e-mails containing news analysis, member-only discussion forums, free research, technology spotlights and free on-line consultancy. To register for a free e-mail subscription, click here.

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