As virtualization and cloud computing continue to shift the responsibility for data productivity and efficiency away from raw processing and capacity, many CIOs now consider the network to be their best friend.
Now, it seems one network management firm is taking that concept literally. Enterasys Networks has released the new isaac software stack that taps into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media services. The idea is to provide admins with alerts and even allow them to effect network changes through their individual social networks. Noting that nearly one-sixth of the world population is already steeped in social networking, Enterasys boasts a number of advantages to social-based network management, including the ability to communicate in the admin's native language, improved predictive analysis and problem resolution, and easier deployment into existing infrastructure.
Enterasys plans to release isaac later this year as a free promotion for early adopters. After that, it will cost a cool $10,000 and up, although the company says it is working to expand support to third-party management systems.
The platform comes at a time when network management vendors are increasingly trying to distance themselves from a fast-growing field of competitors. In addition to isaac, the past week saw several new or expanded network management stacks, including Ipswitch Inc.'s newest version of the WhatsUp Gold system and updates to Solarwind's Virtualization Manager, Orion Network Performance Monitor and Profiler Storage Manager. All of these releases are heavy on network visibility, particularly as enterprise infrastructure reaches into the cloud, and simplified user interfaces to streamline management and configuration tasks.
At the same time, many of the leading platform providers like Cisco and HP are touting single-source networking environments designed to provide end-to-end coverage across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure. However, there are those who argue that an integrated, multivendor approach is actually a cheaper, more effective solution. Gartner, for one, argues that as long as the enterprise utilizes industry-standard tools for things like alerts, performance monitoring and change management, a multivendor environment can actually deliver better TCO over the medium term.
No matter how you connect with your network, the fact is that effective management is quickly outpacing the capability of the human mind. That means a healthy dose of automation will be necessary to keep things running smoothly. Tweets and status alerts are an effective way to ensure that everything is all that it should be, but your chief weapons against traffic congestion and other network maladies will be in your policy portfolio, not your management stack.