Managing today’s complex hybrid IT infrastructure is a tough job; both private and public cloud infrastructure creates complexity for IT services to run and operate. Every network experiences faults or breakdowns in these services, and it is a major challenge for network admins to provide flawless communication all the time. To resolve issues quickly, a network admin must know when, where, and why a problem has arisen, and which process will cure the root of an issue.

In most computer networks, we use network tools to manage, analyze and monitor network operations. And these tools constantly monitor network operations; when an issue occurs, a notification will be generated and sent out to concerned teams. Let’s begin the journey with the examination of network managements tools first. Here we will review the top 10 network management tool of various functional areas, starting with one of the most widely used and very popular network management tools, “IBM Netcool Network Management.

1. IBM Netcool Network Management (Ideal for large-scale multi-vendor environments)

IBM Netcool Network Management can effectively configure, integrate, and remediate your network with centralized network visibility and availability. Its reporting feature encompasses vast, dispersed network environments which helps to maintain network’s feasibility.

The IBM Netcool Network Management tool is smart enough to identify and resolve network issues quickly and it also deals with automatic backup configuration and restore configuration in case of rollbacks. This tool offers real-time anomalies detection to provide efficient network deployment and change management in multivendor network deployment. This utility gives you an opportunity to integrate with IBM Tivoli OMNIbus to provide unmatched visibility and automation to enhance management capabilities.

Price: IBM Netcool NM has various license types and their pricing can be checked at http://estore.gemini-systems.com/ibm/software-license/tivoli-management-software/tivoli-omnibus-and-network-manager/.

Website: http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/en/netcool-network-management

Pros:

  • Comprehensive event management solution
  • Centralized network visibility and reporting
  • Efficient event and configuration management
  • Reduces network stress by decreasing workload

Cons:

  • Complex customization of reporting (as it involves lots of functionalities)
  • Updating issue with earlier versions but not with V9.2.2 (or above)

 

2. SolarWinds Kiwi CatTools(A must have for all small or low-budget companies)

This tool comes from the leading network management and analysis company, “SolarWinds”; Kiwi CatTools supports automatic backup and update activities for multivendor network devices. such as Nortel routers, Cisco switches, and ASA firewalls with central GUI-based network management. While resolving a network issue, you can compare past and present configurations to find the changes quickly. Kiwi CatTools can be installed on Microsoft Servers or desktop Windows platforms so that you can manage your network’s configurations from your computer as well.

Tab “Devices” offers a list of common network hardware to fill your network details such as the IP address and ports connectivity. The free version of CatTools manages five devices, while there is no device limit for paid version.

Price: one seat license: $750.00 (USD) for 12 months and $ 949.00 (USD) for 24 months

Website: http://www.kiwisyslog.com/products/kiwi-cattools/product-overview.aspx

Pros:

  • Roll-back facility with recent backups
  • Automated e-mail notifications of configuration changes
  • Generates reports (port, MAC, ARP and version details)

Cons:

  • Updating to higher version sometime needs uninstall and reinstall

 

3. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager aka Orion NCM (good one for medium to large-scale multi-vendor networks)

SolarWinds NCM (network configuration manager) offers more scalability and functionalities than Kiwi CatTools. Orion NCM supports script-based correction and provides an easy way to push configuration changes out to all network equipment. This tool supports a various product range of network devices from Cisco, Juniper, HP, Dell, Nortel, and many more. Orion NCM enhances network security using Cisco IOS and ASA vulnerability scanning and NIST FISMA, DISA STIG, and DSS PCI compliance assessments. This tool also allows management of a steady workflows approach to approve updates and safely delegate work to others with roles and permissions

Website: http://www.solarwinds.com/network-configuration-manager.aspx

Pricing:

There are seven types of licenses available:

For further queries :– Call +61 2 8412 4910 to speak with a Sales Engineer

Pros:

  • IOS vulnerability scanning
  • Automated remediation scripts enforcement
  • Effective change management and monitoring
  • Quick backup and restore

Cons:

  • Hard to find any issue, fine in almost every functional area

 

4. CA-Spectrum(recommended where scalability has no limits)

Spectrum was originally developed at Cabletron Systems, Inc., in 1991 and later acquired by CA. Spectrum delivers large-scale network optimization and management solutions along with continuous availability and root cause analysis to improve network infrastructure and services. This tool helps to reduce network administration time and cost by supporting tens of thousands of devices, including increased scalability, automated fault management, and proactive change management over a single platform. Utilizing this tool, network administrators can better understand issues to manage configuration changes, unanticipated events, and outages. The invaluable root cause analysis feature helps administrators to identify and correct the causes of these issues and prevent future recurrences as well.

Price: The price is available on request, so you may need to contact at 1-800-225-5224 (US).

Website: http://www.ca.com/us/opscenter/ca-spectrum.aspx

Pros:

  • Centralized console to manage network and systems
  • Automated layer 2/3 root cause analysis
  • Multivendor-multi-technology fault management
  • Uninterrupted high availability (to challenge failovers)

Cons:

  • Takes time to understand its deployment tool

 

5. Huawei iManager (U2000) (Ultimate utility to manage carrier networks)

Unified Network Management System (U2000) manages transport, access, and IP equipment in an efficient way and its unified management and visual policy helps to reduce network’s operation and maintenance cost in a very effective manner. The all-new U2000 inherits all functions of its predecessors, such as T2000, N2000 BMS, and N2000 DMS, including the support of single-domain management to multi-domain management evolution. Huawei U2000 works smoothly from single-domain management to multi-domain management to meet operators’ needs for rapid growth of services. Moreover, Huawei has partnered with leading operating support system (OSS) vendors in accelerating OSS interconnection. At present, more than 200 operators worldwide are using the U2000 series of products.

Price: Various license types are available; you may need to contact sales executive @ Huawei.

Website: http://huawei.com/us/products/oss/fbb-om-product-series/imanager-u2000/index.htm

Pros:

  • Quick and accurate fault management
  • Visual IP network management
  • Quick OSS (operating support system) interconnection
  • Reduces operational expenditure

Cons:

  • Takes time to understand its functionalities (as it has lots of features)

 

6. OpenNMS

(A freeware tool, recommend for small & medium enterprise networks)

OpenNMS is a freeware network monitoring and network management utility developed and supported by a community of user and developers of “The OpenNMS” Group.

Being a freeware utility, the OpenNMS application manages to get placed in the list of top network management tools, and the latest version of this tool supports scalable and distributed network management models with more emphasis on fault and performance management. OpenNMS deals with the vast variety of network management, including notification-based event management (in the form of SNMP traps, syslog messages, etc.), advanced provisioning of new devices, and a service assurance feature (to measure network outage and to generate availability reports).

Website: http://www.opennms.com/ or http://www.opennms.org

Download link: http://www.opennms.org/get-opennms/

http://www.opennms.com/download-opennms/

Pros:

  • User-friendly event management
  • Better integrity with external software (such as OTRS, Jira and RANCID)
  • Service monitoring

Cons:

  • It has no major issues, but automation is not up to the mark
  • Limited reporting (good for small enterprises not for large)

 

7. IPplan(A freeware web-based IP management utility, must have for easy IP management)

IPplan is a web-based (php 4) freeware tool used for IP address and DNS management and tracking. IPplan can be installed on any OS that supports PHP execution; this tool simplifies the administration of IP address space in multi-networks domain to prevent overlapping. This tool is not limited only to IP address management but also offers high-end features such as audit logs and statistics, importing network definitions from routing tables, multiple administrators with different access profiles (per group, allowing access per customer, per network, etc.), track record of SWIP/RIPE/APNIC registration, and DNS administration.

Website: http://iptrack.sourceforge.net/

Download Link: http://sourceforge.net/projects/iptrack/files/

Pros:

  • Script based triggers for backend DNS
  • Well defined statistics and audit logs
  • Multi-access profiles
  • Easy IP tracking

Cons:

  • Limited functionalities
  • Slow response (sometimes)

 

8. Ceragon NetMaster(Recommended to manage a variety of microwave networks)

Ceragon NetMaster offers large-scale microwave network management and provides standardized unified real-time network availability to maintain uninterrupted flows of network services. This single utility is capable to manage all current and legacy radio terminology, including FibeAir IP-10 and FibeAir IP-20 product series, as well as third-party network elements. NetMaster helps field engineers and network maintenance staff to maintain link specific network services and traffic flow from any location or any device.

Price: Various license types are available, you may need to contact sales executive @ Ceragon.

Website: https://www.ceragon.com/products-ceragon/management-systems/netmaster

Pros:

  • Unified network visualization
  • Effective and useful for field engineers and network maintenance staff

Cons:

  • Domain-specific capabilities

 

9. HP Network Automation(Complete automated management solutions for large-scale multi-vendor network set-up)

HP Network Automation software provides complete network management solutions from provisioning to policy-based change management; it regulates and automates configuration changes over distributed worldwide multivendor networks. HP Network Automation can also be integrated with HP Network Node Manager i (NNMi) software to diagnose network fault, availability, and performance with new configuration. Network Automation is a one-of-a-kind network management solution to provide a complete automated approach across the multivendor network environment. HP Network Automation software comes in two editions, Premium and Ultimate.

Network Automation Premium edition includes:

  • Network automation server
  • Network automation satellites
  • Distributed architecture options

And Network Automation Ultimate edition includes all Premium edition feature plus a policy compliance feature (proactive policy enforcement to pass audit and compliance requirements).

Price: Not disclosed by company, you will have to contact company’s sales executive.

Website: http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software-solutions/network-automation/try-now.html

Pros:

  • Automates complete operational lifecycle of network devices
  • Proactive policy enforcement to pass audit and compliance requirements
  • Increases network stability by preventing misleading and inconsistence changes
  • Excellent user-friendly API
  • Multi-vendor device support (including 3Com, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Juniper and many more )

Cons:

  • Nothing to speak of (it’s an excellent product)

 

10. CiscoWorks LMS (Ideal for Cisco LAN management)

CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution (LMS) is a standardized utility to provide effective management of configuration, fault administration, and event handling of Cisco networks. CiscoWorks LMS offers a centralized solution to improve network efficiency, visualization, and event management across all LAN environments. It provides best-in-class VLAN management, port traffic management with logs, and reporting functionalities. The following list introduces the major components of CiscoWorks LMS and can’t be purchased separately;

CiscoWorks Device Fault Manager (for fault detection, analysis, and reporting)

CiscoWorks Campus Manager (for configuration, management, and topology mapping)

CiscoWorks Resource Manager Essentials (for network inventory, configurations changes, etc.)

CiscoWorks Internetwork Performance Monitor (to measure network response time and availability)

CiscoWorks CiscoView (manages GUI interaction of Cisco devices)

CiscoWorks Common Services (for login, user role definitions, access privileges etc.)

Price: not disclosed by company; click the link below to request pricing details.

Website:http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/cloud-systems-management/prime-lan-management-solution/index.html

Pros:

  • Cisco assurance
  • Bundled with lots of LAN functionalities
  • Event customization and real time network inventory

Cons:

  • Not for WAN optimization
  • Limited to manage Cisco devices

 

Conclusion:

I hope this article will be appreciated so that I will be able to offer more in this segment. You can write me @comment section below for providing any query/feedback; I will try my best to resolve your queries. And don’t forget to spread the link of this article on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts so the maximum of people can get this exclusive piece of information. Keep reading @ Instanseschool.com and you can join our Facebook group, http://www.facebook.com/intenseschool to get updates on new posts.

References

Apart from my experience, my team, corporate clients and colleagues helped me a lot to design this articles, and the following web pages provided me all the latest functionalities of these tools.

http://www.kiwisyslog.com/products/kiwi-cattools/product-overview.aspx

http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/en/netcool-network-management

http://www.ca.com/us/opscenter/ca-spectrum.aspx

http://huawei.com/us/products/oss/fbb-om-product-series/imanager-u2000/index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenNMS

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/cloud-systems-management/prime-lan-management-solution/index.html

http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software-solutions/network-automation/try-now.html

https://www.ceragon.com/products-ceragon/management-systems/netmaster

http://iptrack.sourceforge.net/

http://www.solarwinds.com/network-configuration-manager.aspx