CA Inc. announced Spectrum 8.1 Monday, the newest version of its network fault management software.
The new release is the first in the industry to "combine all the possible causes of network outages," said Jerome Simms, director of Spectrum product management at CA, in an interview.
"We're extending the role of the network fault manager with an emphasis on helping to accelerate mean time to repair and to protect service level agreements by helping to prevent failures," he said.
IT staffers will be able to use the product to account for human error as a cause for outages, as well as technology problems, he said. CA Spectrum 8.1 will immediately notify network managers of any recent configuration changes that may have led to an outage or network slowdown.
The new release also integrates with CA's application management software, Wily Introscope, and enhances the previous integration to eHealth, a network performance tool, as well as CA's Unicenter Network and Systems Management product, Simms said.
James Wiedel, director of networking at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said he has been beta testing 8.1 and sees many improvements over his current version, 7.1. USC, which serves 35,000 students and staff, has been a Spectrum customer for many years adn uses the product to manage and monitor a large data network of more than 50,000 nodes on 1,200 switches in 250 buildings, he said.
One of the best new features is a completely rebuilt Management Information Base compiler, which "compiled virtually every device that I threw at it," Wiedel said. For example, it is able to recognize time clocks, weather stations and vending machines, and has the ability to generate network event and alarm files when needed. "This process was quite onerous previously," he said.
Wiedel also said he is able to run scripts using different protocols, such as SNMP, FTP and more, to talk to devices. Another feature allows him to check configuration changes on devices, and to compare those against the saved configurations on the devices, to see if a running configuration was changed but not saved.
"Running a large data network with over 50,000 nodes is tough enough, but Spectrum has been there making it easier," Wiedel said. "Spectrum 8.1 enhances that ease of use as well as our ability to drive down new avenues to get closer to the network managers' nirvana of no user complaints."
Simms said CA will charge for the new version in three maturity models (based on the level of management capability needed), starting at US$60,000 for a basic class, then $250,000 for a standard class and $570,000 for a premium class.