SiteAssure 2.0 eases management via automated policies

Meredith B. Derby, assistant news editor

Platform Computing's latest release of SiteAssure, a policy-based event automation product, promises to raise the bar in the field of networking monitoring. Rather than just spotting a malfunction and leaving the rest to the administrator, Site Assure 2.0 automatically fixes the glitch and then helps administrator write policies that will prevent the problem from happening again.

Where traditional monitoring products notify administrators when there is a problem via color-coded, console-based alerts, SiteAssure goes beyond that functionality to automatically fix problems, said Rodney Jones, director of advanced customer engineering at the Markham, Ontario, Canada-based Platform. Once problems are fixed, policies can be written to ensure that when the same issues happen again, they will be solved automatically, too.

This "active management" frees administrators of the task of unraveling day-to-day problems, according to Ian Mackay, Platform's vice president of the SiteAssure business unit. "It's letting administrators apply their expertise to the creation of policies and planning, as opposed to spending 90 percent of their time putting out fires," he said.

Analyst Dan Kufnetzky believes that SiteAssure 2.0's automated monitoring and problem-solving capabilities will boost administrators' productivity. "They don't have to physically monitor every system separately," said Kufnetzky, program vice president of system software for International Data

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Corp. of Framingham, MA. Using automated policies, Kufnetzky said, "allows admins to set priorities to match the company's priorities."

For example, SiteAssure can check security event logs 50 times a day if programmed to, said Mackay. Usually, he said, administrators are not diligent about checking those logs even once a day, let alone 50.

In terms of scalability, Jones said SiteAssure 2.0 can now scale to tens of thousands of servers, including technical compute farms and enterprise service farms. This scalability was lacking in the previous version of SiteAssure, released two years ago, Mackay said.

The new version's application and security support has been expanded to include customer relationship management, human resources, and telecom applications and broader intersystem communications' encryption and authentication.

Interoperability enhancements ensure that Site Assure can be integrated with other distributed resource management tools and can address the inherent challenges associated with those environments. "Platform has made a great effort to make sure tools work together and make a unified face," said Kufnetzky.

Ease-of-use improvements include a new user interface that speeds up navigation. Also, policies are more intuitive because they are written in XML. "If you can write an HTML page, you can write a policy," Mackay said.

SiteAssure collects all the policies in a central repository. This is helpful to enterprises because "this IT intelligence accruing over time is managed in a way that if that administrator moves on, then somebody else can come in and take over," Jones said. Further, it can be used to train new IT staff members.

SiteAssure starts at $25,000 and higher depending on the organization's size.

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