How Nyansa Enables Long Overdue Management Tool Consolidation

eWEEK PRODUCT ANALYSIS: Rich data plus AIOps enables businesses to rationalize the number of management tools.

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Network management startup Nyansa has announced an update to its Voyance AIOps platform that is designed to reduce the number of monitoring tools being used through tool consolidation. To accomplish this, Nyansa has beefed up Voyance to include feature rich monitoring of the wired network. Already strong with wireless LAN, Voyance now includes support for Cisco, HPE/Aruba, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise and Juniper Networks wired switches.

Voyance now includes wired network monitoring

Customers can use Voyance as compliment to, or a replacement for, tools such as SolarWinds, Cisco Prime or Aruba Airwave, because the Nynasa platform now includes the following capabilities:

  • Real-time wired infrastructure health monitoring: switch and switch Interface, WAN, UPS systems 
  • Visibility into key switch attributes
  • Visibility into wired device location
  • Visibility into application QoS over WAN 
  • Interface statistics and metrics: Tx/Rx traffic (packets, bytes), operational (egs. fan speed, temperature), errors (eg. CRC, Duplex mismatch) (coming soon)
  • Spanning tree config and ACLs (coming soon)

Management tools sprawl kills network engineer productivity

Management tool sprawl has been the bane of almost every network manager's existence as long as I can remember. Every vendor promises a “single pane of glass,” but as networks evolve, new tools are required. Also, some tools, like SolarWinds, do an effective job of showing high-level information but do not have the capabilities to look at advanced network information.

How bad is the problem? Nyansa cited an Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) report that found that large enterprises have at least eight network and performance management (NPM) tools currently deployed. With all due respect to the good folks at EMA, this number seems significantly lower than what I’ve witnessed in large enterprises, where I often find the number of managed tools to be easily in the high teens or 20s.

More isn’t better with NPM tools

When it comes to management tools, more isn’t necessarily better. A little over a year ago I did some anecdotal research looking at the impact of tool sprawl. Once an organization exceeds about three to four tools, the return is minimal, if not negatively impacting. The issues aren’t with the tools themselves, but rather with the ability to correlate information across them.

Each tool holds a wealth of information, but when a user calls in because an of an application problem, the wireless LAN management tool tells part of the story, the wired network tool tells another part, the inventory management application is yet another piece and the SIEM is another vector to consider. The only way to make sense of all the data is to have someone manually correlate the information.

Tool sprawl leads to swivel chair management

In the network industry, this is known as “swivel chair management,” where an engineer sits in the middle of a number of dashboards and tries to quickly correlate the data. This might have been possible a decade ago, but the volume of data coming from the network is so high and the data is so rich that people just can’t process the information fast enough. However, machines can, and Voyance was built from the ground up to be an AIOps tool where the machine-learning based engine would do much of the heavy lifting for the engineer.

That’s not the only problem with tool sprawl. Other issues include the cost of training people on multiple tools, blind spots created as not each management platform provides the same information, inconsistent data coming from the various tools and an escalation in costs as network management becomes more people intensive.

Voyance compliments existing tools to enable a comfortable migration

As mentioned earlier, Nyansa designed Voyance to either replace or work alongside existing tools. This means companies can deploy Nysansa and retain the investments already made and then consolidate at a pace they feel comfortable with--or when the software agreement expires.

Looking ahead, the problem is only going to get worse, because the industry has moved from campus network to campus plus cloud and now the edge is evolving. This will bring in another set of niche vendors, each with their own products and management tools. Now sprinkle in some internet of things and it’s easy to see how the current bad situation will just continue to get worse to the point where its untenable.

Too much of anything isn’t a good thing, and that’s definitely the case with management tools. Nyansa’s Voyance enables businesses to rationalize down the number of tools to something more manageable at a pace that’s comfortable to the business.

Zeus Kerravala is an eWEEK regular contributor and the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He spent 10 years at Yankee Group and prior to that held a number of corporate IT positions.