CA Upgrades Spectrum Fault-Management Software - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

CA Upgrades Spectrum Fault-Management Software

What CA has done is linked its fault-management software to performance management and to configuration management.

CA this week is rolling out a new version of its fault management software, which combines root-cause analysis with change awareness to provide a more holistic view of problems responsible for network hiccups.

Spectrum r8.1 allows IT departments to identify human error as a potential cause of a network problem along with technical issues during the troubleshooting process. The software can do this through a newly-added capability that integrates network configuration "change awareness" with root-cause analysis, a method that refers to finding the real cause of a problem and eliminating it instead of dealing with the symptoms.

Human error is one of the most common causes of network failures, according to CA. The failures can lead to downtime due to unauthorized changes, mistakes in change implementation, or inconsistencies between how a network device is configured and how it should be configured. "These are all problems that must be solved to minimize downtime and improve overall service speed and reliability," said Richard Ptak, an analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates, in an interview.

Spectrum does this by quickly finding problems that affect network performance. "Having this understanding embedded with a network fault management tool is unique," said Dan Holmes, Spectrum director of product management, in an interview. The new version integrates with CA's eHealth network performance management software. Together they're meant to help companies predict problems before they occur, better understand who is impacted once a problem happens, and identify and resolve the root cause of the problem before business is impacted, Holmes said.

CA says it is approaching network fault management differently from competitors, which include EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun. Most link their network fault management to performance management and offer root cause analysis. What CA has done is linked its to performance management and to configuration management. "So if someone screws-up in the configuration of a particular machine, and that machine is causing problems, CA can identify the problem as configuration-related and go about fixing it," said Joe Clabby of research firm Clabby Analytics, in an interview.

Still, there's one key things that companies should remember about network fault management systems: The easier it is to manage across systems and networks, the less it's going to cost to do so, said Clabby. The result is an overall lower cost of operations, which is a business benefit no company can resist.

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