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Wachovia Opts For Do-It-Yourself Network Management

Bank Unit To Sell Tool That Offers Business And Technology Views Of Networks.
As company networks grow more complex and more important to the success of a business, IT managers need to know more from their network- and systems-management applications than whether a router has failed or an app is faltering. They need to know how a downed router, server, or application affects critical business goals or service-level agreements-and how these problems affect users.

That was the problem faced by Wachovia Corp. The bank wanted to get a business, as well as a technology, view of its network, but found that the available products were too expensive or took too long to implement. So it built its own tool, which it will begin selling this week through a wholly owned subsidiary called Silas Technologies Inc.

Silas Reveille starts at $60,000 and can be installed in hours, says director of business development Chris Edden. The software lets IT managers develop performance tests that can be run over business networks. It can also use data from systems- and network-management tools offered by BMC Software, Computer Associates, Tivoli Systems, and others. The tests are designed to produce a customer-centric view of business applications and a component view that shows the health of the network.

Michael Dortch, a principal analyst at research firm Robert Frances Group, says tools such as Silas Reveille can help IT managers gain more insight into their systems and networks and more quickly respond to problems. Now that senior management is paying closer attention to the IT department, says Dortch, "tools like Reveille help IT managers show the business impact of technology, and in times of tight return on investment, that's more critical than ever." Dortch says there's a sharper focus this year on ROI for network-management tools. While management frameworks sold by Silas' competitors offer value, "for a lot of enterprises, those solutions can still be too expensive, time-consuming, or difficult to implement in a timely fashion." Frameworks can cost from $100,000 to millions, depending on complexity.