Network Diagramming Channel Feature
OPNET Modeler 17.5 is Introduced with Several Enhancements and Themes
For the past 18 months, OPNET has been working on the innovative release of its OPNET Modeler 17.5. With its introduction, 17.5 offers numerous enhancements as well as some major themes in the network diagramming space.
One of its themes is Application-aware Network Management –a term that has had a lot of buzz around it lately. “We believe we have been successfully doing this for a while now because OPNETs Application Performance Management or Monitoring (APM (News - Alert)) products are strong and play a large role in various industries that have started to do APM,” Vinod Jeyachandran, vice president of engineering and product manager at OPNET, told TMCnet in an exclusive interview.
Bringing together APM with a network side provides Application-aware Network, which according to Jeyachandran, means you are not reacting to a network event in your infrastructure and trying to solve it. Instead, you are taking a more strategic approach of looking at alerts and outages that are coming from an infrastructure carrying priority applications.
Jeyachadran says it is important to know which applications use which infrastructure, and which infrastructure elements are serving which applications. Knowing this information helps to prioritize cases, events and trouble tickets that you see within your infrastructure, and OPNET does this in a variety of ways.
Today, OPNET’s software is increasingly being used for Application-aware Network Management, primarily because of integration with OPNET’s APM tools and its workloads that naturally lend themselves to have this ability. “We want to continue improving how someone solves network problems from an application perspective,” he added.
Secondly, OPNET is always trying to stay on top of the evolving virtualization space. Increased attention given to virtualization as well as OPNET’s software can handle a lot of these virtualized environments.
Lastly, OPNET is continuing to always develop automated software that doesn’t require any human involvement. The company can automate any workload that is within the software, whether it is producing diagrams or advisories.
“With almost zero human involvement, we should be able to produce these actionable reports for someone to simply use and get to work on. There is always a continued investment in this,” continued Jeyachandran.
When NetMapper was first introduced, OPNET spoke with a lot of its customers and spent hours and reviewing manual diagrams that customers shared. Even in the first version of NetMapper, OPNET developed controls that allowed users to create diagrams in a layout that they were used to.
“This worked really well and was a big competitive advantage for OPNET because a lot of our competitors just do generic layout algorithms, ultimately ending up with a hairball,” explained Ankit Agarwal, associate vice president of Engineering at OPNET.
Now, NetMapper diagrams are laid out logically and are very intuitive to use. Initially, OPNET has come out with controls where the user could do it once and then the process was automated for the future. “It was very simple, but there were still a few steps that the user had to take,” he continued.
Given what OPNET has learned from the software and control usage, the company has put intelligence into the software itself. In its latest 17.5 release, OPNET has added a one-page layout where the user doesn’t have to configure anything, and the software infers the layout from the configuration. Then, a diagram that is automatically generated comes out with the intuitive layout already.
According to Agarwal, in about 80 percent of the cases, OPNET receives feedback that its diagram is perfect, while in the other 20 percent, the customers say the diagrams get them 80 percent of the way and the effort they have to put it in order to customize it, is significantly reduced.
“We continue to add intelligence of this nature,” he said. “The layout really mimics the network architecture and the network design. So, the engineers find it very intuitive to use, while the layout is very consistent.”
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey