Mister Management: Too Sexy for Our Shirts

We must make it clear to management vendors that we're willing to put our money where our mouths are.

October 24, 2003

3 Min Read
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Things sure have changed. In fact, I think I saw Marshall's shirt being auctioned off on eBay the other day. Seems like forever since I've heard the sexy sizzle of network management. These days, vendors and users approach management the same way they approach their morning oatmeal--they know it's good for them so they force themselves to eat it, but they don't devour it the way they do wireless, security and storage projects.

The subject of management's missing sex appeal came up at our recent Editorial Advisory Board meeting. (No, I'm not the one who brought it up, though any talk of network management makes me feel like tearing off my shirt, leaping onstage and leading the crowd in a cheer.) Management of network, systems and applications is still an ongoing concern in just about every IT shop, our reader council told us. It's difficult and expensive to test, implement and operate management systems, and it's no secret that the management frameworks of the mid-1990s were a dismal failure. Yet nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Large, strategic management initiatives have long since left the building.

Yeah, So?

When the readers on our advisory board--IT professionals we've come to know and respect--raised the issue of management complexity and frustration, we weren't surprised. Watching management initiatives take shape isn't exactly a turn-on. It's taken deliberate, methodical plodding by the DMTF and IETF to get CIM, DEN, SNMPconf and other management standards to the point of certification.

But where are the products? Where's the automation that lets us manage more complicated systems and deliver more services more quickly? All we get is monitoring applications that gather SNMP data and track usage trends and threshold alerts. Helpful? Yes. Earth-shattering? No. Not one management application gets to the heart of the complexity of heterogeneous networks.And we can't even blame this dearth of management products on the vendors. We're the ones voting with our budgets. If we want products that simplify the creation of network-management policies and the configuration of our networks, systems, applications and services, we must make it clear to vendors that we're willing to put our money where our mouths are.

Two-Way Street

We regularly address management concerns in the pages of Network Computing, tracking and evaluating market trends and standards, testing products and providing guidance in deploying them. You've probably seen our recent articles on outsourcing network and systems management and SNMPv3. And we have more management storiesin the works.

But you tell us: Should we be devoting more space to our coverage of network management? Do we need to test more management hardware and software to help you narrow down your short lists? Should we test management products in some new, exciting way? Do you want to see more workshops about implementation of management tools? Would it make sense for us to create a trade show or seminar series devoted to network management so you could spend some concentrated time face to face with the vendors?

Write to us and let us know. We'll do our best to give you what you need, sexy or not.

Bruce Boardman is Executive Editor/Technology of Network Computing magazine. Contact him at [email protected].Post a comment or question on this story.

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