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The Survivor's Guide to 2004: Network and Systems Management

But the frameworks do emphasize one thing correctly: the total management cost of network ownership. Today, while the towering cost of network and systems management frameworks is obvious, the hidden, below-the-surface "soft dollars" spent to maintain many enterprise networks go uncounted, often unseen. These dollars represent real people doing real procedures in support of real network services, but they're not counted directly as network and systems management costs. Thus enterprises are often reluctant to purchase network and systems management systems because their cost seems out of whack with their value. But it's not. Consider how much time and effort would be saved as a result of a framework deployment.

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But that's the big picture. Back on Earth, we need more practical answers. network and systems management problems need to be fixed, now, with as little cost and effort as possible. This reality means much network and systems management application development is focused on the low-hanging performance-management fruit (read: network-performance data).

Lately, though, this has become too much of a good thing. Performance vendors pluck data from everywhere. The ubiquitous deployment of SNMP in network and system devices has created a huge harvest of information, and products from BMC Software, Concord Communications, Entuity, ProactiveNet and others collect performance information from a very long and growing list of proprietary agents. These include Computer Associates system agents, Cisco SAA (Service Assurance Agent), and PeopleSoft and Oracle application transactions.

Some key trends to help you handle this glut in 2004:

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