Making order out of network chaos

JENNIFER PIGG CLARK, PATRICK DALY

2 JUNE 2016

The vendor has added features to its Network Management and SurePath offerings such as product integrations, enhanced network topology maps and configuration management capabilities. The latest functionality allows users to
view and manage network paths as well as analyze performance in real time or as part of a historical trend.

Entuity has updated its network management and path analysis software with a broad range of features, including enhanced topology maps, configuration management capabilities, cloud certification and integration with ServiceNow. The product allows users to view and manage network paths and analyze performance in real time – critical to today’s increasingly virtualized networks – or as part of a historical trend. The updates are designed to improve the client’s level of visibility into and control over its network performance.

THE 451 TAKE

Entuity continues to introduce innovative features and functionality. It currently can discover, monitor and visualize physical, virtual and cloud assets separately. However, enterprises are seeking a consolidated, end-to-end view of their networks. We anticipate that this will be the next challenge tackled by the company. Given growing customer demand, we believe Entuity will likely announce functionality in this space later this year.

Context

Entuity was founded in 1997 and is based in London, with a US headquarters in Marlborough, Massachusetts. It targets medium to large enterprises and has hundreds of customers worldwide, many of which operate networks with over 5,000 devices on them. Due to the global footprint of many of its customers, Entuity’s network management products are currently deployed in 48 countries.

With about 60 employees worldwide and revenue of $10-50m, the company is cash-flow positive and, based on the fact that it has not raised financing since 2004, appears to have been so for some time. The $3.2m raised in 2004 was Entuity’s second round and brought the company to $15.2 in total funding.

Products

Entuity offers two complementary offerings: Network Management and SurePath. Together, they help fill the
networking gap in application performance monitoring (APM) systems and business service management (BSM) platforms.
The Network Management software supports both physical and virtual networks, including VMware, Oracle and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. The product is capable of automated discovery that periodically scans the enterprise’s network for asset inventory and continually detects and accommodates changes to maintain an accurate vision of the devices under management. In addition, Network Management collects NetFlow data and visualizes it for the client web dashboard as part of the product’s Integrated Flow Analyzer (IFA) feature. There are two levels of NetFlow analysis available depending on customers’ needs, IFA and IFA Premium. Each level analyzes link utilization and displays traffic by source, destination, protocols used, applications employed and quality of service in real time or as a historical trend.
Network Management also features recently enhanced, innovative (and rather decorative, in our opinion) topology maps to improve customers’ visualization of how all of the assets on their network are connected, improving visibility into their performance with an interactive display, the ability to click down into subgroup and the capability, as noted, to autodiscover network inventory and topology. All of this complements and enhances Entuity’s fault management, root-cause analysis and reporting technology.
The extensible processing engine allows users to define object models and quickly add new types of devices to the network. The company can incorporate a wide variety of information from multiple sources (not just SNMP) into the object models, including network inventory, topology, fault and performance data (physical and virtual), as well as syslog, LLDP, SONMP, flow, QoS, IP SLA, SOAP and XML. It supports the APIs needed to extract management data from other application managers such as Cisco Unified Communications Manager, VMware vCenter Server and Oracle VM Manager.

The configuration management included as part of the offering allows administrators to automatically push configs to thousands of devices and ports within single and multi-server environments. The configs can be scheduled or run from menus. Advanced scripting capabilities allow users to preconfigure and validate the configs, improving accuracy and reducing errors. Additionally, the product comes with an event management system that runs out of the box with predefined rules and is customizable via a web interface.

Network Management now integrates directly into the company’s other offering, SurePath. SurePath finds and
optimizes network paths to boost application performance. By monitoring path behavior, it lets users know what
is causing slower applications, where apps are failing in the network and which devices and ports are most important to application performance. The SurePath integration simplifies the use of both products and allows users to view the actual paths taken by applications in topology maps as well as create custom paths using IFA Premium. The result of the integration is a much greater degree of level two and three visibility.
Entuity recently announced several updates to its network management software. Enhanced topology maps are
more interactive than before and update in real time as changes to the network are made, enabling proactive
management. Configuration management is a new feature altogether that allows customers to push configurations to devices or specific ports in the network via web-driven tasks. These tasks both schedule and validate configuration changes.
The addition of cloud certification is another update that should improve efficiency by enabling enterprises to
quickly deploy Entuity servers with reduced capital expenditures. Finally, the company has announced a new
integration with ServiceNow. Its event management system rolls up multiple events into a single ‘incident’ before sending it to ServiceNow, reducing the number of raw events sent to ServiceNow by up to 90%. The lower number of raw events improves focus on the important ones, allowing customers to more easily isolate the source of network problems.

Strategy

Entuity leverages a fairly robust partner network to bring its products to a wider market. The company partners
with ISVs such as BMC, Dell and Oracle by integrating its network management wares directly into their offerings. In addition to software providers, Entuity’s partners include MSPs, SIs, VARs and technology partners. Dell Services, F5 Networks, VMware, Nexsys and Accenture are all members of its partner network.

This strategy seems to be paying dividends. The company reports that first-quarter revenue far exceeded its goal, driven by new licenses from multiple customers. Geographically, the majority of new licenses came out of the Middle East, with significant revenue growth in South America as well. Recently, the increased demand for Entuity’s Network Management offering has been driven by enterprises that are forced to deal with ‘shadow IT’ not having a firm handle on their cloud or on-premises networks.

Competition

Entuity vies with traditional enterprise network management vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (with
Intelligent Management Center), CA Technologies and SevOne, and also faces competition from open source freeware and DIYers. However, most businesses of the scale that Entuity targets lack the ability to effectively leverage an open source offering. Rather than assuming the ongoing risk and support overhead associated with open source network management, most companies for which the network is a strategic asset and channel to market will gladly pay for third-party management services. Other network management firms such as SolarWinds and Ipswitch (with WhatsUp Gold) pursue smaller-scale networks and, as a result, compete only peripherally with Entuity and its medium- to large-enterprise focus.

SWOT ANALYSIS