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Alcatel S.A. this week will debut a new release of its OmniVista network management software that streamlines network management through new automation and enhances security on multiple fronts.

OmniVista Version 2.2 adds five new features intended to enable greater centralization and standardization of operations across a network of Alcatel LAN switches. It also extends some functions to other vendors’ switches, including those of 3Com Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc.

Among the new features is an optional Secure Access application that provides centralized and automated control over who has access to which management functions as well as LAN switches. Switch management rights can be categorized by department or by user. It also documents which users have access and with what privileges. Policies can be established that control who can connect to the LAN switch, what rights they have when they connect and how they connect.

Alcatel’s network infrastructure business unit, in Calabasas, Calif., also added a new Resource Manager that allows users to automate common operations performed on network switches such as upgrading software images, backing up software images and configuration files, and restoring software images and configuration files.

Early users at Alamo Community College District, in San Antonio, use Resource Manager extensively, according to Arne Saustrup, IT operations manager. “I have 120 different managed Alcatel devices, and when a new code release comes out, it’s always been tedious to do the upgrade. With this you can do it all in one fell swoop. That’s pretty nice,” Saustrup said.

For smaller network operations groups, Alcatel added a new trap responder that allows users to automate responses to an SNMP trap. Automated responses can be as simple as sending an e-mail to a specific operator or as complex as launching a script that pages a network administrator.

OmniVista Locator allows network administrators to quickly locate the physical connection point of a user according to that user’s IP or media access control address. Locator can also be used to find and isolate PCs infected with a virus. “It can be tedious to track down an offending IP address. Before Locator, it took 10 to 15 minutes. Now you just type in the IP address, hit enter and it tells you where it is,” said Saustrup.

OmniVista 2.2 is available now. Pricing starts at $3,995.