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Broadband networking firm gets hooked up with OpenNMS

New Edge Networks Inc. is getting a lot of mileage out of OpenNMS, an open source network management application.

New Edge Networks Inc. knows first hand that when you're in the business of building managed broadband networks, you need a cost effective network management tool.

That's why New Edge examined and ultimately chose to implement OpenNMS, an open source network management tool that provides fault and performance information and service-level reporting among other features. contacted New Edge Networks' vice president of IT, Jim Wilson, to find out more about OpenNMS. Wilson explained why his company chose OpenNMS over the competition, how it's working out thus far, and how the product is helping New Edge differentiate itself from the competition in the networking market.

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What is OpenNMS and what does it do for New Edge?

Jim Wilson: OpenNMS provides New Edge Networks a stable, cost effective back-end for our Managed Network Services (MNS) solution. It is a powerful, stable, and scalable product that allows the company to provide valuable services to customers at a cost effective price.

Why did you choose OpenNMS?

Wilson: Since its inception, New Edge Networks has consistently pursued a strategy for using open source for our applications development. The company would be offering new products and services with a high-level of customization to meet or exceed customer expectations. We determined early that commercial products were limiting and costly to modify within our time and budget considerations. We met with OpenNMS. We reviewed the functionality of the product and made our decision to move forward with it. Quality of the code and support were part of the criteria we used. We have been pleased with our experience to date.

What business problem does OpenNMS solve or help you solve?

Wilson: Specifically, OpenNMS allows New Edge Networks to provide service polling that monitors the 'service level' of a customer's high speed broadband network. It also provides performance data/graphing and immediate notifications on service-affecting issues. New Edge Networks offers these features as value added services to customers with managed wide area networks and IP-based VPNs. In many instances, the company is alerted to service problems and proactively initiates repairs before customers become aware of them. In today's business environment, this is a huge opportunity for competitive differentiation.

What was the implementation process like? How long did it take and what were the biggest challenges of that process?

Wilson: Integration with existing applications proved to be most difficult. Installing and running the application was not difficult. Once New Edge chose OpenNMS, it was a six-month development effort to fully integrate it into our provisioning system. This included migration of existing customers to OpenNMS.

How do you get technical support for the product?

Wilson: We have a support contract with The OpenNMS Group, Inc. When we have questions or technical issues, we open tickets using e-mail. Our experience with their support team has been very favorable. One Friday afternoon, we identified a problem where we had inadvertently scaled our data collection beyond the system's capacity. The support team worked over the weekend and optimized the code for our SAN. We are now collecting nearly 300,000 data points every five minutes without a hitch. I don't believe a commercial software company could provide this level of service at a reasonable cost.

If you had to pick one thing to change about OpenNMS, or the company that providing you with the application, what would that be?

Wilson: [I'd like an] administration tool that allows for easier global changes from the GUI front end.

What would you like to see included in upcoming releases of the application?

Wilson: It would be nice to be able to make changes without having to restart the application, or at least be able to make changes without having to go to the configuration file.

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