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ITIL :: View topic - nlayers for Discovery
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nlayers for Discovery

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Joined: Apr 24, 2007
Posts: 9
Location: Dubln, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:12 pm    Post subject: nlayers for Discovery Reply with quote


Has anyone used nlayers as a discovery tool ? If so, what CMDB tool are you using?

I am looking at nlayers but hoping to use BMC CMDB but heard that integration is diffcult if not impossible ?

Kind regards

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Joined: Mar 21, 2006
Posts: 17
Location: India

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 11:12 pm    Post subject: BMC as a CMDB Reply with quote

Hi Sandra,

I dont have any experience with nlayer, but have quite some experience with BMC Atrium CMDB. Would like to assure you that integration with BMC Atrium CMDB is actually not a very big deal. BMC AR System , the platform on which the Atrium CMDB is built, provides various integration methods either database level, API level, Web services, etc.

It also come with an application called Enterprise Integration Engine (EIE), which can be used to integrate with various external databases.

Though an integration would be easy, it should be done by an experienced part.
Nikhil Kulkarni.
Application Analyst
cMango.. The Services Management Company

The taste of low quality lingers long after the satisfaction of low price.
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Joined: Jun 19, 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sandra,

I can provide some insight on integrations with Atrium CMDB as we just went through the exercise of building one.

I am senior product manager at Our product, Tideway Foundation, is the market leading enteprise discovery and application dependency mapping tool. And as being the only independent player in this market (nlayers was acquired by EMC recently), our product is framework agnostic and has built-in adapters to the main framework vendor solutions (BMC, HP, IBM, etc), not always the case of the other solutions (e.g. nlayers doesn't have a certified adapter to Atrium).

As I said, we finished building an adapter to Atrium CMDB 2.0 in March and it passed BMC labs certification, a guarantee of interoperability. Using the infrastructure data and dependencies automatically discovered by Foundation, the adapter automatically creates and maintains the corresponding CIs in Atrium CMDB, including dependencies between them.

For the adapter, we used the BMC Atrium Java API (this choice was the conclusion of discussions with BMC Remedy architects. Don't use the web services one if scalability is important. Also EIE as mentionned by Nihil wasn't recommended by our customers using Atrium, scalability seemed to be a pb). The API is well documented and development was quite straight forward. Note that during our development we found one bug about the coonection API (when you try to enforce a specific port as opposed to using portmapper, the API doesn't pick it up. There is an un-elegant work around that I am happy to discuss with you if you want).

The other thing to consider in your integration is how to handle the data mapping. Your source and target data models are always different. Our adapter comes out of the box with the mapping between Tideway and Atrium Common Data Model 2.0, ensuring supported compliance throughout releases. But since 96% of Atrium customers do customize the Atrium data model, our adapter also offers a very easy to use configurable mapping engine, allowing you to decide how to map Tideway data to Atrium data.

Overall (and like any integration really) building an adapter to Atrium that can scale and is production ready is at least a 3 to 4 man.month project, not including the ramp-up learning curve on the API.
At Tideway, we decided to make this adapter a standard Tideway product, fully supported and certified by BMC so that customers don't have to build yet another custom integration.

Hope this help shed some light to your questions. Don't hesistate to contact me for further details

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Joined: Feb 29, 2008
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We looked at nLayers (now SMARTS/ADM since purchase by EMC) for our discovery tool. It is an excellent tool for discovering your network topology and the communication relationships between server CIs. The biggest concern we had with it is its licensing structure. You will pay a license fee based on the number of servers discovered by the tool. So if you have 1000 servers in your network, you will pay 1000 * the license fee per server. This can be cost prohibitive. The second issue is that the product is an appliance that is connected to a switch's SPAN port. In order to discover your entire network, you may need to have multiple appliances attached with an additional one for aggregation of the data collected by the others. Some network engineers do not like dedicating SPAN ports and this may be an issue in your organization. Having said that, it is a very good product. We looked at it in combination with N(i)2 cmdb solution.

I agree with Manu that the interface with Atrium can be problematic as it is not certified. The adaptor from nLayers to Atrium also adds a license fee.
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