a leading provider of network automation software solutions. I asked
Alan Black, President and CEO of Intelliden, for an interview to learn more
about the reasoning and benefits behind the new IBM and Intelliden
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Intelliden?
is a leading provider of Intelligent Network Automation software
solutions for heterogeneous network devices like routers, switches and
hubs. Intelliden’s solutions are critical for organizations that depend
on their network such as service providers, enterprises and government
defense institutions. Our customers including leading
organizations such as BT, Cbeyond, Scotia Capital, Telecom Italia,
Telefonica, TELUS and VISA.
Intelliden was founded
in 2000 and was one of the first companies to provide software-based
products for network configuration management. We also pioneered the
technology for standardizing device configurations into XML schemas
called SmartModels™ that provide an unprecedented level of visibility,
automation and control of multi-vendor network devices.
Intelliden’s solutions enable customers to manage the change lifecycle
of next generation networks including discovery, security and control,
configuration and change management, compliance, provisioning and
software upgrades. We support a broad range of network vendors
including Acme Packet, Alcatel Lucent, Arris, Brocade, Ciena, Cisco,
Exterme, Juniper, Motorola, Nortel and Tellabs.
Question: Why did IBM acquire Intelliden? How does it fit into IBM’s product portfolio?
Analysts estimate that more than 60% of network outages are caused by
manual configuration errors, and 80% of security breaches arise from
A typical organization is
managing an increasingly complex and ever changing network
infrastructure. Companies are managing a virtualized computing layer
that more than ever relies on the network.
In Intelliden, IBM saw a great fit with its Tivoli
portfolio for integrated service management
This acquisition enables IBM to provide a world-class solution for
network lifecycle management. This spans all the FACPS functions --
fault, configuration, accounting and audit, performance and security.
Intelliden also enables IBM to provide an integrated solution for
managing the data center infrastructure including applications,
servers, storage and network.
Question: Can you tell me how Intelliden is different from other vendors in the market?
Alan: There are several ways in which Intelliden is different from other vendors in the market place. Just to name a few...
first is network accuracy and control. Every change made through
Intelliden’s SmartModel mode is syntactically and semantically correct
and based on the real-time configuration state of the devices. So
Intelliden won’t let you break the network. Other script-based
solutions make configuration changes on a "
fire and forget"
or anticipatory basis, which cannot guarantee accuracy. Also unlike
other solutions, Intelliden can also provide granular device access
down to the specific part of the configuration, which means you can
tightly control who can make which changes. Intelliden also provides
non-disruptive roll back ability, which means that if you need to get
the device back to an older configuration state, you don’t need to send
the entire configuration file to the device, which leads to device
reboot; you can simply send the specific "
get the device back to the necessary state. Together these capabilities
provide much greater level of control and up-time than available from
The second differentiator is
Intelliden’s comprehensive automation capabilities for a variety of
skill sets (e.g., from a novice operator to an expert engineer) and
needs (e.g., ad-hoc configurations, frequent template based changes).
Intelliden also has the most comprehensive network compliance
capabilities in the market.
The third is the area
of security and compliance that is becoming increasingly important in
the network and IT domains. Intelliden provides powerful capabilities
in this area. You can create a broad range of network configuration
policies to enforce regulatory mandates, security guidelines,
operational and engineering standards. This results in a more
predictable and consistent network performance.
finally, I'd say scalability. Intelliden has thought long and hard
about the scalability requirements of network-driven organizations.
Our solutions can scale along multiple dimensions: small to large
configurations with up to million lines; a few hundred to hundreds of
thousands of devices; and a few thousand to millions of transactions and
policy checks to name a few.
Question: What benefits can customers expect from the acquisition?
Alan: As mentioned earlier, Intelliden complements existing IBM’s Tivoli portfolio for network &
IT operations very well. Through this acquisition, customers get
world-class IT service management and data center automation solutions
backed by IBM’s worldwide customer support, services and business
Question: What can we expect to see happen in the near and long term future?
Customers can expect to see tighter integration of Intelliden’s
products with IBM Tivoli portfolio to unlock the benefits mentioned
earlier. Intelliden will continue to evolve the rich capabilities of
and deliver enhanced value through integration with solutions such as
Netcool Omnibus and Tivoli Network Manager by improving client time to
value, and adding globalization and additional language support. IBM
also plans to continue to invest in Intelliden’s products to deliver
functional enhancements and additional device support.
Intelliden’s business partners already belong to the IBM Business
Partner program, so you can expect their continued consultation,
fulfillment and support. Building on IBM's tradition of client success
and satisfaction, Intelliden plans to continue to deliver customer
support services by leveraging IBM’s extensive global support
resources. We are excited to be part of the IBM team to raise the bar by
delivering the industry’s most advanced IT service management solutions.
is the first of a series of interviews to come on the Intelliden
acquisition. As Alan mentions, exciting plans are in the works to
integrate Intelliden with other IBM solutions, so I'd like to
investigate how Intelliden will work with Netcool and some of our other
products. More to come. In the meanwhile, you can learn more from this Webcast on "Intelligent Network Automation: Control, Manage and Scale Your Network