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June 14, 2011
Social networking has done wonders for companies to connect with their customers and people to connect with each other. Now Enterasys is hoping its customers will use social networking to connect with their networks – literally.
The enterprise networking vendor has developed a technology it terms “isaac,” which it says “humanizes the enterprise network,” by enabling it to contact IT managers via social networks when issues arise. “There is an increasing adoption of social media in the enterprise and it’s being used for communication, building groups, etc.,” said Ram Appalaraju, vice president of marketing at Enterasys. “[With isaac] we are bringing in the IT assets into these social networking sites to ‘friend’ with people to be able to interact with machines using the language of humans.”
In other words, IT managers can be notified via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Salesforce.com’s Chatter by their networks if there are problems within the network that need to be addressed. The notifications come across as private chats, with isaac notifying the lucky person on the other end in a natural language so the recipient knows exactly what the problem is.
“Traditionally IT managers carried a pager or a smartphone and potentially they could configure their networks to send out notifications, but what do you do then?” noted Vala Afshar, chief customer officer at Enterasys. “When you look at the generational adoption of social media, one-sixths of humanity is on Twitter,” so it’s a natural that the evolution of these sites includes real-time notifications.
Plus, Afshar noted, social sites are uber-secure. “There is a better chance of someone hacking into your personal e-mail than into Facebook or Twitter,” he said. “It’s critically important for social media companies to have the utmost level of security.”
To the channel, isaac can represent an easy way to get into the services game – or up the ante for current services providers in their responsiveness to customer problems.
“[The technology] can make network management and monitoring proactive from the network or devices, which does the alerting via Tweets (or other types of messages) to the owner’s device as a secure communication, allowing them to react on a need-to-react basis,” Appalaraju said. “Think of the scale and efficiency that goes along with this; we could help customers build a NOC under a bunker in Montana and have it Tweet to us – location is no longer important.”
Such technology also could be useful for partners serving the SMB space, where IT staffing is in short supply but IT problems exist nonetheless.
“From a business perspective, they need to know in real time what people are using and have a high dependence on technology for their workflow, but they don’t have in-house IT,” Appalaraju noted. “issac enables these businesses to get an instant response from the interaction of the applications – that is the biggest benefit.
“Plus, there’s no guesswork in the workflow,” he added. “It’s not a capital purchase – all this social media already exists. That’s a big plus for the channel.”
isaac is a social media interface to the Enterasys Network Management Suite that sits as a layer on top of the NMS and as such can support any hardware supported by the NMS. The technology is slated for an end-of-June 2011 availability and will be priced based on number of devices, starting at $9,995. To facilitate adoption, however, Enterasys is offering the technology at no cost through the end of the year. “We want to increase the adoption so we’re making it easy to acquire. The beauty of isaac is it’s non-invasive and returns high value quickly,” Appalaraju said.
isaac is the latest in Enterasys’ moves to make its mark on the networking space. During its annual Americas Partner Conference in May, Enterasys targeted data center, wireless and physical surveillance as “bright spots of opportunity” for the channel and announced a bevy of switching offerings to fill the needs of SMB and midsize customers.
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