Vol 2., Issue 27
July 3, 2001
In this week's installment...
* Project Status
+ Next Release in Testing
+ Announcing our Business Plans
+ Benchmarking Results
+ Coding Projects Underway
* Upcoming Road Shows
* Early Adopter Program Status
* The Wish List
Next Release in Testing:
We've got some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is that 0.7.6 has been pulled from the release
schedule and will never see the light of day. The good news is that
all of the code slated for 0.7.6 has been put through some pretty
rigorous testing and has come out better, stronger, faster because
of it. And it will be released as 0.8.0 sometime (knock wood) over
the next week.
That's right! We're inside of a week away from 0.8.0! Woo-hoo!
This release will include all of the features slated for 0.7.6 and
then some. Most importantly, the feature set is robust and is
basically complete for 1.0. Because we have some additional efforts
going on as tangents to the main project, there could be some give
in this, but as of now, we see the product as feature-complete for
the 1.0 release. Now, it's a question of testing.
And fortunately, a lot of the bugs that testing will reveal have
been identified over the past week or so, as we punished the code
base with some scaling tests. More details on that below.
So hang with us a little longer, and we'll be at 0.8.0 before you
Announcing our Business Plans:
Like development of the OpenNMS software itself, our business plans
here at Team OpenNMS have been moving forward and changing as we
discover what organizations are looking for in a next-generation
network management software like OpenNMS. But we have finally
reached a point where we can begin to paint a picture of how our
business plans will address the enterprise management market.
The overriding goals of any business plans are profitability and
long-term viability--both of which are critical to our ability to
maintain the current rate of enhancements to the OpenNMS code base.
Supporting the OpenNMS development process and maintaining the fast
rate of enhancements is something we not only remain dedicated to
philsophically, but is a goal that is absolutely critical to the
ultimate success of the OpenNMS.com business proposition itself.
Therefore, the team here at OpenNMS.org is creating TWO parallel
businesses around the OpenNMS software: OpenNMS.com and Oculan. We
think this duality in business models allows us to address the core
needs of two different target audiences, without sacrificing one on
the altar of the other.
As planned, OpenNMS.com will be launched later this year.
OpenNMS.com will be the pure "services and support" offering behind
the OpenNMS technologies, and it will target the higher end of the
market inhabited by larger enterprise customers. Through
OpenNMS.com, you will be able to hire OpenNMS consulting services,
contract for custom development services, and purchase support
contracts. This is the "classic" business model associated with
most open source efforts. While this business model is still in its
infancy, we believe there are a number of differentiators that make
our business plan for OpenNMS very viable in the industry today:
* Enterprise Network & Systems Management is already a very
* We've built the technology and guide its continued development
* The obvious licensing price-points are compelling
* With the feature set that's currently on the drawing board, we
anticipate being able to compete head-to-head in the enterprise
with HP/Tivoli/CA/BMC in less than two years (timeframe is shorter
for smaller companies/networks).
Our other company, Oculan, was officially launched yesterday and
will provide a network management solution for smaller companies
who do not need, nor can they afford, the complete functionality of
the enterprise-level OpenNMS software. Instead, we have used the
OpenNMS software as the core of a new offering that has been built
through many tweaks, tunes, changes, and outright add-ons into
something targeted specifically at small to mid-sized business
Oculan falls into a category that some of the industry analysts are
calling "Management Services Suppliers". In short, we've built some
configurations which address the needs of the small-to-medium-sized
business (less than 1000 employees), and have installed it on an
"appliance". We've then fully integrated add-on technologies,
including a Win32 desktop agent and an intrusion detection
appliance (with more appliances waiting in the wings), and will
market the suite to resellers and outsourcers as a "subscription
service". This will allow local resellers to compete as solution
and/or service providers, much like the emerging "Management
Service Provider" (MSP) marketplace.
Due to the fact that Oculan will maintain the appliance's
configuration, we can do software upgrades, bug-fixes, and
configuration changes to distributed appliances all over North
America. And since the platform is built on open source
technologies (where possible), the offering is very cost-effective
to the end-users, and can be re-sold very competitively in the MSP
That, in a nutshell, is Oculan. Pretty nifty, eh?
Why two separate businesses, you ask? Good question. The reasons
are few, but important:
* Oculan focuses on a different, unserved market.
* Oculan includes partnerships and agreements with proprietary
* OpenNMS.com needs to be able to address the unique needs of
networks with massive and specific customization requirements,
while Oculan will focus on a "cookie-cutter" approach, to whatever
Here are a few answers to questions we've either anticipated or
have gotten already from folks familiar with the business-side of
Q: Will the OpenNMS software continue to be developed and released
under the GPL?
A: Absolutely. This is critical to the success of the OpenNMS.com
Q: Where can I find out more information about Oculan?
Q: Where can I find out more information about OpenNMS.com?
A: While we've been focusing on Oculan of late, there is no
additional information about OpenNMS.com. However, we anticipate
launching the site and corresponding services sometime in late
September/early October. You'll hear more about it as the date
Q: Can I buy an Oculan subscription?
A: Yes. Go to the Oculan web site and you can find a reseller near
Q: Can I buy an OpenNMS support contract?
A: Following the launch of OpenNMS.com, definitely. Until then,
we're not able to offer services. Your best source for support will
be the [discuss] mailing list or as a member of the OpenNMS Early
Q: How can you couple proprietary software with open source
software? Doesn't that break the GPL?
A: No more than running Oracle on a Linux box does. Our "coupling"
of these disparately licensed packages comes at a configuration and
integration level, not at a code-level. And if everything is
happening at "performance" time, all licensing requirements are
Q: I'm a member of the press and would like to do a feature story
on you/your business/your memoirs. Who should I contact?
A: You probably want to talk to our Director of Corporate
Communications, Darrek Porter. You can reach him at
Hope this serves to answer any lingering questions you may have had
over the business side of OpenNMS. If you have additional
questions, please contact Darrek or I directly. You can find me, as
always, at firstname.lastname@example.org
While I can't yet provide a full performance matrix and scalability
guides, I can tell you this: we're managing a lot of nodes and not
breaking a sweat.
The metric we are using for our scalability is total number of
services polled (which arguably isn't the best metric, since the
overhead associated with a "service" varies from poller to poller,
but I digress...) We are currently, in some test scenarios,
managing around 450 nodes, each with 5-6 services, totaling around
2600 services altogether.
Our testing platform is a 833Mhz Intel box with 1 Gig of RAM. No,
this isn't your typical desktop (nor is it your father's
Oldsmobile), but it's certainly not an Enterprise-class Sparc box
either--with regards to power or price.
What have we learned from this little venture? First, JSDT is a
finnicky little beast. It works great, but since it is not yet open
source, it's a black box that allows us to put things in, with no
control over it until it comes out the other end--if it comes out
at all. Second, some of our RTC code was still performing
calculations on data that we'd obsoleted from the UI some time ago.
By stripping this code, RTC's footprint and overhead have been
substantially reduced. And third, Seth is a gargoyle.
So we'll continue to test and keep you posted on results. Word.
Coding Projects Underway:
* CDP/L2/Mapping -- The word from Pete is that he's waiting for some
of the changes that are coming in 0.8.0 before tying anything
directly to current functionality. Good choice, my friend.
* Snort Integration -- There's some progress on this front, and it
appears that there may be some code soon. Talk of a OpenNMS
* Solaris Port -- Fred's been tied up with work stuff. He too is
waiting for 0.8.0.
* NT/2K Port -- Need someone to build the new ICMPD stuff for Win32.
* SNMP Poller/Data Collection -- Anybody got a good, authoritative
list of sysObjectIds to the devices they are assigned to?
* User Interfaces -- Larry, Jason, and Jacinta officially rock!
0.8.0 will make you wet yourself. Twice.
* New Pollers/Plug-Ins -- Port-level checks are in for MS SQL,
Sybase, Informix, and MySQL. This is in addition to Oracle and
Postgres. And not to be overlooked, there are new protocol-level
pollers for IMAP and POP3. Woo-hoo!
* Agent Technologies -- Win32 or Linux agent hacks out there
interested in helping? We're considering co-opting the NetSaint
* SNMPv2 Support -- Discussions started this week. After a local
pow-wow, we've got some reasonable ideas for how this will work,
and how we can leverage the almighty GETBULK.
* Bug Fixing, RTC-Style -- The mechanism for sharing data between
RTC and Tomcat has changed in CVS. If you are seeing strange
results, please open a bug in Bugzilla.
* JSDT Replacement -- Starting to review potential alternatives to
JSDT, should the need arise. Anybody have any experience with
* DEB Building -- No word from Stefan. Craig - are you still
* JoeSNMP -- We're now at 0.2.6.
* Building from CVS -- To make things easier on you, try building to
RPM -- ./build.sh rpm -- this is Ben's new tweak.
Upcoming Road Shows
If you've seen a recent road show, remember that you can download the
presentations from the web site. Go to the Downloads section and you
* July 25 - O'Reilly Open Source Convention, San Diego, CA
* August 28-30 - Linux World Expo, San Francisco, CA
* October 31-November 1 - Linux World Expo, Frankfurt, Germany
(Technical presentation on 10/31 and a tutorial on 11/1 -- they're
gettin' their moneys' worth this time around!)
For additional details on these appearances and others, check out the
web site at http://www.opennms.org/sections/opennms/events
Early Adopter Program Status - Courtesy Jeff Schneider
We're no longer waiting on 0.7.6. Now we are waiting on 0.8.0.
Nothing else to report. Over.
The Wish List
And now, on with the list...
* Our new ICMPD needs to be compiled for Win32. Got an appropriate
environment that you can help?
* In the 0.7.5 release (and CVS), checkout the TODO file
* Want to build some bridges between NetSaint and OpenNMS?
* Documentation and development your game? How about a white paper
on how to extend OpenNMS with custom pollers, custom configs,
and/or your own scripts/code.
* Any additional help we can get proving our documentation either
right or wrong is appreciated. Thanks.
* Got any creative applications for OpenNMS that we haven't
considered? Let us know!
* A Security analysis of OpenNMS?
* Got an environment that could stress test OpenNMS, from a
scalability perspective? We'd love the feedback!
Methinks I'm going to have put Sharp's new Zaurus Linux-based PDA atop
my Christmas list. That, or that Engelhardt Swingmaster stand-up bass
that keeps taunting me on eBay...
Seth really is a gargoyle. Really.
Go see "Memento". Great movie.
My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R.
And I have GOT to get some sleep...Ciao!