Linux Today: Linux News On Internet Time.

OpenNMS Update v2.27

Jul 04, 2001, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
   OpenNMS Update
  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

Project Status

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
     know it!

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
       service-intensive industry

     * 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
     marketplace today.

     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
       software companies.

     * 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
       extent possible.

     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
     business model.

     Q: Where can I find out more information about Oculan?
     A: http://www.oculan.com/

     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
     Adopter Program.

     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 shaneo@opennms.org

Benchmarking Results:

     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
       agent. Thoughts?

     * 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
   can't miss.

     * 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!


Shane O.
Shane O'Donnell

Related Stories: