"It's a logistical headache," said Brendan Reidy, CEO of Clarus Systems, which makes automated VoIP testing and reporting systems designed for network integrators and enterprises.
Clarus' software, ClarusIPC, certifies the implementation and ensures ongoing operation of IP networks by testing the functional performance and validating the design of each phone on the network.
Essentially, Reidy said, Clarus' system tests and debugs a VoIP system during installation and after.
And this month, Clarus announced that its software received the "Ready for IBM Tivoli" software technical validation mark, meaning the software was tested and verified by IBM to be compatible with its Tivoli software. On the heels of that validation, Clarus also announced that ClarusIPC is available for use in the IBM Tivoli Open Process Automation Library (OPAL) and that the company has joined the IBM PartnerWorld program.
Reidy said that the Clarus VoIP system health check can be scheduled across a global network. During testing, the software sends two-way traffic over a conference bridge to ensure that it's working properly. The software also performs nightly checks which verify that the entire phone system is working by sending traffic over the phone lines.
"If voice is mission-critical, you need to know there is a problem," Reidy said. "It helps you solve problems before your users even know about it."
For example, a number of employees could show up at a branch office on a Monday morning and find none of the phones have dial tone, and headquarters could be completely unaware. With ClarusIPC, managers can check the log, see what the nightly test uncovered, and work on righting the problem.
The automated testing system can save an enormous amount of time over manual testing, according to Reidy. He said that Clarus used a stopwatch to time manual testing and it took roughly 90 minutes per phone. Running ClarusIPC, the entire series of tests was performed on every phone within minutes.
Typically, Clarus is used by financial services, government and education – the usual early adopters that have discovered that they were using old tools to monitor new technology.
Coupling Clarus with Tivoli management, Reidy said, gives network managers a view into every aspect of the network. It is available in two versions: ClarusIPC Operations for enterprises and ClarusIPC Certification for systems integrators and managed service providers.
"Typically, network management systems don't do anything specifically for voice," Reidy said. "Now, any problems with the voice system are reflected through Tivoli."