Grass Valley Group Bolsters Netcentral Software For Remote Monitoring, Diagnosis

NetCentral II adds Internet access, predictive failure analysis; creates plug-in framework to monitor next-generation Grass Valley Group products

Continuing to help broadcasters and other high-quality content providers streamline their facilities management and boost their preventive maintenance efforts, the Grass Valley Group today announced the comprehensive expansion of its widely successful NetCentral™ software for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-based remote monitoring and diagnosis. With a feature set that includes Internet access, schedule-based notification, and predictive-failure analysis, the application is an all-new design that allows device types to be supported as plug-ins to a common NetCentral application framework. The Grass Valley Group plans to extend that support to its next-generation servers, vision mixers, routers, and modular gear.

With more than $1 million in sales in the last year, the popular NetCentral application continually monitors the health and status of SNMP-compliant devices to identify potential problems. It can easily warn users via e-mail, pager, cell phone, or graphical user interface when equipment conditions change—such as an over-temperature condition that might indicate a fan or air conditioning failure—to reduce the time between the incidence of a problem and its resolution. And the NetCentral software can track devices on a network of any size and scope, streamlining facilities maintenance and management costs.

“NetCentral represents one of the great payoffs of going digital—the ability to automatically monitor the health of your infrastructure, spot minor anomalies before they become major problems, and electronically notify as many people as necessary,” said Tim Thorsteinson, president of the Grass Valley Group. “It’s emblematic of the open, standards-based approach we’re taking across all of our product lines to promote robust facility integration.”

Today’s announcement is a component of the Grass Valley Group’s overarching media infrastructure solution, which provides the hardware and software “spine” for applications and distribution media ranging from digital media production and transmission to digital presentation and the Internet. To be showcased at NAB 2001 in Las Vegas (Stand no L10409/P), this powerful set of hardware and software products is part of the company’s Media Without Bounds™ initiative for enabling Digicasters to get any content, any time, any place. The Grass Valley Group’s media infrastructure technologies address these concerns by offering the routing, signal and format conversion, SNMP-based remote monitoring and diagnostics, asset and applications management, and shared and distributed storage options required to meet the complex needs of Digicasters and their facilities.



Two significant features lead the list of enhancements to the NetCentral II application: Internet access and predictive failure analysis. Using a standard Web browser and an Internet connection, users can remotely access the NetCentral application to check status and configuration information from anywhere in the world.

The NetCentral II software can also notify a technician or operator when a component, such as a disk array, is likely to fail. This predictive failure analysis capability lets broadcasters and other content creators replace components before a failure ever occurs, increasing the reliability of their facilities and greatly reducing the possibility of unexpected downtime.

The NetCentral II application also includes enhanced rule-based error detection and response capabilities. For example, users can set specific conditions under which the software will notify them of a system- or component-related issue. The application also provides new, multi-action response mechanisms, dubbed “action providers,” to execute one or more tasks based on a given error or warning condition. For example, in the event of a non-critical error, NetCentral II could be configured to play a workstation-based audio file and send an e-mail alert; in the event of a component failure, it could be configured to ring a technician’s pager.

Finally, the NetCentral II software offers integrated configuration tool support. Users can launch external configuration applications from within its user interface, such as the Profile® configuration manager and 8900 Series modular configuration tool. This flexibility lets organisations integrate a variety of configuration tools into the NetCentral interface at those locations where such access is appropriate.

In addition to the Profile XP Media Platform and the Grass Valley™ 8900 Series and 2000 Series of modular products, the NetCentral II application is designed to support plug-ins for the newly announced Concerto™ Series, Tempo™ Series, and Bravo™ Series of analogue and digital routers as well as the Grass Valley Encore™ scalable facility control system. SNMP support in these products will be available commensurate with their introductions. The Grass Valley Group also plans to extend NetCentral software support to its Kalypso™ Video Production Centre family.



The core NetCentral II application is priced at $2,000 (US only). Prices for its supporting plug-ins vary. Upgrades will be made available to existing NetCentral users. NetCentral II is scheduled to be available in March 2001.

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