Check out the new USENIX Web site.

Bridging the Technology Generation Gap:
Upgrading a Network Management Application to a New Technology Base

Jay S. Lark

Teknekron Communication Systems, Inc.


NMCS is a network management system which has been developed to manage dedicated fractional-T1 networks, allowing end-users such as banks and government agencies the ability to dynamically manage the allocation of their dedicated communication facilities. The first version of NMCS was delivered on a PC platform; it was a successful product but could not adapt to meet new customer demands.

NMCS II is a significant upgrade to the first NMCS product. In addition to extending its functional capabilities, NMCS II is built on a different technology base from its predecessor: the hardware and operating system, application architecture, user interface, and database have all been upgraded to a new technology generation. It is the most sophisticated application of its kind in commercial deployment.

NMCS II is now installed and operational at several customer sites throughout Canada. While the product has passed its formal acceptance, a number of acceptability issues were present in its initial release. Many of these issues derive from the changes to the technology base, which we call the "technology generation gap."

This paper describes the NMCS II system at a high-level, and lists the technology generations which changed in moving to NMCS II. It then examines several of the acceptability issues which were raised by customers, how these issues relate to the technology generation gap, and how they are being addressed going forward. The paper concludes with a discussion of lessons learned, in order to help others avoid falling into the "gap" in the future.

Download the full text of this paper, in ASCII (35,273 bytes) or POSTSCRIPT (97097 bytes) form.

To Become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.