SolarWinds has launched the latest version of its network change and configuration manager.

Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM) v5, formerly known as Cirrus Configuration Manager, will help network engineers make direct correlations between configuration changes and network events - according to US industry consultancy Enterprise Management Associates, about 70 percent of applications problems and network downtime are caused by these changes.

It's not just about the name change said Kenny Van Zant, chief product strategist for SolarWinds. "By bringing Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM) into the same family as the Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM), the products are better aligned," he said. "The brand change illustrates that while these solutions can stand on their own, they are also designed to work together seamlessly."

As well as the integration with NCM, he said that the new version offered users a variety of new features including a point-and-click web interface that enables users to visualise enterprise-wide configuration health status, including device details, configuration backups, policy violations, and event history; a global configuration search that locates specific text in any of the configuration files; and a network discovery feature that quickly scans the entire network and automatically imports the devices into the Orion NCM database.

In addition, Van Zant said that the product's multi-vendor device support extends to several new devices including Riverbed Steelhead, Cisco VPN Concentrators, 3Com, and Dell PowerConnect Switches. However, he added that the product could go even further. "We ship, out-of-the-box, with support for hundreds of types of devices from 16 vendors, but virtually any device can be added by creating a custom 'device template'."

Orion NCM also offers support for a variety of compliance standards such as HIPAA and SOX, even though network managers have traditionally not been responsible for an enterprise's compliance commitments. Van Zant believes that the two functions cannot be separated so easily: "Based on what we have heard from our customers, we absolutely believe that the integration of network and config management is important."

He added that the product would support multiple views: "A compliance officer can easily login and see only the compliance information they need, while a network engineer can see different views, including or excluding the compliance information."

SolarWinds claims to be the first vendor adopting the integrated approach to configuration and network management. Van Zant believes that there will be others following. "We think that we will see more vendors moving to the integrated approach We heard from our customers that this integration would greatly improve their ability to identify network issues and react quickly, and we worked hard to deliver it.

European users will pay from 2,475 euros (£2,000) which includes the first year of maintenance.