Oculan is expanding its network management product to include non-Microsoft platforms and a range of Microsoft server software.

Version 5.0 of Oculan's 100 and 250 (targeted at 1,000 seats or fewer businesses) add support for Exchange 2003 and 2000, Active Directory, Terminal Services and SQL Server 2002. Support for SQL Server 7.0 is in final testing and is expected to ship with the new Oculan appliances.

Also supported via the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is Linux, Novell and IBM's iSeries. Both the Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms are managed through one interface.

"The biggest addition is the non-Microsoft awareness," says Jim Lyon, IT analyst for Integrits, a service provider in San Diego. "Now we can go and detect non-Microsoft workstations and collect true SNMP traps from the enterprise." Lyon says he researched management tools from Microsoft, namely Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and System Management Server, but that they were too costly for his smaller company. They also don't support non-Microsoft platforms.

Microsoft has recognised that cost is a major issue and earlier this year announced MOM Express, which is aimed at smaller customers with less-sophisticated management needs. "Microsoft is taking the message out there that users need management, but they've missed ease of use, ease of deployment," says Shane O'Donnell, Oculan's CTO.

The Oculan 100 and 250 are plug-and-play appliances that combine network, systems and desktop management with intrusion detection, vulnerability assessment, asset management and bandwidth analysis. They also supply network performance reports along with notifications and alerts of suspect events. Two new features, an Executive View and a Network Report Card, provide data on network security and performance.

Oculan supports the additional Microsoft platforms using Microsoft's Windows Management Instrumentation, an API that lets systems and network devices be configured and managed.

The Oculan 100 costs about $5,000 (£2,825) and supports up to 10 servers, 10 infrastructure devices and 100 desktops. The 250 costs about $10,000 (£5,650) and supports up to 25 servers, 25 infrastructure devices and 250 desktops.

27 May update
Oculan has shut up shop, with immediate effect. There is no announcement on the company's website and it has said only that it has run of funding - suggesting that a major investor has pulled out.