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Cabletron looks to Web

Cabletron joins the Web-based management frenzy, turning its Spectrum network management platform into a Web- and Windows-based hybrid.

Dreams of a Web-based management world for networks may be on the distant horizon. Very distant.

In the meantime, the industry is delivering Web-based point products within a network management suite, often in the form of tools that can offer an administrator a set of reports, problem recommendations, or alarms through a Web interface.

Cabletron Systems (CS) is the latest network management software player to join the Web-based management frenzy, offering short-term solutions and a long-term strategy that will turn its Spectrum network management platform into a Web- and Windows-based hybrid before a full Web implementation is realized.

Spectrum will also evolve into a component-based software platform for developers. Cabletron Systems will adopt CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) to provide third-party developers with a more flexible platform. Currently, developers are tied to the C++ programming language if they want to develop their applications for Spectrum. CORBA allows developers to use C, C++, or Java.

Included in the announcement are the following three products that will ship this year:

  • A Web-based version of SpectroRx, due to ship by the third quarter, a piece of software that can resolve or recommend solutions to problems on a network. Using a browser interface, SpectroRx can correct network problems from a remote location.

  • A Java-based Spectrum management module for devices based on high-speed ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) technology that will support any network switch or ATM device that includes the AToM management information base. The module goes into early beta this month.

  • A Java-based application for managing Cabletron's recently released SmartSwitch 6000 and 2200. The product will initially run as a standalone piece of software for those devices, but the architecture for the product will provide the basis for future Spectrum development, according to Cabletron. The product will ship later this year.

    "Our goal is to make it very consistent, very standard," said Chris Crowell, senior development manager for Spectrum. "In the initial rollouts, there will be two sets of interfaces for a while."

    Cabletron also articulated a Web-based management strategy that will take the company into 1998 with current Spectrum APIs (application programming interfaces) adopting CORBA. By the first quarter of next year, the company has pledged to roll out a network auto-discovery application for Spectrum.

    Two standards--the Java Management API and Web-Based Enterprise Management--have been floated by the industry, but little fruit has been seen since the initial statements of direction last year. Cabletron said it is likely support the protocols when they roll out.