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Cisco untangles access policies

The networking giant readies tools that give administrators a uniform way to set policies for accessing networked applications.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) plans to offer a uniform way for administrators to set policies for accessing applications that run across a network.

The company will ship the first components of a Netsys Service Level Management (NSM) Suite next month in a bid to rein in the ad hoc manner in which users access networked applications. The suite, which has four modules, represents the first integration of Netsys Technologies software products into the Cisco product line since Cisco finalized the purchase of the network management firm in November of last year.

The four modules in the suite--the Connectivity Service Manager, Performance Service Manager, LAN Service Manager, and WAN Service Manager--allow a network administrator to set up service-level policies on a network that can enforce types of traffic, optimize performance and security, and maintain connections between users and hosts.

Cisco's purchase of Netsys Technologies filled a hole in Cisco's line of network management products. Industry observers said the router and switching kingpin's primary weakness is in the network management software arena, where it has not developed an overarching platform similar to Cabletron Systems' Spectrum.

The Connectivity Service Manager, Performance Service Manager, and LAN Service Manager will be available next month for Cisco's family of routers and Catalyst 5000 LAN switches. The WAN Service Manager module will be available later this year for Cisco's line of StrataCom WAN switches.

The NSM suite integrates with the CiscoWorks network management software, CiscoWorks for Switched Internets, StrataView Plus, NetFlow Collector, and all RMON (remote monitoring) agent network management products.

The Connectivity Service Manager and Performance Service Manager are priced at $7,500 each for a 50-router network. The LAN Service Manager costs $5,000 per management console.