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Priorities straight for Bay

The company seeks to simplify how network managers allocate bandwidth and prioritize application traffic across their layouts.

Bay Networks will hop on a rapidly emerging management software trend next week in a series of upcoming moves that seek to make it easier for network managers to allocate bandwidth and prioritize application traffic across their layouts.

The rollout will include elements of Bay's Optivity suite of network management applications, the company's recently acquired NetID address management tools, and blanket support across Bay devices.

How does policy-based management software work? Rather than focusing on particular devices or components, this new wave of network administration looks at user, group, and application performance based on the current state of a layout and a set of rules defined by a network manager. For example, an administrator could prioritize traffic from SAP's business software package over email streams.

Cisco Systems and 3Com are among several networking hardware companies tailoring future management software releases for these functions.

This follows the announcement in May of Bay's overarching strategy for network and policy management. In the aftermath of Bay's proposed merger with Northern Telecom, company executives said a likely scenario would see Optivity management tools tied to Nortel's wide area and voice-based administration software.

The phased rollout of software will focus on three areas: policy provisioning, service level enforcement, and performance verification.

Bay's plans include the shipment of Optivity Service Level Manager in about two weeks; an Optivity Policy 1.0 user interface, due in the first quarter of next year; and version 9.0 of the Optivity Network Management System, which is scheduled for delivery by the end of the year, according to company executives.

Subsequent phases, to be rolled out through the end of next year, will add more functions to existing tools, allowing Bay slice up network traffic in a variety of ways and tie internal local network policies to wider initiatives already in place on more intelligent ATM-based (asynchronous transfer mode) links.