Tech Industry

Cabletron launches Spectrum 5.0

Hoping to quell a recent litany of bad news, the company is using one of its strengths--network management software--to show progress.

Hoping to quell the litany of unfavorable news that has hit the firm, Cabletron Systems (CS) is using one of its strengths--network management software--to show evidence of progress.

The company released a new version of Spectrum, a suite of management tools for administration of systems, networks, and applications. The launch is the first step in what should be a busy period for Cabletron as it attempts to right the ship under the guidance of cofounder Craig Benson.

The thrust of the 5.0 version of Spectrum combines service-level management with an increased focus on ease of use. Applications that govern service levels essentially correlate data from a number of sources to provide a manager with a view into how network-based services are running on a network.

The company has been criticized in the past for the manner in which the application suite provides information to users. That has changed with the update, according to Cabletron executives.

Cabletron's own enhancements have been combined with a number of third party applications, including new integration with clearVISN device management software from the Digital Network Products Group unit of Cabletron, formerly part of Digital Equipment.

Other portions of Cabletron's push into a service-level style approach to management will come from third party companies like Intelligent Communication Software GmbH, Gecko Software, and Concord Communications.

Application support for Spectrum 5.0 also includes BMC Software and Metrix.

News of the management software update comes amid concerns about the company's future in the aftermath of the abrupt resignation of former CEO Don Reed.

Spectrum has long been thought of as one of Cabletron's strengths, leading some to believe that the unit might be separated from the hardware side of the firm. A Cabletron spokeswoman sought to end that speculation on Friday, noting the product focus of today's announcement.

The firm also announced a series of applications designed to manage networks with a variety of types of switches. The first of these, Spectrum ATM Services Manager, will include features such as bandwidth allocation, a process service providers may find attractive.

The initial product is due in late May, when Spectrum 5.0 will ship. Applications targeting virtual LANs (local area networks) and remote access equipment are due in the third quarter and by the end of the year, respectively.

Spectrum's alarm and configuration manager applications have been enhanced to make the tools easier to use. Also, a new Java-based modeling system will be added to the suite.