New Cisco Catalyst Software Brings Unmatched Level of Management, Scalability to Enterprise LAN Switching
SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 29, 1994 -- A comprehensive suite of softwareoptions that bring an unprecedented level of management and monitoringfunctionality to switched internetwork environments has been introduced byCisco Systems.
The new Catalyst software offers monitoring and network controlcapabilities. For the first time in any LAN switch, network managers canmonitor traffic patterns and network utilization through the switch via anintegrated Remote Monitor (RMON) agent. A Switched Port Analyzer featureallows users to troubleshoot, tune and expand switched internetworks.
In addition, Multilayer Switching Services permit segmentation ofmultiple LANs on the Catalyst switch regardless of physical location,letting network managers control switched traffic within the workgroupwhile simultaneously deploying virtual networks into the corporation'sbackbone network.
Introduced inMarch 1994, Catalyst provides unlimited expansioncapability in multiples of eight switched Ethernet ports and an optionalhigh-speed 100-Mbps connection. The new Catalyst software is an enhancementto the CiscoFusion(TM)architecture for building intelligent switchedinternetworks, which extends multi-layer switching from the backbone toworkgroup networks.
New Analysis Tools Raise Network Managers' Visibility
Catalyst is the first LAN switch with an embedded RMON agent, avirtual, real-time proactive tool that monitors traffic concurrently forall LAN segments. The Catalyst RMON capability was co-developed by Ciscoand Frontier Software of Tewksbury, Mass., based on Frontier's advancedSuper RMON7 implementation. These features facilitate detailed analysis ofdata-link statistics, multilevel protocol decode of network packets, andanalysis of switched network traffic flow. Network managers can nowtroubleshoot or fine-tune their switched network segments by identifyingthe heaviest network users, failed adapter cards, overloaded segments,broadcast storms and other traits. Until now, these cababilities have beenunavailable in any LAN switch.
To collect and archive these data, Cisco offers an RMON ManagementConsole Software for Microsoft Windows, IBM RS/6000, HP OpenView and SunNetManager. Other standards-based RMON management consoles will also becompatible with the Catalyst monitoring software.
The Switched Port Analyzer enables an existing network analyzer tomonitor traffic on any of the Catalyst's switched Ethernet ports.Previously, network monitoring in switched Ethernet environments requiredthe use of multiple distributed network analyzers or an external repeater.These options are costly and/or cumbersome. The Switched Port Analyzersolves this problem by "mirroring" the traffic from various switched segmentsonto a predefined port through which the analyzer monitors the traffic.With just one analyzer, the network manager can gain visibility into up toeight LAN segments.
"In the past I've been concerned about losing my ability to monitor myworkgroup segments when implementing a switched architecture," said Arnoldde Leon, network manager from Synopsys,Inc. "With Catalyst's embeded RMONagent, I get not only superior network performance, I also get increasednetwork visibility allowing me to troubleshoot, tune and intelligentlyexpand my network."
Virtual Networking Services Deliver Workgroup Manageability"Network administrators in switched workgroup environments are seekingways to restrict certain data to specific users and to increase networkefficiency and scalability by minimizing unneeded transmissions," saidMichael Francini, Cisco product line manager. "A bank might want to giveonly certain people access to stock-trading information. Or a firm withmanufacturing data on one subnet and engineering data on another might belosing valuable bandwidth because both sets of traffic are broadcasteverywhere."
Catalyst addresses these issues with five Virtual Networking Services:
- Bridge groups, which permit network managers to create segmented switching domains by assigning ports to closed groups; traffic is switched between these groups, but not across them.
- Virtual IP service provides the same service as bridge groups for separately addressed IP workgroups, allowing communication across the workgroups.
- Access lists provide user-definable filters that let network managers control the kinds of traffic switched within and between workgroups. Access lists can be used on user addresses, protocols and user-defined options such as file or terminal traffic.
- IP multicast suppresses unnecessary broadcasts in a switched network, automatically learning which users require a specific service and forwarding IP multicast frames only to appropriate ports. This lets network managers deploy multimedia applications such as Internet talk radio, c-u-c me, and whiteboard without overwhelming all workgroups with unwanted multicast traffic.
- Broadcast suppression lets the network manager specify the number of broadcasts forwarded through the switch within a given timeframe, suppressing all broadcasts beyond that number. This allows him to limit the portion of network bandwidth used by system resources to advertise server resources or other network-oriented updates.
Pricing and Availability
Available in November, the new Catalyst software options are priced(U.S. list) as follows:
Integrated RMON agent & Switched Port Analyzer $2,995 Management Console Software -- for Microsoft Windows $3,500 -- for HP UNIX, Sun OS/Solaris, IBM UNIX $5,500 Multilayer Switching for Virtual Networking Services $2,995