News Release

Cisco Harnesses Internet to Deliver End-to-End Network Management

New Internet-Based Technology and Integrated Support Model Increase Availability, Performance and Security for Enterprise Networks
Sep 22, 1997

SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 22, 1997 - Cisco Systems, Inc., today announced Assured NetworkServices (ANS), its new network management initiative. The initiative combines the power of theInternet with access to Cisco's networking expertise to deliver enterprise-wide networkavailability, performance and security. ANS ties together all Cisco network managementapplications, online knowledge base and enterprise network infrastructure devices.

ANS uses the Internet to support managing enterprise networks in three areas: infrastructuremanagement, service level management and integrated service and support. In separateannouncements today, Cisco also launched new management products supporting this strategicdirection. (Editors' note: See "Cisco Simplifies Management of Scalable Campus Networks, CiscoGives Customers More Control over Network Costs.")

By tightly coupling products with access to Cisco's vast repository of networking expertise andknowledge, Cisco helps customers solve network management problems. This systems approach tomanagement gives users the benefit of Cisco's leadership in designing, deploying and operatinglarge-scale enterprise networks worldwide.

"The Internet is changing the enterprise network, making it permeable and encouragingbusinesses to creatively extend their electronic linkages with customers, partners, andsuppliers," said Jim Herman, vice president of Northeast Consulting Resources, Inc. of Boston,Mass. "These profound changes are also affecting network management. Just as it has been aleader in applying these concepts to its own business operations, Cisco is now extending itsleading Internet business practices to its enterprise network management vision and products."

Assured Network Services

The ANS initiative includes task-based applications, automated agents, Web-based electronicservices, best practices, and professional services to meet the network management needs ofenterprise customers.

Evolving Infrastructure Management Through Internet Technologies

Cisco currently offers robust infrastructure network management products providing completemultidevice end-to-end management. These products include CiscoWorks, CiscoWorks for SwitchedInternetworks (CWSI), Cisco Enterprise Accounting (CEA), Cisco Netsys Service-Level ManagementSuite and Cisco Resource Manager (CRM). Under the ANS initiative, Cisco will evolve theseproducts and their respective functionality using Internet technologies. CRM and CWSI areCisco's first efforts at building ANS from the ground up with Internet technologies - ratherthan simply adding a Web interface to legacy products. Though Cisco has been deliveringWeb-based device management for over 12 months, the ANS initiative raises the bar forinfrastructure management by delivering Internet-based network management in the followingways:

  • Asynchronous delivery of new management functionality
  • Dynamic, contextual access to Cisco's networking knowledge base
  • Cross-platform manageability and
  • Standards-based integration

To provide the tight integration required for delivering assured network services, ANS offers acommon software foundation. This software foundation includes user interface, database, CiscoConnection Online (CCO) (Cisco's online support service for back-end services integration),agents for device integration and object-oriented interprocess communication technology forapplication integration. This software foundation will tightly integrate with Cisco's baselinemanageability requirements that span across all Cisco routers and switches.

Cisco is making ease-of-use for all ANS infrastructure management applications a priority. Anadvanced task-based management paradigm simplifies infrastructure management by organizingmanagement activities into step-by-step, wizard-assisted tasks that closely map to routineinfrastructure management processes users must perform, such as software image management anddistribution. By delivering products on the Windows NT platform, ANS will further reduce theoverall complexity typically associated with traditional network management systems.

Products and services in ANS are based on network management and Internet standards, includingSNMP, RMON, Java, CORBA, and HTTP/HTML. The next-generation products also leveragemanageability features embedded in Cisco IOS(TM) software. Cisco will continue to play aleading role in the development of standards such as those proposed by the WBEM initiative andCIM. ANS applications will support a "standalone/stand-alongside" position relative tomanagement platforms offered by Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Tivoli and ComputerAssociates. ANS will exploit the many synergies where a platform exists, though users withouta platform will realize full functionality as well.

Delivering Knowledge to the Desktop Through Integrated Service and Support

Cisco has embedded transparent access to a vast networking knowledge base via the Web into thenetwork management process. Through hotlinks to CCO, Cisco delivers full-featured evaluationcopies, full production code and feature enhancements allowing customers to try newapplications quickly and easily while reducing ordering and delivery delays.

ANS will utilize push-and-pull technologies to bring customers closer to the information theyneed to efficiently manage their networks. This allows transparent links to CCO toautomatically provide software updates, patches and important data based on customized networkprofiles. Customers also benefit from the automation of best practices, which will leverageCisco's networking knowledge to provide guidance in designing, implementing and maintainingcomplex network environments.

Delivering Policy-Based Network and Service-Level Management Today

Customers will benefit from the strong integration of policy-based network management,service-level management and the integrated support critical to success. Embedded intelligencein switches, routers and network probes are important sources of information for Ciscopolicy-based management products. These higher-level applications provide managers withcross-platform, application-layer views of network traffic and allow managers to define andimplement service-level agreements.

Cisco has delivered real policy-based solutions for several months. The Cisco Netsys Service-Level ManagementSuite provides the ability to monitor if networks conform to theirdefined policies and indicates corrective action for failure to meet the required policies. Thenew CWSI, Version 2.1VLAN authentication facilities exemplify policy-based management byoffering campus mobility. User verification, location authentication and tracking, and qualityof network services are provided in CWSI to assist customers in administering their dynamicnetworks. CEA for NetFlow delivers end-to-end accounting and auditing solutions helpingorganizations control and decrease the cost of their networks.

Network management products under the ANS initiative will continue to exhibit a blending ofcurrent and future product features through the common management foundation. Through thisdelivery model Cisco offers end-to-end management solutions that simplify network managementtasks and improve usability issues.

"Success today is defined by a globally networked business model and Cisco is best prepared tooffer world-class online service and support, end-to-end infrastructure management across allenterprise devices and sophisticated service-level management tools," said Stephen DeWitt,general manager and vice president of network management for Cisco Systems. "We are deliveringa new management initiative that takes advantage of today's Internet technologies and Cisco'swealth of networking expertise. These next-generation enterprise network management productswill meet the challenges that traditional solutions simply cannot address."