SAN JOSE, Calif. -- March 10, 1998 -- Cisco Systems, Inc. today introduced its CiscoAssure Policy Networking initiative, which harnesses both existing and future intelligence across the enterprise by linking Cisco IOS(TM) software features to networked applications. CiscoAssure will allow network managers to map business requirements to networking policies that secure access to network resources, quality of service (QoS) and overall network performance.
"Cisco is demonstrating a comprehensive policy vision to solve the real management issues facing organizations. The transition from managing devices to managing services is a challenge and a solid policy infrastructure is essential," said John McConnell, president of McConnell Consulting, Inc. "Cisco's ability to partner with leading companies in the area of directory-enabled networking and systems management puts them in a unique position and should resonate throughout the industry."
As the need to dynamically support user mobility and new classes of applications grows, proactive, automated network control systems become crucial; especially those that allow policies to span all network layers.
"With CiscoAssure Policy Networking, network managers can enforce end-to-end performance guarantees to applications, individual users and groups," said Jayshree Ullal, vice president of marketing for Cisco's Enterprise Line of Business. "This is a revolutionary step toward automating and empowering network managers with policy control."
The first stages of CiscoAssure Policy Networking already exist in Cisco IOS software and will continue to be implemented in a range of products to be delivered over the next 18 months. These features offer a broad scope of benefits to network managers, including the ability to identify and differentiate network traffic based on application type, centrally automated network policies and enterprise-wide registration and distribution of policies for security, QoS and multiservice (voice, video and data).
Protecting mission-critical traffic (for example, Oracle, SAP, BAAN, PeopleSoft, etc.) is paramount due to the increase in routine traffic. Network managers currently use static policy-setting capabilities through network services embedded in Cisco IOS software on Cisco routers, access servers, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches and the Catalyst(R) 5000 family of multilayer switches. Through Cisco's new Context-Based Access Control (CBAC) technology, the network dynamically recognizes applications permitting policy enforcement that differentiates classes of traffic. CBAC is currently available on Cisco's low-end routers and will be extended throughout the enterprise product line.
Centrally Automated Policies
CiscoAssure automates the process of translating business requirements into network configuration, previously performed manually by the network manager, device-by-device. Present QoS and security mechanisms in Cisco IOS software provide the ability to control and enforce policy. CiscoAssure will provide a new graphical user interface (GUI) that activates these mechanisms and simplifies policy administration. Cisco is driving standards-based technologies facilitating policy activation from application to network devices through protocols such as Common Open Policy Service (COPS), TACACS+ and RADIUS.
Enterprise-wide Registration and Distribution of Policies
In order to provide consistent services across the enterprise, CiscoAssure offerings will include DNS/DHCP registry services, and will use standard Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)-compatible directory services to replicate and coordinate policies and naming/addressing. This will allow assignment of policies by application profile, user group, role or personal name. Cisco is working with Microsoft to bring the industry an open, standards-based Directory Enabled Networks (DEN) initiative which allows the sharing of policy information among networks with DEN-compatible directory services. Cisco and Microsoft's development of extensions to Active Directory technology, through their broad relationship, will provide scaleable replication and synchronization of enterprise-wide policy.
With this vast range of functionality, network managers are now empowered to build high-performance networks that have application-aware intelligence throughout the network.
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