Cabletron Systems' Spectrum business unit has licensed directory technology from the Sun-Netscape Alliance and will bundle it with Spectrum policy-based management software.
Cabletron is licensing the Alliance's iPlanet Directory Server and will integrate it with Spectrum Policy Aware, a policy management solution for network switches and routers. Spectrum plans to go into beta testing later this year and ship its first products early next year. Initially, the policy-based networking products will run with Cabletron's SmartSwitch routers and switches but eventually the product will encompass multi-vendor environments, including products from Cisco, Lucent, and Nortel, according to Spectrum officials.
Policy-based networking has yet to take off in the enterprise mainly because of its complexity and the lack of mature standards such as the Directory Enabled Networking initiative being put together by the Distributed Management Task Force.
Spectrum is also licensing iPlanet's Certificate Management System for use with its SmartVPN products. The virtual private network (VPN) offerings are slated to ship in the first half of next year. The certificate management software runs on top of the directory.
The directory gives Spectrum a place to store data and make it available through a standard interface, the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Currently, Spectrum stores its data in its own proprietary server.
"We are positioned to take advantage of the directory for login and authentication and as a way to get to some dynamic data to support policies," said Patrick Kelly, director of product management at Spectrum. Kelly said the goal is to map users to policy profiles in order to control the use of network resources and provide quality of service for applications. The mappings are intended to stick to users with no regard for where on the network they log on or what IP address they are assigned.
Kelly said the directory will also support routing policies for network hardware.
By licensing the technology from the Alliance, Spectrum gains a cross-platform story since the iPlanet Directory runs on seven platforms. Cabletron competitor Nortel licensed the same directory for their policy-based networking framework last year.