IBM to map out policy-based networks plan

IBM was to unveil its plans yesterday for policy-based enterprise management, a strategy that will encompass servers, applications, and networks to bring users predictable response times and reliable security.

The company's network hardware, research, software, and S/390 divisions, along with IBM's Tivoli Systems subsidiary, will develop a policy-management architecture controlled from the Tivoli system management console.

In an early phase of the program, to carry out policies on the network, IBM will integrate a Common Policy Engine into the routing software that runs its entire line of routers.

IBM will give its routers the capability to make policy decisions and to enforce those decisions, allowing for a simpler policy-based network architecture than those of competitors, according to IBM officials.

Distributing decision-making and policy enforcement will speed up these functions, officials said. Also, it will eliminate the need for multiple policy servers located throughout a network.

Cisco Systems and other major networking vendors are aggressively developing hardware and software that will let administrators define different network access and performance rules for particular users and applications.

IBM's plan for defining and enforcing these network policies will include policy management tools that work with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), a directory server that uses IBM's eNetwork LDAP Directory, and the router software.

Efficient algorithms in the IBM router software will be able to quickly classify traffic for particular types of treatment. The software also will be able to carry out virtual private network policies and prioritize traffic using an implementation of the upcoming Differentiated Services standard.

IBM's Nways Manager, a device management application, will be integrated into the Tivoli framework, according to IBM. In the future, Tivoli's Global Enterprise Manager will be able to manage network devices, policy servers, and applications.

The Common Policy Engine will be available in June as a free upgrade for users of the 2210 Nways Multiprotocol Router, the 2212 Access Utility, and the 2216 Nways MultiAccess Connector.

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