Cabletron Spectrum Gains Web Interface

Cabletron Systems Inc. and Metrix this week unveiled a Web-based interface for Cabletron's Spectrum network management software that will let net managers diagnose and fix networks from any location.

The companies say the new interface provides access to the functions of a traditional Spectrum console, which lets managers access Spectrum servers across a network. However, whereas the previous version runs only on Solaris and Windows NT machines, the companies now have extended the interface to any computer that can run a Web browser.

Investment bank Jefferies & Co. plans to use the Web interface for its flexibility. "If one of our technicians is out on the trading floor and needs to see something on the network, he can just walk up to one of our PCs," says Dan Speers, senior network engineer at the Los Angeles firm.

It's also less expensive to deploy the Web interface than it is to use standard Spectrum clients, Speers says. The new console software, which runs alongside the Spectrum server, costs about the same as one Spectrum client. However, a company would have to buy multiple Web clients to access the network management server from different places in a network, Speers points out.

The Web interface has the functions of the basic client software -- that is, it can provide views of network topology, manage alarms and events, and perform other tasks. But the interface won't let managers access other applications that are launched from the regular client software, acknowledges Chris Crowell, director of Spectrum core engineering at Cabletron. These restricted applications include Management Information Base tools, autodiscovery tools and detailed information screens on devices.

Metrix, based in Sophia Antipolis, France, has had a close relationship with Cabletron for several years. Metrix's WinWatch software collects statistics from Windows NT systems and feeds that information to Spectrum.

Cabletron will ship the Web interface next month for an introductory price of US$7,200. After Jan. 31, 1999, the interface will cost $9,800.

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