New management software from Cisco Systems Inc. is designed to let users more easily administer QoS policies across large-scale networks.
QoS Policy Manager (QPM) 2.0, which was introduced last week, features improved service-level control for converged voice, video and data networks over QPM 1.1 and supports a broader range of Cisco devices and software, Cisco says. The software runs on Windows- and Unix-based servers, and features a graphical user interface for defining and administering QoS policies.
The software lets users establish priority queuing for traffic. Delay-sensitive traffic such as video and voice can be queued ahead of less sensitive traffic, such as e-mail and text messages.
QPM 2.0 also has enhanced reliability features, such as the ability to detect device configuration changes, and the ability to label and group devices, interfaces and virtual LANs. Network administrators can roll back new policies to previous policies and redeploy them in a network if the new policies are inadequate.
Another new security feature lets users selectively block packets on a per-port basis. The software now supports more than 20 Cisco devices.
"It's mainly to manage all the different queuing that we used to code manually," says Quan Nguyen, manager of networking at McGill University in Montreal. "It also supports the Catalyst 6500 [switch], which is fairly difficult to configure by hand. QPM does a good job to abstract the syntax [of different command languages] from the quality-of-service model."
QPM 2.0 includes a range of features specifically for voice over IP. These include low latency queuing, IP real-time transport protocol priority, traffic shaping and header compression. QPM 2.0 lets customers define and deploy QoS policies that deliver priority services for real-time traffic generated by voice gateways, IP phones and video, according to Cisco. The product also enables differentiated services for traffic originating from call manager servers, telephony application servers and video servers.
Users can use QPM 2.0 in combination with Cisco's CiscoWorks Service Management Solution (SMS) to monitor service levels according to policy. QPM 2.0 can classify network-edge traffic into various service levels and provision end-to-end service levels on network routers and switches. SMS can then monitor those service levels defined by QPM 2.0, Cisco says.
QPM 2.0 is available now for US$10,000.