Cisco and IBM collaborate to fine tune products

The Cisco-IBM alliance is beginning to bear fruit.

In fact, both companies claim it now means greater reliability for IP traffic rates in networks that have IBM mainframes attached to Cisco routers.

Members of the Cisco InterWorks Business Division (IBD) and IBM S/390 unit have stated they intend to let users expand their e-business traffic without fear of overloading the network. The companies claim they have optimized some of their products to add further support to enforce Quality of Service for different types of network traffic.

For starters, Cisco routers will now be able to recognise priority traffic packets coming from IBM mainframes and ensure they get access to requisite network bandwidth. This way, a user executing a key business transaction will be sure his session is prioritised over another user who might just be Web surfing. Previously, the Cisco routers were unable to detect an S/390 generated priority traffic header.

Additionally, the alliance will exploit Cisco's recent multi-node load-balancing feature. This technology, built into the IOS operating system in Cisco routers, will be able to work with a cluster of IBM mainframes and automatically detect which ones are the most available to handle network traffic.

In case of a sudden boom in traffic, the network will automatically respond by routing packets to the most appropriate servers.

The alliance between Cisco and IBM, struck last summer, will be far reaching, claim executives from both companies. It will include doing tests at individual company networks to optimize the IBM-Cisco gear. "Every network has a different profile and our people are working in labs trying to determine the optimum way they can be designed," says Selby Wellman, head of Cisco's IBD unit.

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