Compaq debuts network management software

Continuing its quest to become a leader in the internetworking market, Compaq Computer Corp. today announced new Netelligent networking products and a closer relationship with Cisco Systems Inc. The new products will be available on the General Services Administration schedule in August.

Earlier this year, Compaq announced a new internetworking product and pricing strategy, a move that followed the company's acquisition last year of Thomas-Conrad Corp. and NetWorth Inc. The rollout included Netelligent repeaters and switches, routers and other products.

Netelligent Software

In its announcement today, Compaq addresses network management with Netelligent Management Software, Version 1.0. The new software is an SNMP-based network management application that supports all manageable Netelligent repeater and switch products on a network.

"To see Compaq going into the [networking] market with products and partners in a big way is significant for federal users," said Steve LeCompte, vice president of IDC Government Market Services. Networking and Internet access is important to federal users, and Compaq and Cisco already have strong reputations in the government, he said.

Rather than go head-to-head in the government with the big networking vendors, including Bay Networks Inc. and 3Com Corp., on products, "I would think that Compaq would want to leverage its strength" in PCs and servers, LeCompte said.

Netelligent Management Software complements Compaq's existing Insight Manager software, which manages PCs, servers and some networking products, according to Ed Reynolds, director of product marketing at Compaq's Networking Products Division.

When used with Compaq Insight Manager, Netelligent "provides management of the whole entire client/server network from one console," Reynolds said. "The user-friendliness is the first benefit, integration with Insight Manager is the second benefit, and it's [now] included free in every management product we sell."

Lower-end network management software, like what Compaq is offering, is easy for agencies to buy off the shelf rather than through a large contract. However, this presents a risk for agencies if they have not established a clear network architecture that incorporates low-end products, said Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp.

"Any management product will have to play into the architecture," Nolle said. "Low-end buyers of network products have different expectations than buyers of high-end products, so [the different products] may not work together." Agencies need to establish a policy that will take this into consideration, he said.

Compaq also announced that its Netelligent 2000 10Base-T stackable repeaters can now be managed on a network without a dedicated SNMP console.

Additionally, firmware upgrades to the 2008/2016 10-Base-T stackable repeater provide telnet capabilities for repeater management via a VT100 interface, while a new 2116 10Base-T repeater supports the industry standard 4-group remote monitoring (RMON). "Now users can hook it into a stack, and it will do RMON for the rest of the segment," Reynolds said.

Other announcements include the addition of Virtual LAN capability and 100Base-FX connectivity to the Netelligent 5000 10/100 switches in addition to Netelligent 10Base-T and 10Base-2 ISA network interface controllers that support full duplex capability, allowing two-way transmission between nodes and providing increased bandwidth of up to 20 megabits.

New Ties With Cisco

Meanwhile, Compaq and Cisco have expanded their relationship on the sales and marketing side.

The multiple-year, worldwide agreement will focus on developing the market for industry-standard networking platforms using Cisco IOS software technology.

The two companies said last year that they would begin joint development of a new routing platform dedicated to routing Cisco IOS software technology. That product is now in beta testing and will be out before the end of the year.

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