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New tools ease Cisco IOS mgmt.

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Two companies last week introduced software aimed at helping users better manage and troubleshoot hardware that use Cisco's Internetwork Operating System, which runs most Cisco routers and switches.

Software from Intelliden could help users of high-end Cisco routers deploy and manage hardware more easily from a central location by sending routines of IOS commands to thousands of Cisco routers across a WAN. Another tool from Gambit Communications could be used to simulate a network of IOS-based gear in a virtual lab for testing applications on a network without affecting live equipment.

Intelliden, which launched last week out of Colorado Springs, introduced its R-Series products for managing large numbers of Cisco routers across enterprise or service provider networks. The software provides an XML- and Java-based element-manager application with IOS settings that can be configured once, then replicated on a mass scale to targeted machines. The software works with high-end Cisco devices, such as the 7200 router and Catalyst 6500 switch, and routers from Juniper Networks.

A tool such as Intelliden's could be useful in a large Cisco-based WAN, such as Citizens Banking, which operates 64 branches and is based in Flint, Mich.

"Something that can do template-style configuration would be good to have," says Chuck Wasson, the bank's vice president of technology. But he says tools that mass-configure equipment can be tricky to use in a diversely configured network.

"Not every router at ever branch does the same thing: Some offices don't have servers, while others do; some offices run [voice over IP] and some don't; some have [automatic teller] traffic and some don't. Any tool would have to be fairly flexible to accommodate for that," he says.

Mimic IOS Simulator from Gambit is a testing and training application that can be used to re-create a network with up to 10,000 Cisco IOS devices on a management or training workstation. From a Mimic IOS computer, a user can telnet or use network management software to access and configure virtual IOS devices on a test network. This could be used to test how certain IOS changes would affect a network before making changes on live equipment.

Gambit's Mimic IOS Simulator is available now starting at $1,200, and Intelliden's R-Series software is available for $10,000 for a 50-router network.

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Contact Senior Writer Phil Hochmuth

Other recent articles by Hochmuth


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