Crisis Cuts Short N+I Show

The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington last week significantly diverted vendor and attendee attention away from the news and technology being presented at an abbreviated NetWorld+Interop (N+I) Atlanta 2001 conference.

Before the disaster, however, some companies unveiled new products which are aimed at answering growing customer concern about how best to maximize exhausted and ageing legacy resources to combat unstable market conditions.

In his debut as newly appointed CEO of Provo, Utah-based Novell Inc., Jack Messman made a trio of announcements at N+I. Among them, Messman announced the general availability of NetWare 6 and a partnership with Yahoo to use Novell’s eDirectory as the default directory server for Corporate Yahoo. Before last week’s deal, Yahoo employed iPlanet in the same capacity.

Other releases at N+I accentuating the search to leverage embedded network investments included the availability of TechTracker Desktop 2.0. According to officials of Portland, Ore.-based TechTracker, the product simplifies software version management – both from the desktop and remotely – to extend the life of currently running software. Also, WiredRed Software of San Diego presented its new e/pop Linux Server, which promises to extend instant messaging and real-time communication capabilities to enterprises using the Linux environment.

Extreme Networks Inc. unveiled a switch that is designed to enhance content networking performance by codifying routing logic in silicon, rather than with software.

The Summit Px1 combines a TCP/IP session with an engine with full packet analysis and policy management capabilities, company officials said. By eschewing the traditional software-based routing model, the new Summit Px1 switch offers significant speed gains over competing products at Levels 4-7, the officials said.

The company promises that the new device will enabler users to establish as many as 1 million URL rules that can be applied to handle 500,000 application-aware Layer 7 connections and 1.5 million Layer 4 connections. Moreover, the Px1 can support 120,000 connections per second – some 12 times more than products from companies including Cisco, Alteon, and Foundry, an Extreme Networks spokesperson said.

In the telecom space, giants AT&T and WorldCom each unfurled IP VPN announcements at the show, while carrier Sprint announced a new method for manipulating fibre resources.

AT&T released its IP VPN service with little fanfare Wednesday. WorldCom had planned to unveil a similar service Tuesday.

Both AT&T and WorldCom billed the new services as a way for enterprises to enact better traffic prioritization over VPNs.

Clinton, Miss.-based WorldCom’s Private IP Premium Policy service was designed to make traffic flow more predictable by allowing network managers to label applications such as video or voice transmissions “first-class,” and relegating e-mail and Web surfing to lower priorities.

Similarly AT&T Corp., in Basking Ridge, N.J., unveiled new service classes for its private IP VPNs. As is WorldCom’s offering, AT&T’s service is touted as a way to let network managers tag VOIP (voice over IP) and other applications to higher traffic-priority classes.

Both companies based the services on MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) technology, whereas WorldCom also said that its CoS (class of service) capability relies on an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard called DiffServ IP.

AT&T announced that it will bundle in it its recently introduced Managed Router Service for IPFR (IP-enabled Frame Relay).

Separately, Kansas City, Mo.-based Sprint Corp. had planned to use N+I to showcase its new DWS (Direct Wave Services), a method of transmitting data over different wavelengths of light within the same fibre.

Based on DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing) technology, DWS is said to support bandwidth-intense applications such as mainframe connections, while giving enterprises options to lease or install their own dark fibre.