Sun and Cisco introduce service combo

Taking the cue from their respective customers, networking giant Cisco Systems and platform developer Sun Microsystems have joined hands to offer network management solutions.

Last month the two companies announced the Sun-Cisco Optimized Platform Recommendations (OPR) for network management applications, which offer high levels of service availability and swifter, simpler orderability so that IT managers no longer have to waste time researching and compiling long lists of part numbers across the two companies.

The Sun-Cisco OPR includes a set of Sun system configurations from the Netra and Sun Fire product families, with Sun Cluster 3.0 software designed to run the full suite of Cisco network management applications.

Simply put, the companies said their combined efforts will enable them to meet the common goal of making it easier for customers to deploy a highly available operational support system (OSS) architecture including network directory and security services.

“Our customers were interested in us providing optimized solutions that made it much easier for them to integrate these solutions into their offerings and into their network environments,” said Joan Genn, Sun’s Cisco client executive in Pleasenton, Calif. “It is a perfect marriage between the two companies because Cisco offers network solutions and Sun offers the high-availability platforms that these run on. Customers are looking for the vendors and the solutions providers to get together to provide virtual solutions that make it easier for them and more cost effective for them to integrate and provide high-availability in their networks.”

According to Cisco, the alliance is addressed at leveraging the core competencies that both Cisco and Sun bring to the table.

“In terms of the benefits, the first one is a higher availability solution,” said Steve Steinhilber, vice-president of strategic alliances for Cisco in San Jose. “We have done some joint developing to allow our platforms to work together more effectively and be able to enable [customer] applications with the five nines of reliability. We also believe it offers customers a more cost effective solution set that is easy to deploy.”

Available immediately under the Sun-Cisco Optimized Platform Recommendations are the Cisco Access Registrar management application, which offers access for emerging mobile wireless IP connectivity; the Cisco VPN Solution Centre, which allows customers to provision and manage VPNs; and the Cisco Network Registrar, a system that provides scalable naming and addressing services for enterprise and service provider networks.

Although the alliance has just recently been announced, that hasn’t stopped one company from buying into the hype. Motorola Inc. has integrated the Cisco Access Registrar product into its Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA) Server component of its CDMA2000 Packet Data Network solution. According to Motorola, the efforts from Sun and Cisco have improved the availability of packet data across the network.

“The view [carriers] have is that everyone is looking at being cost-effective from their own infrastructures,” said Bruce Stone, senior vice-president and general manager of Motorola’s CDMA systems division in Arlington Heights, Ill.

“Rather than having their own internal staff do this homework and take on the responsibility, they are looking for the manufacturers to take a bigger piece of it. Sun and Cisco are two very significant and well-respected companies. Bringing that in with Motorola lowers risk for the carriers and makes the whole offer more attractive. We are glad we are having a partnership with them.”

And Sun and Cisco promised that this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and the two have plans to venture into different market areas to offer high-availability network management solutions.

“As long as we can satisfy customers we will continue to sell products,” Steinhilber said.

For details on the alliance and product offerings, visit, or