Xylan adds workgroup features

Xylan Corp.’s latest addition to its OmniStack family is a workgroup switch that includes some basic policy features.

The OmniStack 4024 series allows network managers to create subnets of users on a logical basis, rather than a geographical one. Workgroups can be created so that wherever a user logs onto the network with a particular IP address, they will have access to certain workgroup resources.

The four 4024 10/100Mbps switches also support Xylan’s user authentication software, which requires a password and login before allowing network access.

Jim Grimes, Xylan’s country manager for Canada, said he believes networking vendors need to move on from the router/hub mindset, where all the brains of the network are located at the network core with “dumb” hubs on the edge.

“When we look at the desktop, too often we see just a connection requirement and the lower the cost the better,” he said. “The real work’s done at the backbone. We’ve taken a different view on that. Every connection is as critical as every other connection. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.”

Mike McConnell, an analyst with Infonetics Research Inc. in San Jose, Calif., said many networking vendors have announced policy plans of varying complexity, but few users seem to be interested.

Instead of additional benefits in implementing policy, many network managers just see added complexity.

“I think they’re right in a lot of ways,” McConnell said. “There’s a lot of what I call ‘policyware’ being talked about. Almost everyone says they’re doing something, but when it comes down to it, there doesn’t seem to be a lot behind the hype.”

Nonetheless, McConnell said he believes many enterprises are looking to add some policy services in the future.

“If you’ve got particular workgroups or project teams you want to have higher network availability than general business operations for a certain period of time, it makes sense.”

All OmniStack 4024s have 24 10/100Mbps autosensing ports and two uplink ports of either fast Ethernet over copper or fibre, or gigabit Ethernet over fibre. The switches also support Xylan’s OmniChannel bandwidth aggregation feature, which allows network managers to bind four fast Ethernet links together.

All four models are available immediately and start at US$132 per port.

In addition to the 4024, Xylan announced gigabit Ethernet modules for its OmniSwitch line. The modules are available this month and begin listing at US$5,950 per port.

Xylan’s Canadian office in Woodbridge, Ont., can be reached at (905) 264-2787. The company’s Web site is at www.xylan.com.