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May 6, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Rochester, New Hampshire-based Cabletron Systems Inc has announced version 3.0 of its Spectrum network management system, which incorporates a new client-server-based distributed architecture for which the company is claiming an industry first. Through the new architecture, version 3.0 is also said to permit the management of wide area networks, PABXs, Asynchronous Transfer Mode equipment and connection-oriented systems for the first time. Spectrum 3.0 is said to enable multiple users anywhere on the network to share common network management using distributed databases based on the company’s SpectroServers. According to Cabletron, these SpectroServers use an enhanced version of the company’s inductive modelling technology – first introduced with version 1 of Spectrum in September 1990 – to create working models of each network device, which are then distributed across the network according to user preference and the geographic distribution of the network. The SpectroGraph graphical user interface acts as the client to facilitate navigation through the network. Amongst the other enhancements with version 3 is the Spectrum Configuration Manager (enabling users to alter and monitor the configuration of SNMP-based devices); a report generator; a data export utility for scheduling data exports including SAS and Ingres formats; on-line back-up of SpectroServer databases; autodiscovery of connections at the physical port level; and enhanced fault isolation performance for which the company claims a 400% decrease in the time required to isolate network faults. Cabletron admits that with some networks (particularly the smaller ones) the new distributed architecture may not prove as cost-effective as the previous incarnation’s centralised technology. Indeed, the company says that one of the main advantages with the new system is that it decreases the amount of wide-area SNMP traffic, since polling is carried out at the local level – which will obviously not prove much of a boon to those users that are working on local networks. However, Cabletron is hoping that the other extra features will prove an incentive to select the new system, and says that in addition, it will build on the distributed architecture to provide such features as redundancy in the future. Also for the future, Cabletron says that it has plans to bring more third-party developers to its Spectrum Partners Programme, which currently includes Cisco Systems Inc, Novell Inc, Cadence Design Systems Inc, Remedy Corp, and SAS Institute Inc. Spectrum 3.0 is said to run under all major Unix systems, including the IBM Corp RS/6000, Ultrix, Silicon Graphics Inc Iris and Sun Microsystems Inc Solaris, and will be converted to run under Windows NT later in the year. It is to cost $15,000; availability is in 90 days.

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