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March 8, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

ICL has announced that its users can not wait for the International Standards Organisation, ISO, to develop a full Management Information Standard, MIS to manage networked applications and that it will pursue its own methods for managing applications over logical networks. The company is calling its developing architecture ‘Open Way’, which it says will be run in close collaboration with other parts of the STC group, particularly STC Telecommunications. ICL is quick to defend its allegiance to ISO, however, saying that management systems it develops will conform to whatever comes out of ISO, but a standard management framework is not likely to emerge in full until at least 1990. About $25,000m is likely to be spent on intra-office networking in the next five years, says general manager of ICL’s network management business centre, David Brown. ICL has four products on field tbial, which enable users to manage applications over a logical network. The concept behind ‘Open Way’ goes beyond the management of the physical aspects of networking to embrace the supervision of the logical relationships between the network elements, the services and the people who use them, says David Brown. Three key functions lie at the heart of a logical network – they are a map of the entire network community, a means of collecting and filtering signals which might indicate abnormal behaviour and a simple mechanism for moving self-contained parcels of information, or files, around the network. The file transfer mechanism must be versatile, able to act unsupervised at regular intervals to process and pass information around the organisation such as budgetary data, management reports, branch sales figures and stock reports. The company’s products are custom-designed for specific customers, mainly in the retail market: there is community file transfer program, which adds value to the ISO File Transfer and Access Management, FTAM, file transfer program that is to be made a draft standard within the next month, with such features as high-level scheduling; community alert management, which filters and routes messages in real-time; the network definition database, which gives an overall view of the network in a database; and the user support desk, which gives support such as call-logging to end users. The products are all custom-developed and will metamorphose to ISO-compatibility as standards emerge.

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