In networking, the big news of 2006 was the emergence of 10-Gigabit Ethernet as a mature, enterprise-ready technology. The past year also witnessed important advances in security and monitoring on the enterprise LAN, thanks to ever tightening integration and partnerships.
In our summer 10-Gig slugfest, we saw a marked change from the bleeding-edge 10-Gig gear of previous years. Unlike the temperamental solutions of years past, the polished switching solutions from Extreme Networks and HP ProCurve not only delivered consistently high performance, but included the features and manageability necessary to play well in the enterprise.
Extreme and ProCurve highlighted another key trend: the integration of intrusion defense and other security protections into the switching infrastructure. HP’s IDS at the switch and Extreme’s Sentriant line of security appliances, as well as Cisco’s IDS for the Catalyst and security switches from startups ConSentry Networks and Nevis Networks, serve to protect the enterprise network from its users through packet inspection and granular, policy-based access control extended all the way to the edge.
The same kinds of integration are happening in the wireless world. Trapeze Networks, for example, has integrated the AirDefense monitoring and security system into the Ring Master Management console of its enterprise WLAN solution.
The year was also one in which network monitoring underwent a considerable amount of consolidation, reducing the number of monitors required in the NOC to keep tabs on voice, video, and data traffic on both wired and wireless LANs. Next on the agenda is a common integration language to tie all of these resources together. To that end I applaud the efforts of the IETF and the XMLConf group for beginning work on using XML for the configuration and management of IP networks and networking equipment. SNMP is a great technology, but the flexibility of XML offers an answer to standards for interoperability while still allowing for innovation by individual vendors.
Now, if only those vendors would realize they’re no longer selling into single-brand islands. Maybe this year.
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