Cisco Takes on VOIP, Content Delivery

Unveils management suite for voice over IP, 1105 Hosting Solution Engine

Cisco Systems Inc. last week moved to shore up management support on two fronts: VOIP networks and content delivery networks.

The San Jose, Calif., company unveiled a management suite for voice-over-IP networks comprising Voice Health Monitor, Device Fault Manager and the CiscoView graphical interface, which now support the companys CallManager and its router gateways and in-line power cards.

The CiscoWorks VOIP Health Monitor suite provides a view into the status of voice and data elements that deliver VOIP applications in a Cisco-routed network, officials said.

As more enterprises add voice traffic to their IP data-centric networks, the integration of tools for monitoring and trouble-shooting the elements that deliver voice traffic lets IT take on added responsibilities with fewer headaches.

"This solves productivity and expertise problems. With good IT people, we dont need to add voice experts; we can treat [voice traffic] as just another application on the network," said Patrick Olson, IT director at Menlo College, in Atherton, Calif.

To provide more coordinated, end-to-end management of voice traffic, Cisco enhanced its QOS Policy Manager to make it easier to provision quality-of-service parameters for voice traffic. Cisco also enhanced its CiscoWorks Service Management Solution to allow users to test the voice readiness of IP networks.

VOIP is gaining widespread acceptance in the enterprise. Cisco, as of last month, had nearly 3,000 IP telephony customers and had shipped 437,000 IP phones, officials said.

Deployments are accelerating in branch offices, said Martha Young, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., in Boulder, Colo. "We see an upward trend in that rollout. Demand is rising for unified messaging and VOIP," Young said.

For content delivery networks, Cisco addressed another productivity issue prevalent at large Web sites—especially among service providers: Ciscos 1105 Hosting Solution Engine is a management appliance that gives server managers secure access to load balancing products so they can reboot Web servers without affecting other site components.

Web servers in complex e-business environments often need to be rebooted several times a day. When theyre a part of an e-business infrastructure that employs multiple load balancers, such rebooting requires coordination between the network manager and the Web server manager. The 1105 eliminates that requirement by allowing a Web manager to access only the parameters in the load balancer that relate to a specific Web server, Cisco officials said.

CiscoWorks VOIP Health Monitor is available now. The 1105 management appliance is due by mid-September.