3Com Automates Configuration Management in Routers

The new LineSider automated policy management module promises to reduce operational overhead for configuration management.

3Com continued its Open Services Networking drive to integrate best-of-breed functionality into its Multi Service Router line on March 10 with new policy-based configuration management.

3Com added automated configuration management provider LineSider Technologies to its growing list of companies that provide integrated services on top of its MSR routers.

To date, 3Com has partnered with Asterisk for VOIP (voice over IP) services, Expand Networks for WAN optimization services and VBrick for video content management optimization services that are integrated through its OSN platform.

LineSider's OverDrive suite is designed to help enterprises more efficiently configure IP-based services across networks. It includes a rules-based policy server that manages the deployment of network services through business policies, and a new client that runs on the MSRs to implement configuration changes required by those policies.

"We start with a business policy-for example, how financial users access a financial system in an enterprise network. Our server-based system generates configurations and directives that go into switches and routers," said Harley Stowell, CEO of the Danvers, Mass., company. "Based on the policy, we automate the configuration of the infrastructure service in response to those directives."

Stowell said OverDrive is unique in its ability to start with a single request-the policy itself-which "defines the relationship between network users in an enterprise, application resources and available infrastructure services."

By integrating OverDrive with 3Com's OSN, LineSider eliminated the requirement for dedicated appliances at the customer site, which reduces power and space consumption.

As customers add more intelligent services to their networks, they want to understand how to control those services. With OverDrive on 3Com's MSRs, customers can "start to dynamically control firewalls, VPNs, ACLs and so on," said Peter Doggart, senior director of LAN/WAN products at 3Com in Marlboro, Mass.

LineSider had also considered integrating OverDrive with Juniper Networks' JUNOS operating system but found 3Com to be a better fit. "Juniper is by no means as open and market-ready as 3Com is now. They're leading the market segment in terms of an open architecture," said Stowell.

Separate versions of OverDrive on OSN are available for enterprises and service providers.