Cisco Systems plans to take policy-based networking all the way to the desktop through a partnership with business-applications vendor PeopleSoft in what is likely to be the first of many such agreements.
Cisco is the latest vendor to join a growing trend for integrating enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications with the network infrastructure.
Cisco and PeopleSoft said this week that they will integrate PeopleSoft applications into the emerging CiscoAssure architecture so those app-lications can take priority over others on Cisco networks.
"This alliance completes Cisco's end-to-end vision that quality of service goes from the servers all the way to the desktop," said Jon Kragness, business-development manager at Cisco.
Both Cisco and 3Com are pushing policy-based schemes designed to let enterprises give their most important users and applications the bandwidth they need.
Kragness said Cisco and PeopleSoft will build hooks into PeopleSoft applications so that Cisco network devices can recognise PeopleSoft traffic and assign it a high quality of service. Products of the partnership will be delivered in the next few quarters, he added.
CiscoAssure is scheduled to roll out by 2000. As currently designed, it applies priority rules to traffic already on the network. However, observers said extending priority to end-stations will be critical.
"The first place they can [prioritise a packet] is in a Layer 3 switch, which means it's already gone through most of the workgroup without being prioritised at all," said Eddie Hold, an analyst at Current Analysis.
Hold said the move may be an attempt to counter 3Com's policy architecture, which applies rules in 3Com network interface cards.
A policy-based system from Bay will leverage standards to work with other vendors' devices, according to analysts.
The system, which eventually will be integra-ted into Bay's Optivity network-management software, will let users assign priorities to users, applications, or IP addresses.