You know how those damn undercover Doom players and Net cruisers can bring down your carefully managed network, just when the finance department has to file reports with the SEC and the CEO is trying to download a 3MB slide show from his granddaughter's kindergarten graduation?
Hewlett-Packard and Intel understand your plight, and the companies' new joint development agreement for policy-based network management may be just the thing to take bandwidth back from the users.
The companies will develop new products, which haven't been named yet, that will use standardised ways to establish network bandwidth by user, IP address, application, workgroup, date and time, or a combination of those parameters. The products will also be interoperable with HP's OpenView management software. The companies did not provide product details and were sketchy on delivery dates.
The duo's plan differs from the current policy-based approaches by Tivoli Systems and Computer Associates International, which can detect bandwidth problems, but have no easy way to reserve bandwidth for specific cases, said Steve Foote, an analyst at Hurwitz Group.
"We give back control to the network manager to enable the business-critical applications to have the high priority they need on the network," said Christina Mahon, general manager of the network management division at HP's OpenView business unit.
The policy-based network management will also support Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, which uses a common way to access database and directory information across the network.
The core technology was engineered at Intel Architecture Labs and is based on several new and working standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The standards include the Resource Reservation Protocol, which maps out a path to reserve through the network; RSVP Admission Policy, which enables the administration of RSVP; and Common Open Policy Service, which is used to exchange policy information between a policy server and its clients.
"The biggest challenge [for policy management] is in the consistency in response time, regardless of the actual application," Foote said, noting that a process that might take a half-second one day could take 5 seconds another day.
Foote said the biggest causes of network congestion are increasing Internet and intranet browsing, the use of videos and games, and an increase in file sizes.
Foote recalled that when he worked in IT, an employee could get fired for sending a 1MB file across the network. Today, sending a file of that size is commonplace.
The policy-based network management software is also being engineered to work with Cisco Systems' CiscoAssure Policy Networking System. HP said the software will be available some time next year.