3Com will unveil its road map for policy-based networking software next week that will let administrators rank certain users and applications above others for accessing the resources of an enterprise network.
The company's Policy-Powered Networking software will leverage a policy server, directories and network devices to automatically give priority to the most important tasks on an enterprise network at any given time.
Ultimately, an administrator at a console will be able to classify applications into a handful of categories and let the policy server allocate those applications into queues on a variety of switches.
And, with the advent of the Directory-Enabled Networking (DEN) standard, those policies will be defined in a format that can be understood by other vendors' devices.
3Com's first step towards policy networking is to ship Smart Bandwidth switches and routers, which include multiple queues as well as directory client software.
CoreBuilder 3500 and 9000 switches have already shipped.
Policy-Powered Network-ing will use IEEE 802.1p tags and IP Type of Service to set priority on packets. The policy server will support the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, as well as Novell Directory Services, Netscape Directory Server and a Siemens directory by year's end. It will support Active Directory when it is available.
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