Cabletron spins off software unit

Cabletron Systems is attempting to cut the competitive ties preventing its network management software from achieving broad industry support.

The company last week spun off its Spectrum network management tool as a separate business unit in what executives believe will overcome competitive hurdles and impress shareholders.

Spectrum users will still receive the same support, but integration of the tools with hardware from other network vendors should improve, said Cabletron executive vice president Michael Skubisz, who will head the new entity, which will be called Spectrum.

Spectrum will work more closely with network hardware vendors "that have traditionally been Cabletron competitors", Skubisz said.

In Australia, Cabletron's director of technology, David Gabo, said the corporate changes in the US have little effect on the local operations and channel structure.

"We're going to continue selling Spectrum through our channel," Gabo said.

He said the move is primarily designed to foster better relationships between Spectrum engineers and Cabletron's networking hardware competitors.

The announcement is welcome news to one Spectrum Enterprise Manager customer, Daniel Speers, senior network engineer at Jefferies & Co in Jersey City.

"Although software from other vendors fits in very nicely [with Spectrum Enterprise Manager], my biggest complaint has been that the competition between Cisco and Cabletron meant that Spectrum's integration with Cisco hardware wasn't as good as it could have been," Speers said.

For example, Spectrum has management models for Cabletron's SmartSwitch routers and Cisco Systems' Catalyst switches, he said, "but it took a long time for them to come out with the one for the Catalyst." Speers said what he hopes to see is "the ability to manage [other vendors'] hardware at about the time the hardware becomes available".

The split is Cabletron's latest move to staunch the flow of red ink. The company posted losses of $US22.5 million worldwide for the quarter ended May 31, compared with losses of $154.6 million in the same quarter last year.