Cisco Systems is rolling out new functionality to the software running its flagship switch family that decreases downtime and adds self-healing capabilities.
The Cisco IOS (Internetwork Operating System) Software Modularity feature, available for Catalyst 6500 switches, enables subsystems on the switch to run independently, so they can be individually rebooted to add updates or fixes without bringing down the entire switch.
The change should help ease customer fears around adding integrated services such as VoIP or security to the switches, said Robert Keblusek, senior vice president of business development at Sentinel Technologies, a reseller in Downers Grove, Ill. “As customers add VoIP cards or security, this helps them feel comfortable that those additional feature sets aren’t going to step on the quality they’re used to on the data side.” Cisco also is incorporating automated policy control through integration with IOS Embedded Event Manager so problems detected in individual processes can trigger a reboot or a roll back to a previous software load, said John Yen, senior manager of switching product marketing at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.
“If a process is faulty, if there are too many CPU cycles, it’s using too much memory or it’s hung up, it can restart that process, take a snapshot, generate diagnostics and e-mail that to an engineer,” Yen said.
For channel partners, the new automated control features create opportunities for consultative services to help customers determine administration policies, Yen said. In addition, since the new IOS Software Modularity feature is only available for the two latest Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engines, 720 and 32, VARs will be armed with stronger arguments to convince customers to upgrade, he said.
Slated for delivery on the existing Cisco IOS 12.2SX release train, the new modularity features are scheduled for availability next quarter for Supervisor Engine 720 and in the first quarter of 2006 for Supervisor Engine 32. No additional licensing is required for customers with Smartnet maintenance contracts.