Cisco Completes Phase Two of Policy Networking Initiative

Cisco Systems Inc. completed the second phase of its CiscoAssure Policy Networking Initiative by announcing a quality of service (QoS) policy solution, dubbed Policy Manager. The company also announced an agreement with PeopleSoft Inc. (, through which PeopleSoft will recommend that its customers deploy CiscoAssure in PeopleSoft environments.

The CiscoAssure initiative began in March 1998 to provide network managers with the products and services required by high-performance, application-aware networks. CiscoAssure includes solutions that deliver enterprisewide user name and address registration; automated distribution of policies for networkwide QoS, security and voice; and the continued extension of Cisco's intelligent Internet services solutions. The CiscoAssure architecture is based on four building blocks: an intelligent network, policy services, registration and directory services, and policy administration.

The QoS Policy Manager enables network administrators to protect applications through policy configuration and distribution by using existing Cisco IOS QoS mechanisms in Cisco LAN/WAN switching equipment.

Through a graphical user interface, the product enables definition of traffic classification and QoS enforcement policies, including a rules-based policy builder, integrated policy validation and error reporting, a policy distribution manager that downloads policies to network devices and support for Cisco devices and software.

QoS Policy Manager integrates with CiscoWorks2000, to shorten setup time to activate QoS policies. QoS Policy Manager eliminates device-by-device configuration of QoS intelligence in switches and routers, giving network managers a better way to deploy QoS policies that achieve application service-level differentiation.

"By reducing the complexity of QoS through policy-based automation with evolving solutions like Cisco QoS Policy Manager, users can more easily transition networks from unconstrained link utilization toward more consistent application performance," says Bruce Robertson, vice president, adaptive infrastructure strategies, at Meta Group ( ). "Such service-level differentiation is increasingly critical to eliminate unpredictable performance for business-critical applications running in corporate networks."

In a report titled, Cisco Launches QoS Policy Manager, networking market research firm Current Analysis Inc. ( takes a positive stance on Cisco's launch of QoS Policy Manager.

The report states Current Analysis’ beliefs that this announcement will help to stimulate the early adopter phase for Cisco's policy networking scheme and that Cisco needed a policy manager to provide an easier method of configuring the policy controls within its switches and routers.

According to the report, however, users should be aware that this is an initial version of a policy manager that currently offers limited capabilities.

On the Cisco and PeopleSoft front, the companies will work together to deliver implementation guidelines, application-profiling templates for CiscoAssure, and test reports enabling QoS for business-critical PeopleSoft applications. Customers can ensure performance of vital transactions by deploying the QoS Policy Manager according to new guidelines, using the intelligent Cisco infrastructure. According to the companies, proper deployment of QoS Policy Manager will protect business-critical applications from the degradation normally caused by a dramatic increase in Web traffic.

The Four Pillars of the CiscoAssure Policy Networking Initiative

  • Cisco Network Registrar supplies IP name and address registration with directory integration.
  • Cisco QoS Policy Manager offers policy-based configuration of QoS.
  • Cisco Catalyst 6000 is a platform for voice and QoS-ready LAN switching.
  • Cisco Security Manager provides policy-based configuration of security services.