Cisco Systems today introduced enhancements to the operating system of its flagship Catalyst 6500 switches, which many businesses rely on to run their LANs, which are designed to improve system availability, efficiency, and security.
Cisco is breaking its Internetwork Operating System into modules so a problem in one module won't affect other parts of the operating system. That also will make it possible to upgrade a module without shutting down the entire switch, the company says. And a new embedded event manager will let customers automate and off-load routine tasks to the network.
"The demands on the network are increasing faster than the total IT staff, creating an operational gap between what customers want to be able to do on their network and what they are actually able to do with their existing IT resources," says John Yen, a senior manager in Cisco's switching product management unit.
The modular nature of the operating systems makes it easier for Cisco customers to test and certify software upgrades and fixes, says Yen. One customer was able to cut the time to certify and deploy new code from six weeks to six hours, he says.
"You can take a maintenance pack and drop it into the switch and do it without having to reboot the box," he says.
The upgrade is free to customers with a Cisco SmartNet service contract. It will be available for the Supervisor Engine 720, used in larger switches, in the fourth quarter and for the Supervisor Engine 32, for smaller switches, in the first quarter of next year.