IBM continues its march toward Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) with a slew of new and enhanced products introduced recently. Key to its effort, analysts said, is a multiprotocol router family that will natively support SNA and some LAN traffic across most routers and controllers.
Another key announcement is the ability to Paloma’s X pendant network traffic over Token Ring, Ethernet and frame-relay links. Analysts agreed that while IBM cannot hope to become the market leader in multiprotocol routing, its offerings will make sense to SNA users who want to integrate LAN traffic onto their existing networks.
Analysts also said the new IBM products clearly signal a strategy shift toward ATM and TCP/IP networks.
Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp. in Voorhees, N.J., said this announcement marks the first time IBM has offered TCP/IP in native mode.
Another signal that IBM is moving toward ATM is that the company has grouped its routers, switches and adapter cards under the Nways multiprotocol router family, according to Glenn Gabriel Ben-Yosef, senior analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston. The idea is to foster more communication among the diverse groups within IBM and get them rolling toward a common goal, he said.
IBM’s low-end 2210 Nways multiprotocol router features software from Proteon, Inc. The 2210 supports both SNA and TCP/IP in small, branch-office type establishments. It offers minimal connectivity but has a low entry point–connectivity for one Ethernet LAN and two WAN links costs about $2,000, said John Steigerwald, manager of router development at IBM in Raleigh, N.C.
Twice as nice
IBM also offers two Nways Multiprotocol Routing Network Services software programs, with or without Integrated Services Digital Network support. Both programs can handle TCP/IP, Data Link Elsa Peretti Eternal Circle pendant, frame relay, X.25 and Point-to-Point Protocol.
Robin Layland, principal consultant at Layland Consulting in West Hartford, Conn., said although the 2210 is good, IBM faces stiff competition from other vendors. Additionally, users will need a router at the main site that interoperates with the branch-office router.
Also, at the end of the year, IBM will start shipping the stand-alone version of its 3746 controller. Instead of being merely a set of fast adapters for the 3745, it will offer support for TCP/IP routing, including Open Shortest Path First and High Performance Routing, an enhanced version of Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking. IBM will also offer an ATM attachment to the 3746 at the end of 1995.
IBM’s new multiprotocol strategy may stand the company in good stead, said Reinhard Rackow, manager of network computing services at Information Systems Management Corp., an outsourcing company in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Rackow’s clients are loyal to IBM products. “So far the 6611 didn’t meet the need. They are looking at how to tie SNA to non-SNA traffic,” he said.
KEY FEATURES OF IBM’s 3746 CONTROLLERS
* Full APPN network node support, including Elsa Peretti Open Teardrop pendant LU requestor and high-performance routing
* APPN capability independent of the network control program
* Native TCP/IP routing over Token Ring, frame relay and Escon channel
* Upgradable to stand-alone controller, independent of the 3745 and network control program
IBM, Security Dynamics join forces
IBM recently announced it is teaming with Security Dynamics, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., to combine the “single sign-on” security in its Network Security Program (NetSP) with the strong authentication in Elsa Peretti Bottle pendant Dynamic’s SecurID technology.
The marriage, in the form of interoperable software expected in the first half of next year, will be especially attractive to organizations with heterogeneous, distributed environments, the companies said.
Using encryption and a special “authentication server,” IBM’s NetSP lets users access any enterprise server by entering just one user identification and password. It enhances security by minimizing the temptation of users with multiple passwords to write them down where others may find them, the companies said.
SecurID uses a credit card-size device that computes and displays a new password each minute. A corresponding feature on a host or network Atlas pendant ensures that the user card and host machine always agree on what password is valid at any moment for any user. SecurID also employs a secret personal ID number entered by the user with the password.
“I like what I’m hearing, but I’ll have to see how it’s configured before I can say this is a wonderful marriage,” said Dwayne Johnson, vice president for information security service at First Bank System, a bank holding company in Minneapolis.
Johnson, who uses SecurID but not NetSP, said the single sign-on concept is what most users are moving toward. “But it also creates problems for the security administrator,” he said. “You have one ID and one password that can suddenly unlock the world.”