Optical/IP Networks

Aprisma Bids For Management Dominance

But Aprisma faces a series of challenges in its effort to win widespread acceptance in optical networks. For one thing, it isn’t clear that optical customers want frameworks like Spectrum to play a key role in their networks. The framework concept, they believe, has been costly and difficult to implement in enterprise environments, so why bring it on to the next generation of networks? “Management frameworks have dwindled in importance,” says Jonathan Reeves, president and CEO of Sirocco Systems Inc. (http://www.sirocco.com), an optical switch startup planning a May launch. “There’s not a lot of interest in what Spectrum or other framework vendors are offering. Customers want better equipment vendors to deliver management tools themselves.”

Reeves says prospective customers want solutions that don’t require special licensing or expensive commitments to a single management vendor. Instead, he says users are asking Sirocco to create its own element management system with open interfaces to funnel data to other applications and reporting tools as needed. Instead of relying on proprietary APIs and data formats, he says the system will support direct interfaces to other systems based on SNMP and Corba, and probably XML. He also notes that it’s vital that element management applications support LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) to ensure proper synchronization of management data. (Aprisma says that it plans to implement LDAP at a later, unspecified date).

Another challenge faced by Aprisma is its lack of penetration among service providers, which could hinder its ability to sell into that market. At Alidian Networks Inc. (http://www.alidian.com), founder and vice president of marketing John Jaeger says he’ll focus on making his upcoming element management system compatible with the operations support systems (OSSs) of carrier customers as needed. And so far, he says, “We see Openview and homegrown OSSs, but we haven’t run across Spectrum.”

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