Publisher opts for 3Com’s expandable XRN network

An Nahar, one of the largest publishing companies in Lebanon, has chosen 3Com to lay the foundations of its network infrastructure when it moves to new premises in the city’s financial district. The move will take place in August. At the moment, An Nahar’s offices are spread across three buildings in Beirut.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  June 29, 2004

|~|3com-hani-nofal-1_m.jpg|~|3Com’s Hani Nofal is emphasising the company’s XRN technology, which is designed to instantly respond to extra demands for bandwidth, maintaining a reliable service under intense use.|~|An Nahar, one of the largest publishing companies in Lebanon, has chosen 3Com to lay the foundations of its network infrastructure when it moves to new premises in the city’s financial district. The move will take place in August. At the moment, An Nahar’s offices are spread across three buildings in Beirut. The publisher has invested in a Gigabit network with 16 24-port 3Com SuperStack 4400 edge switches and one 3Com SuperStack 3 4950 switch with eXpandable Resilient Networking (XRN) technology at the core. “We’re moving premises and taking the opportunity to consolidate our offices and infrastructure,” says Wadih Tueni, IT manager of An-Nahar. “Our IT department was created in 1995 and since then has grown bit by bit. We have accumulated equipment but not in an organised way. Now we’re moving it gives us the chance to start afresh and develop our infrastructure using a better organised approach,” he adds. An Nahar invested in a Gigabit network to the desktop with a fibre backbone. An Nahar does not anticipate that it will need the bandwidth immediately, as present traffic consists of text and images. The company is considering more bandwidth hungry applications such as video conferencing, however, and wanted a network that could scale to meet these demands if required. Similarly, the company declined to opt for IP telephony in its new premises but the 3Com network will have the means to add this functionality. “We have chosen 3Com to work with on the network because we got a good deal on quality and price,” says Tueni. “We found Cisco to be too expensive but the 3Com offering was quite aggressive. I have attended 3Com conferences and workshops and I have been impressed by its technology,” he adds. In terms of network management, An Nahar is still evaluating offerings, including Network Director from 3Com as well as solutions from HP and Network Associates. “3Com has offered Network Director free of charge and it is well done but other offerings are more sophisticated,” says Tueni. “We will evaluate the various packages on offer and go for the one that offers the best blend of features.” 3Com’s solution includes security features in the edge switches as well as the core, as is more usual. “Most enterprises are not just worried about the core. All ports that offer access to a building should have security,” says Hani Nofal, enterprise accounts manager, 3Com Middle East. This is part of a growing tendency to expand features, not just relating to security, from the core to the edges of the network. The idea is to speed up response time to threats and other issues that impede the network. “We are definitely seeing a trend towards moving away from software performance management agents to elements, such as routers, having intelligence built-in,” says Larry Velez, programme director, infrastructure strategies, Meta Group. A key selling point of 3Com’s XRN technology is that 3Com has built it into its SuperStack 3 4950 core switch. This is significant as it allows 3Com to offer redundancy, or back-up in case of failure, in the core network. This helps 3Com to compete with established backbone vendors such as Cisco and Foundry. XRN allows 3Com to stack multiple switches and use them as one virtual unit. In this way, if one fails, another switch can immediately take over, resulting in virtually no loss of performance. Also because the system is stackable, it allows companies to take a pay as you grow approach. “3Com has created new possibilities and benefits for An-Nahar by providing a world-class, intelligent, end-to-end solution. This not only ensures continuous network availability, but also supports An-Nahar’s future networking demands and applications,” says Nofal.||**||

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