3Com Monday unveiled its strategy to combat the all-in-one networking approach espoused by rival Cisco Systems via a new Linux-based networking module it will use to integrate a variety of applications with its routers and switches. With its new Open Services Networking (OSN) strategy, 3Com can offer the benefits of an integrated networking approach that ties services such as security, VoIP and WAN optimization in with its infrastructure while at the same time offering the flexibility of a multi-vendor solution, said Andrew Bronson, product line manager for OSN routers at 3Com, Marlborough, Mass. OSN represents an alternative approach to Cisco's single-vendor integrated networking approach, through which it builds network infrastructure with optional integrated applications. That means customers could deploy features such as routing, switching, VoIP, security, wireless and WAN optimization on a single Cisco device or small group of Cisco devices without using any non-Cisco equipment or applications.
"The single-vendor, integrated approach is generally limited in innovation and slow to add new services: they typically have to acquire them," Bronson said. On the flip side, a multi-vendor approach can be complex and carry higher capital and operational costs, he added. 3Com believes it is providing the best of both worlds with OSN.