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New IOS Will Cut Upgrade Downtime

The new features will let administrators upgrade or patch a routing protocol, for example, without a restart and with no impact on existing routes. New process-monitoring capabilities may also let enterprises do upgrades or automatic restarts of processes like CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) or SNMP without affecting the routing processes. With the new capabilities, network administrators should be able to reduce the amount of downtime required for system upgrades, roll back to previous IOS versions when necessary and track changes more easily.

Cisco is a year or two behind Extreme Networks on some of these features, which have been part of Extreme's XOS operating system for a while. Still, the new version of IOS should be high on the priority list for any Cisco shop. There may be some glitches with software upgrade paths and hardware compatibility, so test the new release before you deploy it. But for the long term, the benefits of the new release appear too good to ignore.