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Enterprise Networking Systems, Cisco Forge Alliance

Enterprise Networking Systems Inc. (ENS) Monday forged an enterprise alliance with Cisco Systems Inc. to help develop more effective applications for e-tailers.

Cisco also announced it will invest $90 million in ENS.

ENS and Cisco (CSCO) said they plan to create network consulting services and design tools to improve the performance of applications over corporate networks. ENS will provide designs and tips for boosting performance and security.

Through the initiative, ENS and Cisco hope to make it easier for small businesses to establish themselves quickly on the Web.

Many e-tailers risk alienating customers who have a bad experience shopping on the Internet this holiday season because their networks have not been prepared to support the addition of e-business applications. The companies believe this problem will grow as companies adopt fuller e-business models. GartnerGroup/Dataquest predicts the U.S. market for eBusiness services, including consulting, will grow at a 50 percent compound annual growth rate from approximately $10.3 billion this year to $59 billion by 2003.

"ENS ensures the underlying network infrastructure is prepared to handle the traffic volumes, performance requirements and security standards demanded by the eBusiness," said Gary B. Moore, ENS' chief executive officer.

"Our alliance with Cisco will assure enterprise customers and service providers will achieve and maintain solid performance and maximize return on their application and network investments."

The pact adds to Cisco's spending spree Monday in which the giant bought optical component systems maker Pirelli S.p.A. for $2.15 billion in stock. With the acquisition, Cisco plans to absorb Pirelli's technology, which uses colors to increase the capacity of broadband networks.